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Wanda challenges Disney: plans massive investment programme

China’s largest private property developer is aiming to surpass Disney as the world’s largest tourism enterprise by 2020, aiming to welcome more than 200 million people and earn annual tourism income in excess of CN¥100bn (US$16.1bn, €14.6bn, £10.3bn) with its ‘Wanda city’ plan.

Speaking at the China International Tourism Investment Conference, Wanda chair Wang Jianlin outlined the ambitious goal to overtake Disney, with plans to set up culture and tourism cities, known as ‘Wanda cities’.

Each city is being built on a grand scale, with the entire endeavour being an indoor project, designed to operate all-year-round. Three Wanda cities are currently in operation, with seven more under construction. Future plans beyond this include opening in excess of 15 Wanda cities in China alone, each with projected visitor numbers of more than 10 million, while larger branches within certain cities will be able to accommodate 30 million annually.

According to recent figures, Disney welcomed nearly 130 million visitors across all of its parks in 2014, with that number expected to rise to around 160 million when Shanghai Disneyland arrives in 2016.

Among examples of Wanda cities are the US$1bn (€839m, £659m) movie park in the Chinese city of Wuhan, which opened in January, the multi-billion dollar Wanda Hefei, set to open in July 2016, and the US$8.2bn (£5.1bn, €6bn) mega-complex in the eastern port city of Qingdao.

In addition to the ambitious domestic plans, Wang added that Wanda has also begun acquisitions of travel enterprises and tourism destinations overseas.

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China’s largest private property developer is aiming to surpass Disney as the world’s largest tourism enterprise by 2020, aiming to welcome more than 200 million people and earn annual tourism income in excess of CN¥100bn (US$16.1bn, €14.6bn, £10.3bn) with its ‘Wanda city’ plan. Speaking at the China International Tourism Investment Conference, Wanda chair Wang Jianlin outlined the ambitious goal to overtake Disney, with plans to set up culture and tourism
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Wanda chair Wang Jianlin is Asia's richest man
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