Shanghai Disneyland, Beijing Universal Theme Park, Zhejiang Hello Kitty Park, Dalian Discoveryland Kingdom - the list goes on. Theme parks are becoming big business in China.
China’s Wanda Group is reportedly planning to build its 11th "Cultural Tourism City" in Guilin, in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The Carnival Group is also planning to build ten more theme parks in China’s first and second tiered cities by 2020. And the Haichang Group also says it plans to open four theme parks in the following five years.
In 2015, 21 theme parks opened to the public and another 20 are under construction.
China now has nearly 300 theme parks nationwide. US-based consultant company Aecom predicted that China will replace America to become the largest theme park market by 2020, witnessing 221 million visits annually, twice as much as that in 2015.
Part if the reason for their increasing popularity, according to Su Lishan, tourism analyst at China Securities, has been the economic slowdown and the devaluation of the Chinese currency. More and more people are opting for so called ’Stay-cations’ or domestic tourism instead of traveling abroad.
Meng Cai, Executive Director of Carnival Group International Holdings Limited, adds modern recreation centers for family visits are still in short supply in many cities, so the potential for the growth of large theme parks in China is still enormous.
But the prospects are not universally good. 70 percent of theme parks in China are suffering economic losses, 20 percent break even, while only 10 percent are able to make a profit.
Hello Kitty Park
The Hello Kitty Park in Anji county, Zhejiang province was the first Hello Kitty operation outside its birthplace, Japan.
On the park’s first day of trial operation in January 2015, it attracted 6666 visitors. It is expected to welcome one million people annually.
The park has six themed regions, 16 entertainment programs, restaurants, shopping centers and two themed hotels.
Shanghai Disneyland
The Shanghai Disneyland park, China’s first Disney Resort and Disney’s sixth resort destination worldwide, is scheduled to open on June 16.
Dalian Discoveryland Kingdom
Opened in 2016, the Dalian Discoveryland Kingdom is one of the early amusement parks in China and also the largest one in northeast China’s Liaoning province.