China’s Wanda to Build 200 Baby King Theme Parks

HONG KONG – Dalian Wanda Group, already China’s biggest property developer and one of the world’s largest cinema owners, is hatching plans to build 200 theme parks targeted at young children.

The company said that the “Wanda Baby King” parks will be smaller in scale (3,000-5,000 square metres) than full-blown theme parks and focus on kids aged 0-8 years old. They will have themes such as photography, birthday parties, family restaurants and children’s plazas. Other features will include exhibitions based on Wanda-commissioned cartoons.

Because the parks are small scale and Wanda is a nationwide developer with shopping malls and commercial properties across the country it says it can roll out the Baby King parks quickly. It will open some in Dongguan, Kunming, Xishan and Tongzhou near Beijing imminently and have over 100 in operation by the year end.

The parks reflect the special, pampered position that children have in Chinese families, a by-product of the country’s prolonged ‘one child policy.’ They are often referred to as princes or princesses. However, the parks could also benefit as the central government makes moves to ease the policy and reverse the country’s ageing population.

The parks and child entertainment emphasis also fits neatly with the groups other activities, which range from full scale theme parks and hotels, to karaoke clubs, film and TV production. The company is now building a massive film-themed park in Qingdao which will house 20 film production stages and a festival from 2017.

At the end of last week Wanda announced a property project in Beverly Hills that would include headquarter offices for its planned US entertainment activities.

This week it announced that it will invest $900 million building a hotel and leisure complex called ‘The Jewel’ at Surfers’ Paradise, in Queensland, Australia.

Wanda bought control of North American cinema chain AMC Entertainment in mid 2012.

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