HONG KONG (AP) — A Hong Kong tycoon has placed the biggest ever order for Rolls-Royce cars, agreeing to buy 30 Phantoms to chauffeur guests at a luxury resort he's building in the global gambling capital of Macau.
Stephen Hung's $20 million purchase surpasses the 14 Phantoms bought by Hong Kong's Peninsula Hotel in 2006.
Hung and Rolls-Royce executives signed the deal Tuesday at the company's Goodwood factory in England.
The Extended Wheelbase Phantoms will be used for guests at Hung's "ultra-luxury" Louis XIII hotel, which is scheduled to open in early 2016.
Rolls-Royce said two of the cars will be the most expensive Phantoms ever commissioned, complete with "gold-plated accents" on the outside and interior.
Louis XIII Holdings Ltd. said it will pay the automaker a $2 million deposit, $3 million more by the end of the year and the remaining $15 million when the cars are delivered in the first half of 2016.
The Phantom's base price in Britain is about 450,000 pounds ($734,000) including taxes, a company spokesman said, though prices vary by market and many buyers order custom features that push prices much higher. Customers have been known to spend more than $1 million on bespoke models.
With casino revenues of $45 billion last year, Macau is the world's most lucrative gambling market, outpacing the Las Vegas Strip seven times over. After authorities ended a casino monopoly a decade ago, newly wealthy mainland Chinese high rollers started pouring in to wager at glitzy new resorts built by foreign operators such as Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts.
However, the boom is beginning to fade as Chinese President Xi Jinping's corruption crackdown starts to bite, putting a dampener on lavish spending by officials and other wealthy Chinese. Macau's gambling revenues fell 6 percent in August, the third straight month of annual decline after five years of uninterrupted growth.
Hung, a former investment banker, is known for his flamboyant style and the resort looks to be the flashiest of the wave of expansion projects now under construction in the tiny Chinese territory near Hong Kong.
Named after the French king who started building the famed Palace of Versailles, the resort will boast a 20,000 square foot (1,860 square meter) villa billed as the world's "most extravagant" hotel suite that will reportedly cost $130,000 a night.
Hung has even enlisted a descendent of Louis XIII to help with the hotel's design, based on French Renaissance and Baroque styling.
Louis XIII: http://www.lxiii.com
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