The investors behind Universal Beijing Resort are believed to be doubling down on the upcoming 300-acre theme park in the Chinese capital.
They have plans to invest $6.5 billion by its 2021 opening date.
Initially this project had a budget of $3.25 billion when it was announced in October 2014 by Universal Parks & Resorts and its state-run development partner in China, Beijing Shouhuan Cultural Tourism Investment Co (BSH Investment).
The success of Shanghai Disney Resort motivated the investors behind Universal Beijing to raise their bet. The Disney park in Shanghai drew more than 11 million visitors in its first year after its opening in mid-2016. Disney made an important addition to the park by opening the Disney Pixar Toy Story Land last month.
And, the brand new budget for Universal Beijing outstrips the more than $5.5 billion cost of its Shanghai rival and would mark the biggest-ever investment in a theme park. Universal and BSH Investment, a consortium of several Chinese firms, are now expecting the park in Beijing’s eastern suburb of Tongzhou to draw 10 million visitors in its first year, up from the initial projection of seven million.
Sam Crispin, founder of Crispins Property Investment Management and formerly director of the Real Estate Advisory & Urbanization Team with PwC China asserted that the Chinese market for entertainment and leisure is desperate for new attractions to complement the many historic and cultural attractions that China already has.
This additional investment in Universal Beijing would be utilized to expand the park’s retail and entertainment facilities, improve the attractions and build new zones including a Harry Potter-themed land. Attractions based on the Minions, Transformers, and Kung Fu Panda movie franchises are being built, capitalizing on the popularity of the series in China, according to the report.
The site of the park has been prepared, and major construction is expected to begin this year. Universal Beijing is reportedly estimated to open in the year 2021, a year later than it was originally planned. Three years of talks followed the 2014 announcement of the project, with a joint venture being formed only last year, according to the source.