China’s theme parks are booming, and, getting bigger.
The Themed Entertainment Association, a tourism and entertainment trade group, projects China to be home to the world’s largest theme park facilities by 2020, China Daily reported.
A report from World Travel Market last year predicted that theme park-related retail sales are projected to hit US$12 billion by 2020, up 367% compared to 2010.
That translates to 330 million people visiting one theme park or another by 2020 in the world’s second-largest economy.
Consultancies attributed such optimistic growth projections to an expanding middle-income group that has the capacity and willingness for discretionary spending. People want to pamper themselves through a variety of entertainment, they said.
Leisure attractions in China are becoming increasingly popular as disposable incomes in the country grow, the China Daily report said.
ANZ Bank believes China’s middle-and upper-middle-income earners will take up half of GDP consumption by 2030. Some 326 million people are projected to join this group in the next 15 years or so.
Theme parks’ development in China has seen three phases so far.
After the baby steps of the 1991-2000 period, Chinese leisure companies increased scale until 2015.
From then on, the industry marched into what real estate consultancy Colliers calls the “third era” of mega projects, international brands, intellectual property or IP rights, and Chinese finance.
Meanwhile, Lionsgate Entertainment is set to open the first movie-centric vertical theme park in Asia on July 31.
The park — located in Novotown, a tourism and entertainment project in Hengqin — includes 25 attractions from six global film franchises and Chinese blockbusters: “The Hunger Games” “The Twilight Saga” “Divergent” “Now You See Me” “Gods of Egypt” and “Escape Plan.”
According to Vice.com, using VR simulator experiences, the theme park offers access to life-like encounters with the characters of “Divergent” and “The Twilight Saga.”
The “Hunger Games” experience even allows participants to fight in the rebellion and escape the Capitol found in the trilogy’s third movie. There’s also a multiplayer interactive room replicates the most secure prison in the world, making participants find their way out.
The attractions and rides are accompanied with dining options and a Lionsgate Cafe. There’s even a salon at which guests can get their hair and makeup done in the over-the-top style of the films.
The theme park promises authenticity, letting visitors immerse themselves in the worlds they see on the big screen.
Also on the horizon — a Hello Kitty theme park. The iconic Japanese cartoon character, will find a new home in China as the country’s southernmost island province of Hainan will open a Hello Kitty theme park in 2024.
According to an agreement signed between Sanrio (Shanghai) International Trade Co., Ltd., which owns the rights to the Hello Kitty brand, and Chinese company Funde Holding Group Co. Ltd., the theme park will be located in Haitang Bay of Sanya, a popular beach city in Hainan.
The project will include a theme park, a hotel and shopping facilities.
Sources: China Daily, Vice.com, CGTN.com