The deal, involving an investment of some $300 million, was announced in London during the visit of Chinese president XI Jinping to Britain this week. China Media Capital, which is headed by former Shanghai Media Group boss Li Ruigang, has an array of media and entertainment investments.
Financial details of the Legoland Discovery Centre were not disclosed.
Merlin is the world’s second largest theme park operator, by visitor numbers, after Walt Disney. It already operates five attractions in China including Madame Tussauds and the Chang Feng Ocean World aquarium. The company last year opened a theme park in Malaysia in 2012, and is also building attractions in Japan, Korea and Dubai.
This week’s deal may also lead to the development of other parks in China, including ‘The Dungeons,’ focused on historic events, and DreamWorks Tours, and Kung Fu Panda Adventures.
The Legoland park, targeted at younger audiences, joins other international groups building in and around Shanghai, China’s commercial capital. Disney will open its $5.4 billion Shanghai resort early next year, having recently begun a staff recruitment drive. DreamWorks is expected to open its $2 billion park, which also involves CMC as an investor and partner, in 2017.
CMC recently struck a landmark Chinese-language film production agreement with Warner Bros. and Hong Kong’s TVB.