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    NEWS
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    • 日期: 2017-08-14
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    Wanda takes the park fight to Disney After Nanchang venture, Hefei project opens, produces property boom
    In the year 383, during the Jin Dynasty rule, 80,000 soldiers in the town of Feishui successfullywarded off attackers who outnumbered them ten-fold. It has been lauded as one of the mostfamed underdog victories in Chinese history.
    Billionaire Wang Jianlin is betting on strength in numbers prevailing as he battles modern-dayinvader Walt Disney Co to become China's biggest theme-park operator.
    The chairman of Wanda Group was in the audience Saturday as dozens of actors in Feishui, nowpart of the eastern Chinese city of Hefei, attempted to recreate the famous battle 1,633 yearslater to mark the opening of Hefei Wanda Cultural Tourism City.
    Wang has laid out a plan to build 15 multi-billion-dollar theme parks across China by 2020, whichhe said would be a "pack of wolves" that defeats the one "tiger" of Shanghai Disneyland.
    The 160-hectare (395-acre) Hefei Wanda City, located in the eastern province of Anhui, openeda week ahead of China's week-long golden week holiday that starts Oct 1. It has been fourmonths since the company introduced its first theme park, in Nanchang, southeastern Jiangxiprovince. Both cities are within a four-hour train ride of Shanghai.
    The Hefei park, comprising an outdoor entertainment facility, a shopping mall, a movie complexand an indoor water park, is Wanda's latest attempt to diversify from its real estate roots andbuild a culture-and-entertainment empire that it hopes will overshadow Walt Disney.
    On Saturday, Wang announced that Wanda will splash out another 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) onindoor entertainment facilities in the Hefei park, to be completed in two to three years.
    "Wanda is determined to make Hefei Wanda City a world-class tourism attraction, making Hefeia world-class tourism destination," Wang told a roomful of local officials and reporters at theopening ceremony. The conglomerate is building eight other "Wanda Cities" in the country.
    Guarded by tight security, local officials and foreign ambassadors were shown around the 24billion-yuan development on Saturday morning, before the park opened to the public at 12.18 pm,an auspicious time for wealth and fortune, according to Chinese numerology. When including theresidential project nearby, the cost of the project rises to 35 billion yuan, according to Wanda.
    Highlights of the park include a street display of traditional Chinese craftsmanship, a paradeconjuring up the Rio Carnival, the world's tallest looping roller-coaster and China's first immersiveinteractive cinema. Admission to the complex costs 388 yuan for a combined daily pass in thepeak season, while the outdoor theme park alone costs 248 yuan.
    Although cheaper than Shanghai Disneyland, this isn't a small expenditure for local residents.Last year, the GDP per capita in Anhui province was 36,176 yuan, compared with the nationalaverage of 52,000 yuan.
    "Of course I'd love to take my entire family to go visit sometime, but it's quite expensivecompared to our usual leisure destinations-the existing aquarium costs just 80 yuan," said 44-year-old Wei Minggen, a local taxi driver.
    The development can host 20 million visitors a year, according to Wanda. Anhui province'spopulation was 61 million last year.
    While it remains to be seen if tourism traffic can be sustained in the entertainment complex, theconcept of an upcoming cultural and tourism hub has produced a property boom in theneighborhood. Wanda, China's largest property developer, has poured billions of yuan in buildingresidential apartments.
    The Binhu New District, home to a new high-speed train station, the Wanda City and a soon-to-be-completed subway line, is a burgeoning area at the heart of the local government'surbanization plan.
    The average price for second-hand apartments in the area has doubled over the past year tomore than 18,000 yuan per square meter, according to Fang.com, an online real-estate agency.
    Li Xuan, a local homeowner, bought two apartments at the end of last year at 8,000 yuan persquare meter.
    "I feel pretty happy that I made the investment back then," he said. "Because now newapartments are so in demand and it's very difficult to buy one, regardless of how much money youhave."
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