Mini ‘ocean worlds’ for China malls

Hong Kong listed theme park operator Haichang Holdings has revealed a plan to open ‘mini ocean worlds’ in China malls.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post, CEO Wang Xuguang said the company has decided to embark on a new growth strategy rather than copying rival developers pursuing the “bigger is better” course.

“We had heated discussions when mulling over development, but we decided to follow a light-asset strategy rather than building more large parks like others are doing,” he told the newspaper.

With more and more theme parks opening outside major Chinese cities – the new Disney World under construction in Shanghai the most publicised example, Haichang is wary of over supplying the market. So rather than build massive parks to attract customers, it wants instead to take the parks to the people.

“We believe there’ll be projects running into trouble over the coming few years. We will keep a close eye on any acquisition opportunities in the market.”

Wang said his company also plans to offer its operational experience and know-how to other park operators or shopping centres who want to set up small aquariums.

“Today in China developers are building their parks bigger and bigger using renowned foreign design companies and purchasing quality equipment from around the world, but a successful amusement park is not just a matter of money,” he said.

Haichang Holdings currently runs seven marine-themed parks in eastern and southern Mainland China cities, along with another Disney-style attraction. It has two under construction: Dream World in Sanya, on Hainan Island, and Polar Ocean Park at Shanghai, some 30 minutes from the new Disney attraction.

Read the full feature on the South China Morning Post website.

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