Wanda invests $15 billion to build happiest place in China

Wanda invests $15 billion to build happiest place in China

Making good on a promise that its theme parks would outperform Shanghai Disneyland, Wanda Group is investing almost $15 billion in Hunan Province.

Five months after the Walt Disney Co.’s $5.5 billion destination opened on mainland China, the Chinese real-estate conglomerate will spend more than $7 billion on a Wanda City in Changsha.

Changsha Wanda City will be the second Wanda City theme park built in central China after one in Nanchang.

“It will be designed and constructed in accordance with the highest international standards and, once completed, it will drastically strengthen the tourism sector in Changsha, making it a world-class vacation destination and adding a new super IP to Changsha, which is called China’s Entertainment Capital,” Wanda said in a statement.

The move comes on the heels of Wanda hiring former Disney executive Andrew Kam to oversee its theme park business in China. Kam had been managing director of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort since 2008.

Wanda Chairman (and China’s richest person) Wang Jianlin has vowed to build at least 20 theme parks around the Middle Kingdom to compete with Shanghai Disneyland, which is Disney’s second-largest theme park behind Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Meanwhile, Wanda will put the rest of its $15 billion investment toward building 15 Wanda Plaza shopping malls throughout Hunan Province.