Saturday, February 27, 2016

Breaking News: Chinese Billionaire Wang Announces he Wants to Build a $3.3 Billion French Theme Park at 10km of Paris. Now Updated with Video and New Pictures

Chinese Billionaire Wang announced today he wants to build a $3.3 Billion French theme park at 10km of Paris, and the above rendering was released. You'll read more about this below from a Bloomberg article but first let me tell you why this news is potentially an important one. First, Wang is a Chinese Billionaire who really has the money to do it. His fortune is estimated at $26 Billion, six times the estimated fortune of Donald Trump, to give you an idea. Two, Wanda, his group, is the one who built in Wuhan, China, the Wanda Movie indoor theme park, which was designed and built mostly by European or American people, including former Imagineers. See picture below of the Wanda indoor theme park.

Three, Wang has not only plans to open a dozen of new theme parks in China and also in Australia but he bought recently Legendary Pictures, the Hollywood company who did the last Godzilla movie and currently producing the King Kong Skull Island film. And rumor is saying that he might buy Paramount pictures anytime soon. In two words, not only we have a group and someone who have the money but also the will to do it, and to do it quickly, at least as fast as the French laws will allow him. A new theme park at 10, or even 20km from Paris IS potentially a bad news for Disneyland Paris - and as usual a good one for fans as DLP will need to invest in new rides to counter attack.

Finally, one more thing: the name announced for this theme park "Europa City" may indicate that Europa Corp director and producer Luc Besson might be part of the project, specially considering that the supposed location of the theme park would be at 10km north of Paris, more or less where Luc Besson already have his movie studios. This is a point which remain to be confirmed, though.

Editing: Thanks to Mark, d&M faithful reader we have a video showing the Europa City project. Not only it will include a theme park but also a water park and an indoor ski park in a edition of the usual retail areas.

The direct link to the Europa City website is HERE. Also read articles ( in French ) on Liberation HERE and La Tribune HERE. Note: the more i read about this project, the more i think it will be a serious competitor to DLP, not in terms of theme park but in terms of visitors that Europa City may "take" to DLP which may have a fall of parks attendance.

Also, last news from Deadline: Wanda confirm its investment in the Europa City project scheduled to open in 2024: Dalian Wanda Group confirmed today that it will invest $3.3B by 2024 in EuropaCity, wang jianlin oxforda mega-project near Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport that will boast a theme park, attractions, cultural exhibitions, retail shops, outdoor sports venues and restaurants over about 200 acres. It’s Wanda’s biggest-ever single project in Europe, which the company said will create about 14,000 jobs.“We have wanted to develop ourselves in France for a while, and particularly in Paris, as I had told the French President during his visit to China last November,” DWG president Wang Jianlin said in a statement. “EuropaCity allows us to finally reach that objective and we are pleased to collaborate with a famous French stakeholder to develop this ambitious and innovative project. For us, it is the most important project outside of China.”

Now, here is the Bloomberg post and more pictures of Europa City project:

"A partnership led by by Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda Group Co. plans to invest more than 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) in a retail and leisure development project outside of Paris, taking on Walt Disney Co. in the euro area’s second-largest economy.

EuropaCity will be built 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) northeast of Paris. It will be the biggest single investment project in Europe to date, including a theme park, show stage, hotel, retail stores and conference centers, the company said in a statement. The project, which spans more than 80 hectares (198 acres), will also provide about 20,000 jobs during construction and 14,000 after it opens, according to the statement.

For Wanda, which runs theme parks across China, movie theater chains in the U.S. and a soccer club in Spain, the move represents a renewed overseas push, underscoring Wang’s increasingly global ambitions. The conglomerate agreed in January to buy “Godzilla” producer Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion, paving the way for the tycoon to become the first Chinese person to control a Hollywood film company.

France-based shopping center developer Immochan is overseeing the project. Immochan is an arm of Groupe Auchan, a family-owned supermarket operator. Wang is also interested in potentially buying Amaury Sport Organisation, a company that runs cycling’s Tour de France race, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Wang, who vies with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founder Jack Ma for the title of China’s richest person, has set his sights on beating Disney in the theme park business.

In January, he told executives that visitor arrivals and revenue at Wanda’s tourism projects in Wuxi and Guangzhou will beat those of Disneyland in Shanghai and Hong Kong, respectively, according to a transcript of the speech posted on the company’s website. Europacity may add to challenges facing Disneyland Paris, which needed a bailout in 2014 to upgrade its facilities and reverse a slump in attendance.

Already this year, Wanda announced a $2.3 billion investment in three hospitals, the formation of a financial group and the signing a $10 billion development deal in India, in addition to the Legendary acquisition. Wanda has said it’s planning five major acquisitions in 2016 -- three of them overseas.

Wang’s investments in Europe include the Club Atletico de Madrid soccer team and Swiss marketing firm Infront Sports & Media AG.
Wanda is seeking acquisitions to bolster growth as the group braces for falling sales from its main property business. That’s prompted Wang, estimated by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index to have a fortune exceeding $26 billion, to increasingly look toward expanding his entertainment business.

Wang’s film, tourism and sports operations all fall under Wanda’s fast-growing Cultural Industry Group, which saw revenue climb 46 percent last year and is forecast to climb 30 percent in 2016. By comparison, Wanda Group estimates overall sales rose 19 percent in 2015 and will probably decline 12 percent this year because of the slump in its property business."

Pictures: copyright Europa City


Tom said...

The rendering looks more like a city park, with a petting zoo and skate park and, oh, a mega roller coaster ;)

Can't this man invest in dlp? Now that would be cool :D

Competition is always welcome for us, I hope Disney will build something new in dlp in the near future. And of course I hope the new park will be a nice one, not a park with off the shelve rides and roller coasters...

Alain Littaye said...

Tom, have a look at the video that i just added, showing the whole Europa City project.

mr.Lime said...

Interesting project, but Disney beats him when it comes to franchises: Pixar, Marvel and of course Star Wars ... all very attractive if DLP invests seriously in them.

Anonymous said...

These sorts of mega-proposals come every so often. They rarely go forward. Often the sole reason to propose such a thing is to impress investors or other companies with the appearance of activity - it's a prestige thing. And very little in this proposal looks truly innovative, which has to make one wonder whether there is real intent behind making it happen.

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

I wonder why people are still willing to invest billions of dollars in a theme park in France, since none French theme park is financially successful.

Anyway, I don't think that this park will ever see the light of day.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a Terrible Idea. We all know how Disneyland Paris is struggling with attendance compared to other Disney parks around the world. Also Paris has terrible weather for a theme park, usually cold. People also visit Paris to see the city, Eiffel tower, the Louve, etc. NOT to see a theme park.