Comcast Will Build an Amusement Park in Beijing
We already knew that the amusement park business was an increasingly important part of Comcast’s bottom line. That’s confirmed in today’s announcement that Comcast subsidiary Universal Studios will build a park in Beijing, to be co-owned with a consortium of four Chinese companies.
After 13 years of negotiations and planning, Universal Parks & Resorts said Monday it would open a $3.3-billion, 300-acre theme park in Beijing. The company and its Chinese partners did not set an opening date, but state-run media said the complex would debut in 2019.
The long-rumored park will be among the company’s largest and include the same kind of movie-themed attractions featured at Universal parks in Los Angeles, Orlando, Japan and Singapore. It will include attractions specifically created for China and plans also call for a Universal CityWalk retail-dining-and-entertainment complex as well as a “first-ever” Universal-themed resort hotel.
U.S. theme park operators are rushing to build in China, which has few high quality parks but where park revenues have been growing rapidly as city dwellers spend more on entertainment and travel.
Tom Williams, chief executive of Universal Parks and Resorts, told a news conference in Beijing that the park would also aim to draw visitors from outside China, while Hollywood director Steven Spielberg said on video that he would be participating in its design.
The park, expected to be among Universal’s largest, will feature attractions specially designed for China, Mr. Williams said. He didn’t elaborate. Beijing was chosen despite its blustery winters because more than 200 million tourists visit the city annually, Mr. Williams said, adding that Universal would provide indoor entertainment to ensure that visitors could enjoy the park year-round.
Mr. Williams said he isn’t worried about challenges in the Chinese market. “I don’t think of them as challenges, I think of them as opportunities,” he said. He added that he is “not concerned” about air pollution in Beijing and has faith that the Chinese government is taking action.
We’ve said it before: Brian Roberts is shaping up to be the next Walt Disney.