Meet the Barefoot Doctor Turned Casino Billionaire

Dubbed Madame Chairlady, Cui Lijie now owns two-thirds of the shares in the Hong Kong-traded Imperial Pacific International Holdings. Imperial Pacific owns Best Sunshine Live, a casino on the U.S. Pacific island of Saipan, which attracts even more high rollers than the Venetian Macao. This is quite a rise for Lijie, who gained her fame […]

barefoot-doctor-cui-lijieDubbed Madame Chairlady, Cui Lijie now owns two-thirds of the shares in the Hong Kong-traded Imperial Pacific International Holdings.

Imperial Pacific owns Best Sunshine Live, a casino on the U.S. Pacific island of Saipan, which attracts even more high rollers than the Venetian Macao.

This is quite a rise for Lijie, who gained her fame as a “barefoot doctor” treating patients in countryside of China. Back then, a series of business moves gave her RMB20,000 (approx. $5,000 back then) to invest in an auto repair shop in 1988. Ever since then, her portfolio has continued to grow, which has led her to invest in Imperial Pacific.

According to Forbes, Madame Chairlady purchased $100 million worth of company bonds to finance Imperial Pacific’s $600 million hotel on the Saipan beachfront. Her son, Ji Xiaobo, is the director of a project that began with a shopping mall built in July 2015.

saipan-casinoImperial Pacific International Holdings originally obtained their Hong Kong stock market listing for a health tonic company and other mainland businesses that they ran in China. Then Ji joined Macau junket (recruits high rollers) promoter Heng Sheng Group.

Their company took over First Natural Food Holdings (now Imperial Pacific) for $38.7 million (HK$300 million) in 2013, which has boomed into a $1.7 billion investment today.

After a vacation to Saipan – located on the Northern Mariana Islands and part of the US Commonwealth – Ji convinced his mother to invest in a casino license on the island.

With her wealth fully secured, Cui now spends most of her time on Saipan because “Hong Kong has too many people.” Outside of her efforts with Imperial Pacific, she enjoys photography and participating in Imperial Pacific’s community outreach. Cui also continues to help the rural poor, like she did 40 years ago as the barefoot doctor.

 

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