Wanda to open new complex
Wanda Group will open its first outdoor entertainment complex in province of Jiangxi on Saturday.
The launch of its Nanchang Wanda City looks perfectly timed by the company’s ambitious founder, billionaire Wang Jianlin, to take at least some of the thunder from its biggest potential rival.
On June 16, the gates are due to be thrown open to what is arguably the country’s mostanticipated park ever, Disneyland Shanghai, the US entertainment giant’s first venture on the mainland.
According to the Chinese Tourism Academy, total domestic tourism revenue last year soared to 4 trillion yuan ($616 billion), about 230 billion yuan of which was generated by theme parks.
Wang and his property conglomerate have ambitious entertainment plans right across the country, and have spared no effort in telling the Chinese public where they will be able to find the most fun, at the right price.
In recent months, Wanda’s top management have also been equally bullish, insisting its venues will beat Disney hands down in terms of visitor numbers and total revenue once it has rolled out what could eventually be asmany as 20Wanda Cities nationwide.
Ben Cavender, the principal of China Market Research Group, however, is rather more balanced in his predictions for the market. “I believe both can do well.”
“Wanda’s pricing will be competitive, though its operational experience may lag behind Disneyland.”
A ticket to the first Wanda City outdoor theme park in Jiangxi’s capital Nanchang costs 198 yuan during the week and 248 at weekends and holidays, compared with Disney’s 370 yuan, and 499 on corresponding days.
Liu Mingsheng, Wanda’s spokesman, said its ticket prices have been calculated based on its investment at the site: Nanchang Wanda City cost 20 billion yuan, compared with 34 billion yuan for Disneyland Shanghai.
US theme parks giant Universal Studios Inc also plans to open a flagship site in Beijing, but most of Wanda’s complexes are in cheaper second-tier cities, helping the company build more in the future.
After Nanchang, Hefei Wanda City in the capital of Anhui province is expected to open in September, and there are five others already under construction in Harbin in Heilongjiang province, Guangzhou in Guangdong, Wuxi in Jiangsu, Chengduin SichuanandGuilin in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
Lynn Xu, senior vice-president at Nielsen Greater China, is predicting massive growth and potential in years to come for theme parks, particularly in third-tier cities and rural areas, where competition will be far less fierce than in big population centers such as Beijing and Shanghai.
Wanda’s pricing will be competitive, though its operational experience may lag behind Disneyland.”