MGM CEO Hornbuckle Among US Corporate Bosses Who Met with Chinese Leader Xi

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MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) CEO Bill Hornbuckle was a part of a group of chief executive officers of US-based companies that met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Wednesday.

MGM Resorts International CEO Bill Hornbuckle during an interview with The Nevada Independent on June 30, 2023. He was one of 20 US business leaders who met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday. (Image: The Nevada Independent)

Other participants included Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman, Chubb CEO Evan Greenberg, FedEx Chairman and CEO Raj Subramaniam, and Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon. President of the National Committee on US-China Relations Stephen Orlins and President of the US-China Business Council Craig Allen also attended the meeting.

China’s reforms will not stall, and our opening up will not stop,” said Xi, according to China state media sources. “China’s development, having overcome various difficulties and challenges, has not collapsed . . . in the past, nor will it ‘peak’ now.”

It’s believed 20 US business leaders attended the 90-minute meeting with the Chinese president and that MGM’s Hornbuckle was the only gaming executive there.

MGM Has Significant China Interests

Hornbuckle’s attendance at the meeting with Xi makes sense because MGM has significant interests in China, the world’s second-largest economy behind the US.

The Las Vegas-based casino giant is the majority owner of MGM China, which operates two integrated resorts in Macau. MGM China is adding market share in the lone Chinese territory where betting is legal, implying positive ties with Beijing are essential. MGM is one of three US-based Macau concessionaires.

Through a partnership with Diaoyutai MGM Hospitality, MGM also operates a slew of nongaming hotels and residences in mainland China under brands including Bellagio by MGM, MGM, and Mirage by MGM, among others.

Recent speculation on Chinese social media platforms indicates Diaoyutai MGM Hospitality is planning to open a new Shanghai hotel with the Mirage by MGM brand in 2027. That will be Diaoyutai MGM Hospitality’s third hotel in the city.

Meeting Could Be Seen as Positive for US/China Relations

Given the often icy tone of US/China geopolitical relations, it could be seen as a positive that Xi met with Hornbuckle and the other US CEOs. Likewise, scores of US multinational firms, gaming and otherwise, depend on China for significant percentages of earnings and revenue. That means corporations must maintain friendly relations with Beijing.

The history of China-US relations is a chronicle of friendly interactions between the peoples of the two countries,” said Xi. “It was written by the people in the past and must continue to be shaped by the people of both nations in the future. Individuals from all sectors of both countries should engage more, communicate more, and cooperate more.”

Specific to MGM, maintaining strong ties to Chinese leadership is pivotal for another reason. Like other operators on the Las Vegas Strip, MGM counts on Chinese visitors to drive international traffic. Those guests make up an essential demographic at high-end venues such as Bellagio and Cosmopolitan.

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