Legoland parent secures Chinese joint venture

UK theme parks giant Merlin Entertainments today secured a deal to develop a Legoland in Shanghai and other attractions in China.

A joint venture is being created with local media and entertainment investment organisation China Media Capital (CMC) to create visitor attractions in the country

The partnership will be confirmed at a high-profile creative event hosted by UK Trade & Investment in London as part of China’s President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UK

Merlin and CMC plan to develop a Legoland Park in the Shanghai area and target the introduction of other ‘Midway’ brands throughout China, such as ‘The Dungeons’ and selected ‘Legoland Discovery Centres’ for the Chinese market as well as new concepts including ‘DreamWorks Tours – Kung Fu Panda Adventures’. 

Merlin currently 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 further attractions to open in the next 18 months – Legoland Discovery Centre Shanghai, and a Madame Tussauds and Sea Life aquarium in Chongqing.

Merlin Entertainments chief executive, Nick Varney, said: “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, said: “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, 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.”

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