UAE and Kosovo sign tax deal
Chinese attraction open before Disney
China’s largest private property developer, the Wanda Group, opened an entertainment complex yesterday that it’s positioning as a distinctly homegrown rival to Disney and the US firm’s $5.5 billion Shanghai theme park opening next month.
Wanda executives unveiled their $3 billion Wanda City in the southeastern provincial capital of Nanchang to thundering music reminiscent of the Pirates of the Caribbean theme and hailed the centre as a representative of Chinese entertainment culture in the face of encroaching foreign influences.
Wanda’s massive site includes an $800 million China-themed park filled with twirling “porcelain teacup” rides and bamboo forests, an indoor shopping mall with cinemas, restaurants, hotels and the world’s largest ocean park. Disney is set to open its own resort in Shanghai - the largest Disneyland in the world - in June.
As a leading player in Chinese firms’ globalisation push, the property group has invested heavily in the film and cinema business and has spoken openly about its nationalistic mission to fend off Disney in the Chinese market and become a global entertainment brand. In remarks at yesterday’s opening, Wang Jianlin, Wanda chairman and China’s richest man, did not mention Disney by name but said Chinese people “fawned” over Western imports.
“Chinese culture led in the world’s for 2,000 years, but since the last 300 years, because of our lagging development and the invasion of foreign cultures, we have more or less lacked confidence in our own culture,” Wang said. “We want to be a model for Chinese private enterprise, and we want to establish a global brand for Chinese firms.”
Earlier this month he told Chinese state television in an interview that Disney’s foray into China would crumble under more competitive pricing from his group, and warned that the “the frenzy of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and the era of blindly following them has passed”.
Seeking to capitalise on China’s rising middle class, developers are planning dozens of Chinese theme parks, along with projects from US firms such as Universal Studios and Six Flags. The UAE has signed two agreements relating to the avoidance of double taxation on income and the promotion of investment with the Republic of Kosovo. The signing ceremony took place in the capital Pristina during an official visit of a UAE delegation headed by Younis Haji Al Khoori, UnderSecretary of the Ministry of Finance, to the Republic of Kosovo. Al Khoori said the UAE wants to strengthen international relations to attract more foreign investment and increase trade. “These agreements support in achieving the UAE’s development goals, diversifying sources of national income and supporting the growth of foreign investments as well as protecting it from any non-trade and political risks related to the transfer of profits and revenues in convertible currency,” he said. The UAE, represented by the ministry, has signed 97 final agreements on the avoidance of double taxation on income - where two or more jurisdictions levy tax on the same declared income asset or financial transaction - and 58 agreements on protection and promotion of investment with key economic and trading partners, national news agency WAM reported.
ATTRACTION: Wanda City is open after being formally launched (inset) yesterday