Beijing, May 28 (IANS) The Wanda group, owned by Chinese magnate Wang Jianlin, opened the first of twenty theme parks on Saturday in China, aiming to surpass Disney as the world leader in this sector.
“We want to be a model for Chinese private enterprise, and we want to establish a global brand for Chinese firms,” Efe news quoted Wang, one of the richest men in the world, as saying during the inauguration of the complex.
The $3.35 billion property is spread over two square km and houses an amusement park and a mall with an aquarium and movie theatres.
People dressed as panda bears welcomed visitors to this park, surrounded by apartment blocks, small shops and five hotels.
Wang hopes the park will attract 10 million tourists annually, thereby establishing a brand he hopes to export to other countries.
Wanda aims to open 20 such parks by 2020, 15 of them in China and five abroad.
Tourism is the key to the expansion of the Chinese conglomerate, which has set itself the target of overtaking Disney as the world leader in theme parks, according to a recent statement by Wang Jianlin.
Disney should not have entered the Chinese continent, said Wang, in reference to Disneyland Shanghai, which will open on June 16.
Disneyland Shanghai brings the number of theme parks run by the American company in Asia to three, the largest number on any continent.
“We have a strategy: One tiger cannot compete with a pack of wolves,” said Wang in reference to the number of parks opened by Disney and the number of parks the Chinese company plans to set up in only five years.