I had a fantastic time traveling earlier this month to Southeast Asia in order to speak at a crypto conference in Macau as a technology advisor to Hybridblock.io. It was an amazing opportunity to see firsthand the developing economy in the Philippines, as well as the hugely impressive growth engines that are Hong Kong and Macau.
Simply stated, everything’s bigger in Hong Kong. The hotel XTRADE stayed at was 116 stories, with a 100 story high video wall to display advertisements and animations. Every skyscraper across the bay became a giant video wall at night. It felt like I was part of the future. These are enormous cities. There are millions upon millions of people, with an emerging middle class voraciously consuming goods, and untold billions being made seemingly overnight. This was an economy thirsting for investment opportunities.
Real estate costs are astronomical in Hong Kong, because the economy is booming. Macau is an incomprehensible sprawl of development — random buildings over 100 stories in the distance that no one seemed to even know about when asked, water-parks on top of casinos, enormous statues straight out of The Lord of the Rings. Palatial facsimiles of the Venetian, Caesars, Rio, Wynn and others dot the landscape in clumps, half-scale Eiffel Towers and Morton’s steakhouses mixed in with Chinese aesthetics. Thousands of Chinese mainlanders at casinos, intently and quietly playing baccarat — the Macau game of choice. The culture of Macau is not about having fun — it’s about gambling, and winning. They are all looking for the next big thing.
Artificial landscapes being dredged out of the sea with laborious but terrifyingly rapid intent. Projects resurrected on a scale unseen in the West. Actual efficient airport security. China is taking over the world.