In China, American media conglomerate Viacom has broken ground on a new $1.71 billion (11.9 billion RMB) Nickelodeon theme park, the Nickelodeon Cultural Resort in the southern city of Foshan.
This comes after last year’s opening of the first Nickelodeon-themed attraction in Asia, Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon in Malaysia.
The Nickelodeon Theme Park
The Nickelodeon theme park will form part of a wider development scheme called the Foshan Cultural and Ecological Coastal Project. Due, to open in 2020, the 750 acre park will have 250 acres set aisde for Nickelodeon-themed attractions.
Although Viacom International Media Networks has not revealed exactly what attractions will feature in the park, Ron Johnson, executive vp Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products, said it will give visitors the “opportunity to interact with iconic and beloved characters including SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
Partnering Viacom in the development of the Nickleodeon theme park is the government backed Sanshui New Town Management Committee. This body aims to develop the Sanshui district of Foshan. A second partner is Elite Global Group, a Hong Kong conglomerate.
Chinese Theme Parks
The Chinese theme park and entertainment market is expanding due to the growth in the country’s middle class. This phenomenon is reflected across many other Asian countries. China’s theme park industry set to exceed that of the U.S. within the next few years, and it is estimated that ticket sales at Chinese parks will reach $12 billion by 2020. To put this in perspective, ticket sales were $4.6 billion in 2015. In comparison, Theme park revenue in the U.S.will reach $9 billion in 2020 ($8 billion in 2015).
China’s theme park business is a busy one, with major international theme park chains and brands all eager to enter the market. In addition, Chinese operators such as real estate giant Dalian Wanda Group have ambitious plans too. Wanda is set on developing 15 destnation resorts across the country by 2020.
*Euromonitor International and World Travel Market report, Nov. 2016.