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Overseas operators vie for space in China’s huge amusement park market

amusement park in china, chinese market, disney in china

China's amusement park market, including theme parks and water parks, has been expanding at an 11% rate in revenue over the past five years. The sector is expected to see $3.3 billion revenue in 2015 and $4.8 billion in 2020. With late starters such as Disney and China's real estate juggernaut Wanda vying for a space, the market leader Overseas Chinese Town – which once made it into Forbes Asia's "Best Under A Billion" list – sure is facing challenge.

在过去五年里,包括主题公园和水上公园在内的中国游乐场市场的营收一直在以11%的速度增长。该领域营收预计将在2015年和2020年分别达到33亿美元和48亿美元。随着迪士尼和中国的房地产巨头万达等起步较晚的公司都来争夺一席之地,该市场领导者华侨城集团——曾经跻身福布斯亚洲"中小上市企业200强"(Best Under A Billion,指年营收10亿美元以下)——无疑将面临挑战。

Shenzhen-headquartered OCT claims a 10.6% share in the marketplace; none of its followers has more than 2%. The company opened China's first theme park in 1989 featuring miniature replicas of China's landmarks, and has become the world's fourth largest theme park group with a 28 million visitor count in 2014, a fifth of top operator Disney's attendance.


Today 850 parks has opened across China and Disney is adding to that number – it schedules to open a Shanghai park in 2016, its second China location after Hong Kong, in conjunction with investment firm Shanghai Shendi Group with $5.5 billion earmarked. Wanda debuted with a movie-themed park in Wuhan last year, and plans to pump $32 billion into a dozen more.


Smaller-scale companies such as Hangzhou-based Songcheng have also been rising rapidly. Last year Songcheng's parks had a 104% jump in attendance to 14.6 million, outperforming billionaire Liang Guangwei's Fantawild, the world's ninth largest operator a year earlier. Songcheng's Song Dynasty-themed flagship park in Hangzhou attracted 5.8 million visits in 2014, making it the most popular one in mainland China.


Domestic capital currently dominates the sector, accounting for 70%, but increasing overseas operators are tapping the momentum in joint forces with local partners. Besides Disney, U.S.'s Universal Studios and Beijing Tourism Group is pouring $3.3 billion into a new park in Beijing; and Australia's Village Roadshow is raising $500 million with financial conglomerate CITIC for a theme park in Chengdu.



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