Dalian Wanda group Friday signed a co-development deal to build a theme park costing $9.4 billion (RMB63 billion) in the northern Chinese city of Jinan. The deal was signed with the government of the city, the capital of Shandong Province.
It will Wanda’s first park with a dominant sports theme and include a 10,000-seater ice hockey cum basketball stadium. Other facilities include a Wanda Mall, an outdoor theme park, a hotel cluster, large stage show and a bar street.
Jinan Wanda City is planned to break ground in 2017 and start operation in 202. The company said that it is expected to receive over 20 million tourists per year, create 20,000 jobs and generate large tax revenue for the local government. The park would be Wanda’s 13th city park out of a planned 15 locations.
Earlier this year Wanda’s chairman Wang Jianlin taunted Walt Disney’s Shanghai Disney Resort, suggesting that it was too highly priced and that it would be overtaken by his ‘wolf pack’ of parks. Shortly after, Wanda’s parks initiatives took a dent when it temporarily closed its indoor theme park in Wuhan after less than two years of operation.
Diversification away from hard core property development is a major theme for the group that has expanded into entertainment and leisure through its own developments as well as through acquisitions including Legendary Entertainment and European cinema chain Odeon / UCI.
On Thursday Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin was the final, keynote speaker at a high powered retail convention in Beijing. As well as giving a second wind to Wanda’s own e-commerce platform Ffan.com, Wang urged the industry and the Chinese government to help encourage Chinese consumers to do more of their shopping at home.