Wanda opens $6.9b tourism park in Hefei
DALIAN Wanda Group, the Chinese entertainment giant owned by the country's richest man, opened the first phase of a sprawling 34 billion yuan (S$6.9 billion) tourism park in the eastern city of Hefei on Saturday.
Wanda is building similar projects around the country, betting that China's rising incomes will drive more domestic tourism.
In an interview with Reuters last month, chairman Wang Jianlin said that Wanda would look to build at least 20 such complexes in China.
The 160ha first phase of Hefei Wanda City includes a theme park, hotels and a shopping mall.
The second phase will be an "indoor recreation project", according to a statement from the company.
Wanda intends to extend the park into a third phase, which is still in the planning stages, it said.
Mr Wang has been open about his rivalry with Walt Disney, which opened a US$5.5 billion (S$7.5 billion) resort in Shanghai in June.
But China's slowing economy has taken a toll on some areas of consumer spending.
Outbound tourism numbers - which rose 16 per cent in 2015 - are set to flatline this year, according to China National Tourism Administration data.
The company has been investing heavily as it seeks to triple revenues from its cultural division - which includes entertainment, sports and tourism - to 150 billion yuan by 2020.