Wanda inks deal for US$9bn 'super sport-themed tourism complex' as Disney rivalry heats up

China’s Wanda Group has taken the next step on its mission to become an unrivalled tourism entity; signing an agreement to build “the world's first culture, tourism, sports and commerce super complex.”

The group has pledged to invest CN¥63bn (US$9.4bn, €8.4bn, £7.2bn) to construct Jinan Wanda Culture, Sports and Tourism City – it’s 13th mega-development in the country.

Unlike its previous Wanda Cities, the new project in Jinan, Shandong province will have a sports theme. Facilities will include a professional ice hockey-basketball stadium with a 10,000 seat capacity and venues for football, cycling and extreme sports.

The 290 hectare site will include an indoor complex of 5.3 million sq m (57 million sq ft), with a Wanda Mall featuring an ocean-themed attraction and a children’s park.

The city will also have a 42 hectare outdoor theme park; the world's only full-scene dome-screen cinema; a large stage show venue; a bar street; and a hotel cluster with three resort hotels, including a six-star property.

Jinan Wanda City is planned to break ground in 2017 and start operation in 2021. According to Wanda’s billionaire chair Wang Jianlin – China's wealthiest individual – it is expected to receive over 20 million tourists, create 20,000 jobs and generate large amount of tax.

With its so-called ‘Wanda City plan’, Wanda is attempting to topple Disney as the world’s largest tourism enterprise by 2020. By that time, Jianlin wants his parks to have welcomed more than 200 million people and be earning annual tourism income in excess of CN¥100bn (US$14.9bn, €13.4bn, £11.4bn).

Jianlin’s rivalry with Disney has been in the spotlight since the latter opened its US$5.5bn (€5bn, £4.2bn) Shanghai resort earlier this year. He took to state television to warn Disney that “one tiger is no match for a pack of wolves”.

Among examples of Wanda Cities are the US$1bn (€895m, £764m) movie park in the Chinese city of Wuhan, which opened in January 2015, and the US$8.2bn (€7.3bn, £6.2bn) mega-complex in the eastern port city of Qingdao.

The company has also invested money in other parts of the world, including a theme park in Australia and France's EuropaCity.

Wanda Group  Disney  Wang Jialin  China  Jinan Wanda Culture Sports and Tourism City  
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China’s Wanda Group has taken the next step on its mission to become an unrivalled tourism entity; signing an agreement to build “the world's first culture, tourism, sports and commerce super complex.” The group has pledged to invest CN¥63bn (US$9.4bn, €8.4bn, £7.2bn) to construct Jinan Wanda Culture, Sports and Tourism City – it’s 13th mega-development in the country. Unlike its previous Wanda Cities, the new project in Jinan, Shandong province
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Wanda chair Wang Jianlin has dreams of overtaking Disney as the world's biggest tourist company / Fortune Global Forum
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