China’s richest man plans to build US$9.5 billion tourist park to topple Disney

Visitors snap photos at an indoor aquarium at Wanda Cultural Tourism City. Pic: AP

IN recent developments of the “war” between Wanda and Disney, Wang Jianlin – China’s richest man – has signed a deal with local government officials to build a US$9.5 billion tourism and culture center complete with a sports park, theme park and hotels.

Jianlin, also the chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, said that the company plans to attract more than 20 million visitors a year to the new park, create 20,000 jobs, and generate significant tax revenue for the government.

In an interview on a Chinese talk show, Jianlin showed off his Beijing headquarters, and shared a vision of him destroying his biggest rival, Disney, by outbuilding them. He added that he wanted to make Shanghai Disneyland completely “unprofitable in the coming two decades”.

In June, Jianlin opened the doors to Disney’s rival amusement park, Wanda Cultural Tourism City. Wanda began operations just days after Shanghai Disneyland’s launch.

“One tiger is no match for a pack of wolves,” Jianlin was quoted in June, referring to his company’s collection of theme parks versus Disney’s solitary location in China.

Following his comments, Disney told Bloomberg that “it wasn’t worthy of a response”.

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The Chinese billionaire is not stopping at this; he’s also planning to open a further 15 Wanda theme parks around the country by 2020. These efforts are part of the group’s entertainment push.

The new Jinan project will span across 290 hectares, and will include a 10,000-seat stadium for hockey and basketball, according to Wanda.

Construction on the new project is slated to begin in 2017 before the park is open to the public in 2021.

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