On the eve of the MGS Entertainment Show, IAG finds out a bit more about Chief Technology Officer of Winning Asia and MGEMA Deputy Chairman Ronald Leung.
IAG: First of all Ronald, can you tell us about your background?
Ronald Leung: My parents were born in Macau in the 1950s, but due to the slow economy at the time they moved over to Hong Kong. So I grew up in Macau and Hong Kong, finished my high school and my Engineering degree in Canada, worked in Hong Kong for a few years and returned to Macau in 2000.
IAG: What are you recollections of Macau when you were young?
RL: It was very different – much fewer people, less traffic and easy living. We had to take a ferry to Taipa because there was no bridge at that time. I remember that my relatives either worked as civil servants or in Casino Lisboa as these were the two biggest employers in Macau. Now there are more people and more opportunities but it can be harder to make a living here because property prices are just too high.
IAG: Do you have a favorite memory from back then?
RL: Fire crackers during Lunar New Year, smiles on everyone’s faces and simple living. But I’m glad that the “human touch” is still here.
IAG: What do you believe has changed the most in Macau since gaming liberalization?
RL: The first thing is that there are five more foreign operators here with modern designed mega-hotel resorts and casinos. New competition has resulted in higher standards of service and newer attractions for tourists. On top of the liberalization, the most importance thing was to open up Macau for mainland Chinese tourists and this has boosted the number of visitors.
IAG: Can you tell us a bit about your company, Winning Asia?
RL: Winning Asia is a technology company that mainly develops gaming products and solutions for the Asian market. We have our own development team which consists of engineers, programmers, musicians, mathematicians and more. The company has been providing technical solutions to customers in Macau and Asia.
IAG: What made you choose gaming as a career path?
RL: Electronic gaming machines were a very new direction during the liberalization, and until now there have been only a few companies in this area. But as we saw a lot of requests for these new electronic games, we recognized that this could be a great opportunity to play a part in developing and operating electronic gaming.
IAG: What is it about the industry that interests you most?
RL: Macau is the mecca of gaming in Asia. The products which are doing well here could be a benchmark for other markets in Asia or even the whole world. The industry is evolving rapidly with its fast growing demand, but with a very strict requirement on technology and security.
IAG: When and how did you get involved in the MGEMA?
RL: Electronic gaming was a new but growing industry in Macau and Asia. During a gathering we had, our Chairman Mr Jay Chun proposed an idea to form an association to represent our industry to communicate with the government and foster the members within the industry. He invited me to play a part in it.
IAG: Macau’s gaming industry is constantly evolving. What do you believe will be the next phase of its evolution?
RL: Labor costs have to go up eventually, according to what happened to Vegas, and electronic gaming must be the solution. On one hand, Macau has to diversify its revenue away from gaming only and electronic gamin could be
the most effective way to contribute to the prime income but with the lowest manpower cost. The Government may consider putting more resources into the technology and innovation sectors. Macau is now part of China and we do have a sharp edge on these.
IAG: The MGS Entertainment Show turns four this year. What has it been like being part of its development and seeing it grow each year in that time?
RL: Frankly, the MGS Entertainment Show has been doing better than we had expected, almost doubling its floor size every year. In addition, the show is now not only about gaming, but also includes entertainment including shows, hospitality, food and beverage, entertainment and services, which follows the Government direction to diversify the position of Macau away from only gaming. We are expecting the MGS Entertainment Show will evolve into the biggest trade show for representing Macau in the near future.
IAG: Outside of the gaming industry, what do you enjoy most about Macau?
RL: The people, food and seamless links with mainland China. I have lived in many countries in the world and I can assure you that the locals here are the kindest on our planet.
IAG: Finally Ronald, what do you do to relax in your spare time?
RL: Macau is the most crowded place in the world, but you know what? We have two golf courses here plus there is quite a lot of green area in this region. I usually ride my bicycle around Macau and play rounds of golf with friends. The Macau Open is one of the biggest golf competitions in Asia and I suggest that the Macau Government should support this more.