Merlin Entertainments and China Media Capital (CMC) are to set up a joint venture to develop a LEGOLAND Park in Shanghai area as well as other attractions across China.
CMC, a leading player in China’s location based entertainment market, created DreamCenter in Shanghai as well as owning many prominent media and entertainment companies and brands.
A LEGOLAND Park in the Shanghai area is first on the list of projects for the new JV which will focus on rolling out ‘localised’ versions of Merlin’s Midway attractions across China. Proven Merlin brands cited in the announcement include ‘The Dungeons’, ‘LEGOLAND Discovery Centers’ DreamWorks Tours – Kung Fu Panda Adventures’ and others.
At present Merlin has five attractions in China (Madame Tussauds in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing and Wuhan, and Chang Feng Ocean World aquarium in Shanghai) and has announced plans for three more over the next 18 months – LEGOLAND Discovery Center Shanghai, and a Madame Tussauds and SEA LIFE aquarium in Chongqing.
The announcement was made as part of the of the high profile events surrounding China’s President Xi Jinping State Visit to the UK.
Commenting on the new partnership, Nick Varney, Chief Executive of Merlin Entertainments, said, “We are delighted to announce that we are forming a joint venture with CMC and are honoured to be able to make an announcement at such an important event to showcase British creativity and celebrate China and UK collaboration.
"China is a key growth market for the Group and we see this partnership as providing a significant opportunity to accelerate our plans. We’re also very excited to be working with CMC on the development and roll out of new brands. By working together in partnership we will be able to combine our expertise in operating world-class attractions with CMC’s insight and expertise in the Chinese market.”
Ruigang Li, Chairman of CMC, added, “It’s a great honour to be supported by top leaders of both nations in forging this strategic partnership with Merlin. CMC has a highly diversified portfolio of entertainment content and platform. Through investing and operating across the whole spectrum of the media and entertainment sector, CMC has accumulated unique experience in aligning international know-how with local market needs. Through this partnership with Merlin, a global operator, we will be committed to creating a premium experience as well as establishing a working system in China for the development and operation of location based entertainment attractions that meet international standards.”