Universal Officially Signs the Deal with China to Build Universal Studios Beijing
Executives from Universal Studios this weekend formally signed the deal
to begin construction on its largest theme park, the planned Universal Studios Beijing
Universal and Chinese officials approved the deal last year, which would see the partnership develop the US$3.3 billion, 296-acre theme park in the Chinese capital city. In addition, the project will spend an addition US$3.5 billion developing the area around the park, including a subway expansion and other infrastructure improvements.
The park is scheduled to open in 2019. Beyond that, future development plans call for a second theme park, a water park, and five other hotels in addition to the Universal Studios hotel and CityWalk entertainment district that will open alongside Universal Studios Beijing.
When officials approved the project and released its first concept art last fall, we looked through that image for clues to what visitors might find in the park when it opened. Among the attractions we found suggested in the concept art were a Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, Transformers, Revenge of the Mummy, Jurassic Park, and DreamWorks Animation's Madagascar.
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Frankly, if they have to spend $3.5 billion just to develop the area around the park, then this looks like a bad investment.
As long as they don't take investment away from their Orlando and Hollywood parks - to pay for this. Sure a part of Disney nothingness in the parks in America is down to the huge investment in Shanghai.
Why doesn't Universal focus on its existing domestic parks?
It is a joint venture that both Comcast Universal and the local firm will share the investment.
Disneyversal - surly you jest.
Um....I guess all that construction that Universal is doing in Orlando and Los Angeles doesn't count as focusing on their domestic parks?
Theme Park Wars 2.0
I think this will ultimately benefit the Hollywood park the most, as there will be rides built for both China and Los Angeles at the same time or to similar specifications (see also: Transformers in Singapore and Hollywood).
I just wish they would make Hollywood bigger
Wow, that seems like a really short time frame for construction. Have they started already? Shanghai Disney broke ground in April of 2011 and will open early 2016. Even for an end of 2019 completion that sounds a little fast.
Um ... I guess all that construction Disney is doing in Orlando constitutes "nothingness."
Ok! Sure! Let's build our biggest park to date in China, despite that there was just an entire article and comment thread stating why building a theme park in that country would be a horrible idea!
Actually the final "seal the deal" walk was yesterday (9/14) There was a massive amount of work (Cleaning/Painting/Minor Building Maintenance) done this past week, gearing up for the walk. If you'd been to the park over the past 3 days you'd notice how great the parks looked. They did a walk of IOA and USF and possibly City Walk and all that work paid off :-)
Was it just me or did anybody else have trouble figuring out what the poster at 126.96.36.199 just said?
Actually, this overseas venture of Universal might have a better chance of becoming reality unlike their previously announced overseas ventures for the following reasons:
I currently live in Guangzhou, about 3 hours south of Beijing by air. My wife loves Beijing and wants to move back, but I fight it because of the awful air quality. Alas, if this park really does become a reality, at least I can have some fun while I shave years off of my life expectancy.
This makes no sense. Population doesn't mean attendance and I wouldn't visit Beijinh for this. They should have kept Diagon Alley UOR exclusive
Re: Tim Hillman
I have a feeling this will do better than Hong Kong or Shangaghi Disneyland. Universal does a much better job than Disney about bring popular and current properties to their parks. imthink overall Disney is better, but I think this will translate to a much bigger success than Disneyland in China. Disney's parks feature an idealized version of America's past, as well characters and themes based on European stories the Chinese haven't heard of until recently. Universal will have a park based on recent franchises that are popular and well known in China. Disneyland Hong Kong is turning around, and Shanghai has fixed part of that problem Honk Kong is having to fix. But Universal will work very well in China with little adjustment, and will likely be the most successful theme park in Chian.
Beijing is an unpleasant place to visit, but I can see why Beijing would want to be on the map as a tourist destination. I wonder if Universal can be successfully imported. It is certainly doing well in Japan, but that is no guarantee. The Chinese financial institutions and government have too much money and they need to spend it. People need jobs. Their middle class is getting bigger and they want places to spend their disposable income. I suggest they make Minions into their new park mascot. The other franchises are not so popular with the exception of Transformers. Not so sure how Harry Potter translates.
Actually, I think both Disney and Universal are making excellent business decisions by building new parks in mainland China, because despite the volatility of the overheated Chinese stock market and economy which is due primarily to centralized government meddling, the upside of expanding to China far outweighs the downside.
I agree with Tim Hillman. Although China's economy is stalling currently, this will be a temporary issue. The movie market in China is growing hugely, and studios want to capitalise on this. Having on the ground investments in mainland China will aid in their studios vying for release of movies there (only a select number of foreign movies are released in China annually - and these parks won't hinder Universal or Disney's prospects). International tourism to China is expected to reach number 1 by 2020 (by the World Tourism Organisation) which also won't hurt park attendance.
Well, Mr. Hillman, must admit, I stand corrected.
So many comments about the business decision to build in China. You must realize that long before a press release is issued, years of market analysis is performed that involves the local demographics, median income, discretionary spending, construction costs, local tourism, market trending and projections. There are even specialized companies like ERA and Associates that do this kind of work. Although it's nice of people to worry about Universal and Disney's bottom line, they know EXACTLY how these parks will forecast. Right now, the themed entertainment business is working at peak capacity.
It's nice that you (188.8.131.52) can make assertions in capital letters, but some of us on this site can count to twenty without taking our shoes off, and you might get some argument from those folks that Disney's decisions to expand to Paris and Hong Kong have not been resounding successes. Here's a link to a Time article about how the Paris park has struggled for most of its 20+ years of existence:
I'm still surprised to see these companies open parks in a communist country where the government controls everything.
The US government controls far more than China, and will invade or bomb other contries that don't do it's bidding. See: vietnam, korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq again etc.
Well David, China may have an authoritarian regime in control, and life in China is highly regulated by the Communist Party, but the economic system currently in place is referred to as "State Capitalism," and even though it is dominated by state controlled industries there is a significant and growing part of the economy that is in private hands. That private sector is driving the growth of the middle class, and despite the recent failings of the state to control the economy and the stock market, there are multitudes of western corporations that are scrambling to position themselves to reap the economic benefits of a rapidly-growing and potentially massive middle class. Disney and Universal are wise to enter the market in China now.
Tim, when I say the US controls more then China I mean on a global scale, not so much within the nations borders, although the argument could probably be made.
Daniel, when you responded to David's comment about the government controlling everything in China, did you choose to compare US control in the world to Chinese control in the world? Or Chinese control in China? Either way, it's just bad logic, and the facts don't support your conclusion whatever it is.
You don't understand my point? Yet you bring up Russia, Warsaw and Europe when the conversation was about China and the US.
Well Daniel, your point is still very unclear.
I opened the can of worms with my very first comment. But I knew you wouldn't answer the question. And that is exactly my point. Americans live in a bubble and quickly demonize foreign powers because they only know what CNN tells them, when our own has done equally and sometimes worse. We mourn 9/11 because a few thousand people died, while our indiscriminate bombing in the last 70 years has killed hundreds of thousands if not millions. The value of human life should not depend on which side of a line you live on, otherwise we are just savages, killing our neighbors cause they're in the way.
Yes, Daniel you are totally right, and I cede the moral high ground to you.
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