Universal City, CA – China has approved the development of a $3.3 billion Universal theme park in Beijing that would be the first major foreign-owned theme park in the Chinese capital.
The planned theme park will be the third Universal park in Asia after Singapore and Osaka.
California-based Comcast NBCUniversal and a consortium of four Chinese state-owned companies issued a joint statement saying the park will be developed on about 300 acres in eastern Beijing.
They said the Beijing park will include attractions from other Universal parks as well as new ones reflecting China’s cultural heritage.
The complex will eventually cover about 1,000 acres and will feature a Universal CityWalk entertainment zone and a Universal-themed resort hotel. The developers said they were not ready to announce a timeframe for completing the park.
China’s growing consumer market has proved fertile ground for US companies looking to expand theme park franchises. Disney has opened one park in Hong Kong and is building another one in Shanghai.
In June, Six Flags announced plans to build six parks in China over the next decade. Dreamworks Animation SKG Inc. is building a $2.4 billion complex with Chinese partners in Shanghai, scheduled to open in 2017.
China is home to 11 of the top 20 amusement parks in Asia with about 166 million visits in 2013.
According to industry analysts, amusement parks in China are expected to total nearly $3 billion this year alone. There are 59 more parks in the pipeline, and by 2020, theme park attendance in China could overtake the US market’s 220 million visits last year.
The opening date and specific development plans for the new Universal park were not announced.