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China’s ballooning economy has a growing appetite for theme parks. The US-based theme park operator Six Flags Entertainment unveiled plans on Thursday to build its 11th theme park in China. The new Six Flags Kids World is an addition to the three parks to be built in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province, that the company and its local partner Riverside Investment Group initially announced in April.(CGTN)|
“Nanjing is a major center of culture and tourism and the perfect location for these three new parks,” said Riverside chairman Li Zhe. “We look forward to having visitors throughout China.”
By 2020, more than 330 million visitors are expected to visit China’s growing theme parks.
According to the consulting agency Euromonitor International, the Chinese mainland will overtake the US and Japan as the theme park capital of the world with annual sales of 1.8 billion US dollars that year.
Not wanting to miss out theme park investors have ventures sprouting up all over China to lure the imaginations and wallets of the middle kingdom’s ballooning middle class.
In 2016, around 65 different theme parks were in various stages of development, according to Forbes.
China is home to 13 of the 20 most popular theme parks among Asian tourists according to a report from Themed Entertainment Association.
Some international brands are among China’s biggest thrill-seekers. Disneyland launched its Shanghai park in June 2016, while Universal Studio’s Beijing park is expected to open by 2020.
Other international theme parks, including Japan’s Hello Kitty Park and South Korea’s Lotte World, are preparing to migrate to the Middle Kingdom.
Domestic theme park brands are also enjoying the ride.
Happy Valley is investing in new technology to upgrade its facilities, while the Beijing Happy Valley park will be making a splash with China’s biggest water slide and a new roller coaster this summer.
But Chinese leaders are considering to put the brakes on the fast-moving theme park industry.
Last month, China’s the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said that a boom in theme parks around the country had led to “blind” construction and was creating local debt risks, underscoring Beijing’s concerns over property development bubbles.
“In the development of theme parks we’ve seen unclear concepts, blind construction, imitations and plagiarism, low-standard duplication and other issues,” the NDRC said in a statement on its website.