Caixin
Nov 17, 2016 03:29 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Dalian Wanda Announces Plans for 50 Billion Yuan Theme Park Near Terra-Cotta Warriors

(Beijing) – Real estate giant and entertainment aspirant Dalian Wanda said it plans to spend 103 billion yuan ($15 billion) to build a theme park and shopping malls in northwest China's Shaanxi province.

The project is the largest in Wanda's recent series of commitments as it seeks to challenge global giant The Walt Disney Co.

The centerpiece of the commitment will be one of its Wanda City theme parks, which will cost 50 billion yuan. The park will be in the provincial capital of Xi'an, home to the famous terra-cotta warriors that date back to the Qin dynasty, under which China was unified 2,200 years ago.

Wanda will also build 19 shopping malls in 10 cities, and also hold sporting events in the province as part of its efforts to build an entertainment empire that will include sports and movie making, among other industries.

Wanda has embarked on a global shopping spree over the last two years to pursue that dream, including its purchase of the owner of the Ironman Triathlon last year for $650 million, and its $3.5 billion purchase this year of Hollywood film studio Legendary Entertainment.

Headed by Wang Jianlin, one of China's richest men, Wanda has been aggressively expanding away from its roots as a real estate developer, and theme parks have become one of its primary focuses.

This year alone, the company has opened two major Wanda City theme parks with total planned investment of 20 billion to 25 billion yuan each, one in the capital of Jiangxi province and the other in the capital of nearby Anhui province. Earlier this month, the company announced a 100 billion yuan plan to build a Wanda City and shopping mall in central China's Hunan province.

Many of the regional plans are being launched with strong support from local governments, which hope to use such development to promote their respective local economies. Wang has talked of eventually challenging Disney, which opened its first Disney Resort on the Chinese mainland earlier this year in Shanghai.

Wanda has also been active outside China, announcing plans in February for a 3 billion euro ($3.2 billion) theme park outside Paris.

Contact reporter Doug Young (dougyoung@caixin.com); editor Ken Howe (kennethhowe@caixin.com)

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