China's Wanda closes movie leisure complex

Aug 02, 2016
wang BEIJING: Chinese conglomerate Wanda has closed a movie leisure complex "for renovation" only 19 months after it went into operation, it said on Tuesday (Aug 2), dealing a blow to the company's diversification plans shortly after opening its first theme park. The entertainment facility in the central city of Wuhan, launched in December 2014 and reportedly costing 3.8 billion yuan (now US$570 million), was shut down on Sunday, the Wanda subsidiary that runs it said in a statement sent to AFP. It will be "comprehensively upgraded and renovated" to improve services before reopening, the company said, without giving a date. The complex was receiving "far fewer" daily visitors than the 800-1,000 originally expected, the local Chutian Metropolis newspaper said on Monday, with tourists complaining that they had to queue for hours for each attraction. Wanda denied the report. Owned by billionaire Wang Jianlin, Wanda is seeking to shift its focus from property to services and entertainment as profits wane in China's real estate sector. "The era where you can make money easily is gone. This is our judgement about the long-term trend in the real estate sector," Wang said in a speech last year. In May it launched operations at its first theme park, a US$3.4 billion project in Nanchang, just weeks before US entertainment giant Disney opened a park in Shanghai, its first on the Chinese mainland. Wanda has also has expanded aggressively overseas, snapping up a string of assets in Europe and America in recent years. It bought Hollywood studio Legendary Entertainment in a US$3.5 billion deal, after purchasing US cinema chain AMC Entertainment for US$2.6 billion. It has also announced a deal to buy the London-based Odeon & UCI cinema group, and is bidding for US movie house chain Carmike. --AFP


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