Chairman Wang Jianlin of The Wanda Group, the world’s biggest private property owner and developer, says it is planning 1,000 new malls with mini theme parks.
The group is set to quadruple the number of its malls in China in a bid to battle the threat of e-commerce.
Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin, chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group, has promised that he will vastly expand the extent of his shopping-mall empire. He says retail can battle back against its online competition by adding entertainment to stores and malls. Small theme parks will, he believes, bring consumers back to physical shopping experiences.
Wanda currently has 233 malls in China. Wang plans to create a further 1,000 over the next decade. They will reach over 90 percent of Chinese cities. The Wanda chairman, speaking at an event hosted by Suning Holdings Group Co., said part of the plan is to include mini theme parks in the new commercial ventures. The company will also use artificial intelligence (AI) in their future plans.
Mini theme parks in malls
The comments indicate that Wang Jianlin is keeping to his plan to stay focused on domestic investments. This follows the Chinese government’s clampdown on overseas deals and financing.
As Blooloop reported this summer Wanda has had to release some projects and press hold on foreign acquisitions. The company sold more than $9 billion in theme park and hotel assets earlier in the year. This followed government pressure to pull back debt.
Wanda has also announced that it’s shifting to keeping relatively few capital assets. Instead it will focus on building and operating malls belonging to other investors or companies. Wang did not elaborate on whether the new malls will be included in this asset-light strategy.
Wang did say that Wanda will pursue “large-scale” cooperation with Suning next year. However he did not elaborate on what form this cooperation would take.
Earlier this month, Wanda Hotel Development, the group’s hotel division said it was looking at options for its property portfolio. Projects currently span the world, from Sydney to Chicago. It has previously been reported that Wanda has talked to possible investors about selling five overseas developments for around $5 billion.