(Yicai Global) Aug. 31 -- Global theme park operator Merlin Entertainments has started building the world's biggest Legoland Resort in southeastern China's tech hub Shenzhen amid intensifying competition.
The investment of the 580,000-square meter park should exceed CNY7 billion (USD1.1 billion), the Poole-headquartered firm said in a press release on its website recently. The resort is scheduled to open in 2024.
The huge market is attracting more newcomers after the mainland's first Disneyland began welcoming visitors in Shanghai in 2016. China's first Universal Studios will open to the public on Sept. 20, Universal Studios Beijing announced yesterday.
Merlin is currently constructing three Legolands in China, two of which were started in 2019, with a total investment of CNY13.6 billion (USD2.1 billion), according to the Paper. One project is in Shanghai and the other one is in southwestern Sichuan province, and they are expected to be completed by 2023.
The financial burden should be manageable. The British entertainment giant has Chinese financial partners in various areas, a source close to Merlin told the Paper. Moreover, Legoland is smaller in scale when compared with Disneyland and Universal Studios, the person added.
Merlin will operate the Shenzhen resort exclusively, while its local partner, real estate developer Hazens Holdings, will provide support for the project, according to the firm.
Merlin runs eight Legolands worldwide. The ninth is expected to be opened in South Korea next year.
Editor: Emmi Laine, Xiao Yi