Universal Studio said it is planning to open a Hollywood movie theme park, Universal Studios Beijing, in the suburbs of the Chinese capital in collaboration with a local state tourism company.
The news was released on the website Sina’s property pages, and spread quickly online, with much excited chatter on China’s Twitter, Weibo.
The facility will cover a 51-acre site and the total budget will be 12 billion yuan ($1.95 billion), with construction due to start in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the local media report.
A report in Shanghai Securities News, cited by the Shanghai Landscape Architecture Design Institute website, said officials from the National Development and Reform Commission had filed an application to begin construction, and the demolition was ongoing of existing buildings, with the aim of opening the park in January 2018.
The Universal Creative division of Universal Parks and Resorts has also been advertizing for Mandarin Chinese-speaking staff.
When contacted by The Hollywood Reporter, Universal declined to comment on the various reports.
The Chinese partners, Beijing Tourism Group, which is part of the capital’s municipal government, will provide the land and an unspecified part of the investment, while Universal Studios will be responsible for branding, intellectual property, technology and management of the park, Sina reported.
In a separate report, the Global Times daily reported that municipal authorities are planning to build a monorail in Beijing, with the terminus in the new Universal Studios in the southeastern suburb of Tongzhou.
The Beijing resort will bring to three the number of Universal Studios that the company operates in Asia, with Universal Studios in Singapore and Osaka. Both facilities are massively popular with Mainland Chinese tourists, as is the Los Angeles Universal Studios.
There is considerable amount of activity in the theme park area in China right now. The Walt Disney Company has Hong Kong Disneyland and is building a $4.4 billion Disneyland Shanghai project that is due to open at the end of 2015, as mainland China’s first Disney resort.
DreamWorks Animation’s China unit, Oriental DreamWorks, is developing a $3.1 billion cultural and “entertainment destination” in Shanghai with a trio of Chinese partners — China Media Capital (CMC), the Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Alliance Investment.
The Chinese real estate group, Dalian Wanda, which owns AMC, is building a theme park project called Wuxi Wanda City, while Chinese production company Huayi Brothers has been building a resort on the holiday island of Hainan which takes the films of top director FengXiaogang as the theme.