Wanda to open new com­plex

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By HUYUANYUAN huyuanyuan@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.”

The He­fei Wanda City is ex­pected to be open in Septem­ber. The Wanda Cities in Harbin, Guangzhou, Wuxi, Chengdu, and Guilin are un­der con­struc­tion.

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