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South Korea to build giant casino city to rival Macau

SEOUL -- South Korea's port city of Incheon has teamed up with a group of investors to build a giant US$290 billion leisure and gaming destination intended to rival Macau by 2030, the developer said Wednesday.

The 8City project on Yongyu-Muui island near the nation's main Incheon International Airport will feature casinos, hotels, shopping malls, theme parks, car racing tracks, ski slopes and a marina, developer Eightcity said.

Shareholders include luxury hotel operator Kempinski, South Korea's flag carrier Korean Air and Daewoo Engineering and Construction.

Construction at the 80-square-kilometer (32-square-mile) site — three times larger than Macau — will begin next year and end by 2030, Eightcity said in a statement.

The 317-trillion-won (US$290 billion) project — named after the Chinese auspicious number of eight — will help draw 134 million visitors a year from home and abroad including China, and eventually create 930,000 jobs, it said.

The cost of the project includes construction and land, as well as roads and other infrastructure developments in Incheon west of the capital Seoul.

The developer said it had so far attracted investment worth US$1 billion from British firm Sanbar Development and 3 trillion won from Seoul-based Korea Investment and Securities.

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