Wanda opens theme park to rival Disney

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Wanda opens theme park to rival Disney [en.people.cn]

China's Wanda Group on Saturday opened a 40-billion-yuan (US$6.1 billion) theme park in Nanchang, capital of eastern Jiangxi Province, as it seeks to cash in on people's fast-growing appetite for leisure.

Wanda Cultural Tourism City (Wanda City) is the latest rival to Shanghai Disney, scheduled to open next month.

At the opening ceremony, Wanda's chairman Wang Jianlin said Wanda hopes to have influence and a voice in the culture, tourism and entertainment industries and Nanchang's Wanda City is the first step towards that goal.

The huge attraction includes a theme park, a shopping mall, restaurants and hotels.

Wang told the China Central Television a few days ago that Shanghai Disney relied too much on out-of-date intellectual property such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, lacked anything new and had cost too much.

Wang said Wanda would make it impossible for Disney China venture to make profit in the next 10 to 20 years.

Wanda, a leading commercial real estate developer in China, has turned its investment toward the entertainment and tourism sectors. It has built three holiday resorts in Wuhan, at Changbai Mountain and in Xishuangbanna.

Another eight Wanda City projects are under construction and by 2020, 15 will have been built in China and another three overseas.

Wang said Wanda City Hefei will open in September, Harbin in 2017 and Qingdao, Guangzhou and Wuxi in 2018 and 2019.

"After Guangzhou and Wuxi open, I believe that people will then know which of the domestic and overseas brands is best," said Wang.

According to Wanda, its tourism arm, the largest tourism company in the country, reported a revenue of 12.7 billion yuan last year. It has set a target of hosting 200 million visitors in 2020 to become the world's biggest tourism company.

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