Wang Xuguang, chief executive of Dalian-based Haichang Ocean Park Holdings, has expressed concerns about the future of the theme park industry in China.
Despite estimations that the number of visitors to the China’s theme parks will likely reach 220 million in 2020, Wang said that there are “daunting challenges” ahead in a report from the South China Morning Post.
Competition and higher operating costs could bode ill for theme parks, Wang said.
“About 90 per cent of the theme parks around the world see their businesses run out of steam after three years of operating,” Wang said. “It is a daunting challenge to sustain growth for theme park operators.”
“We still need to learn from global giants like Walt Disney which runs its amusement parks successfully based on its strong intellectual property portfolio,” said Wang. “Sustainable growth can be achieved only after operators can increase per-capita spending by tourists during the visits.”
“Bigger players, especially those with international backgrounds, will be in a better position as they can generate revenues from multiple channels such as the sale of food, souvenirs and stays at park hotels,” he said.
There is likely to be consolidation in the marketplace with mergers and acquisitions ahead.
“We are looking for the opportunities,” he said. “At present, we are strengthening our own core competence in developing intellectual property and building brand awareness to prepare for future growth.”
“Banking on the intellectual property of Seven Guardians, we want to embark on an asset-light strategy to chase sustainability of our businesses.”
Haichang Ocean Park currently operates six ocean theme parks, one adventure theme park, and one water world in China. In addition there are two major projects under construction in Shanghai and Sanya.
They will open a gigantic polar-themed ocean park in the Lingang area of Pudong in 2018.
Haichang posted net profits of 57.6 million yuan ( US$8.83 million) for this year’s first half. That is up 38.9 per cent from a year ago.
Image courtesy of Haichang Ocean Park.