China tightens controls over theme park developments

China has tightened regulations around the construction of theme parks with residential and commercial projects around park developments to be more strictly controlled.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China has issued guidelines saying that theme park developers should focus on the main project and reasonably control the scale of supporting industries around the park.

The NDRC also made it clear that it is forbidden to use theme park developments to engage in any real estate projects.

Going forward residential and commercial buildings are to be more strictly controlled and must be separately approved rather than being bundled in with the park development itself.

The NDRC is also concerned that the boom in theme park construction across China has led to “blind” construction and is creating local debt risks.

Developers need to strengthen supervision to “prevent the formation of local debt risks, social risks and financial risks,” the NDRC said in a statement.

“In the development of theme parks we’ve seen unclear concepts, blind construction, imitations and plagiarism, low-standard duplication and other issues.”

Asia is the fastest growing market for theme parks with much of the development happening in China. Disney, Chimelong, Wanda Group, Fantawild and more are constructing parks across the country, with some estimates putting the number currently in development in triple figures.

According to consultancy firm Mintel, China’s theme park sales are expected to more than double in size to RMB 89.2bn by 2022.

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