News on Wednesday detailed how excited Universal Studios Beijing investors have doubled their investment from USD 3.3 billion to USD 6.5 billion even as Chinese authorities try to dampen enthusiasm towards the country’s booming theme park industry.
The investment by Universal Parks & Resorts and five state-owned Chinese entities that have amalgamated beneath the Beijing Shouhuan Cultural Tourism Investment Company will be the largest ever made for a theme park, reported the Wall Street Journal.
The investment surpasses the USD 5.5 billion investment made into Shanghai Disneyland, which broke even in its first year of operation by welcoming some 11 million park visitors.
The greatly-improved budget for Universal Studios Beijing is said to increase park space and broaden the scope of its attractions. The future theme park will also feature a CityWalk shopping and entertainment district as well as the world’s first in-park, Universal Studios-branded hotel. Buoyed by the success of the House of the Mouse to the south, Universal Studios Beijing is now expecting some 10 million visitors in its first year of operations.
As well, the first Universal Studios Beijing ride attraction has been officially confirmed to be “Fast & Furious Supercharged.” Stars of the multi-sequel gear-shifting family-bonding franchise had revealed the news last week when they helped open the movie-themed attraction at Universal Studios Orlando.
But with hundreds of theme parks opening around the country, China’s central planning body warned prospective builders in April to be wary of local debt build-up and low-grade developments. And yet, theme parks continue to be a lucrative business in China, rising 27 percent from 2016 to reach USD 6 billion last year, according to market researcher Mintel. And with revenues expected to hit USD 14 billion by 2022, China’s theme park industry will soon surpass the USA.
First announced in 2014, the opening date for Universal Studios Beijing has been pushed back a number of times, most recently to 2020. Although it has undergone a number of changes since its inception, the theme park will most likely incorporate Chinese elements into its design to help cater to local visitors at a rate reported in the Chinese press as being 35 percent.
When complete, Universal Studios Beijing will join the ranks of other local theme parks like Happy Valley and Shijingshan. Beijing residents will be able to access the southeastern-located theme park by subway.
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