Lanzhou Wanda City: $4bn “asset light” tourism project announced

Wanda has announced a new RMB 30 billion ($4.3 billion) tourism city in Lanzhou, China – Lanzhou Wanda City.

The development in north west China, which is scheduled to start construction in 2019 and complete in 2021, will include an indoor Wanda Mall, a hotel and resort and a sightseeing tower. There are plans for an ocean park, a snow entertainment park, a sports park and a waterpark within the Wanda Mall.

The development is expected to bring 10 million visitors a year to Lanzhou.

Belt and Road

Gansu province was an important location along the historic Silk Road.

Wanda Group chairman Wang Jianlin said in a statement that “Wanda Group has been optimistic about the prospects of China’s cultural tourism industry and will continue to invest in large-scale cultural tourism projects around the country.

“Wanda will fully utilize its competitive advantages accumulated in the cultural tourism industry, and strive to make Lanzhou Wanda City a new business card for the Belt and Road Initiative, and support the comprehensive development of Lanzhou with concrete actions.”

Wanda’s asset light strategy

Following an aggressive foray into the theme park business, Wanda was forced into retreat after the Chinese government identified the company as being over-leveraged.  Wanda sold 13 theme parks and hotels from its cultural tourism business to Sunac China Holdings last year.

The real estate conglomerate now seeks to follow an asset light strategy as a development service provider and retail operator, rather than a developer.

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