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World's Biggest Casino Resort Opens in Macau


Macau has celebrated the opening of the world's largest casino resort and China's leaders have passed an anti-monopoly law, 14 years after it was first drafted. Claudia Blume at VOA's Asia News Center in Hong Kong has more on these and other business stories from the region.

The world's largest casino resort, the $2.4 billion Venetian, opened on Cotai Island in Macau. Apart from enormous gaming space, the resort features more than 3,000 hotel rooms, shops, a convention center and a theater. Las Vegas Sands, which built the Venetian Macau, plans to spend as much as $12 billion to develop Cotai into a massive, concentrated resort area by 2010. The company said it hopes Macau will become a vacation and business convention destination. Currently, most visitors only come for brief gambling trips to the territory.

Las Vegas Sands' chief executive, Sheldon Adelson, says Macau residents will directly benefit from the new development as there will be many lucrative job opportunities.

"We will be looking at better jobs and higher-paying jobs so that residents will be able to enjoy a high standard of living," he said. "All kinds of jobs - construction jobs, operating jobs…"

China passed an anti-monopoly law aimed at encouraging fair competition. The new law, which will come into effect in August 2008, bans monopolistic agreements and practices such as cartels and price-fixing.

It also requires foreign companies to undergo national security checks before they can merge with or buy a Chinese company. State media say China has been concerned about its economic security since foreign companies began to acquire major sate-owned enterprises.

In other news from China, Beijing sacked the country's finance minister, Jin Renqing, and replaced him with Xie Xuren, who runs the tax administration. Beijing said Jin resigned for personal reasons. Hong Kong newspapers linked his removal to a sex scandal involving senior government officials.

Japanese automaker Nissan and Indian truck and bus maker, Ashok Leyland, agreed to jointly produce and sell light commercial trucks in India. The two companies also agreed to set up joint ventures to make engines and components for light commercial vehicles as well as to develop technology for small trucks and mini-buses. Earlier this year, Nissan and its French partner, Renault, teamed up with India's Mahindra & Mahindra to build a car plant in Chennai.

India's Wipro Technologies will open a software development center in the U.S. city of Atlanta. The Indian information technology company said it would employ mostly graduates from colleges and universities in the state of Georgia, where Atlanta is located. Wipro said it wants to provide localized and closer-to-customer service for its expanding technology services business in the Americas.

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