News / Asia

Stars Come Out As China Mogul Announces $8 Billion Film Park

American actor John Travolta (L) shakes hands with fans as he arrives for the launch ceremony of the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis on the outskirts of Qingdao, China, September 22, 2013.American actor John Travolta (L) shakes hands with fans as he arrives for the launch ceremony of the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis on the outskirts of Qingdao, China, September 22, 2013.
x
American actor John Travolta (L) shakes hands with fans as he arrives for the launch ceremony of the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis on the outskirts of Qingdao, China, September 22, 2013.
American actor John Travolta (L) shakes hands with fans as he arrives for the launch ceremony of the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis on the outskirts of Qingdao, China, September 22, 2013.
Reuters
China's richest man, property developer Wang Jianlin, raised the curtain on a planned 50 billion yuan ($8.17 billion) “motion-picture city” which he described as the biggest-ever single investment in the movie and television industry.
 
Property developer Wang Jianlin, 58, founder of Dalian Wanda Group, was surrounded by Hollywood stars John Travolta, Nicole Kidman and Catherine Zeta-Jones on Sunday as he launched his most ambitious project yet in the picturesque coastal city of Qingdao.
 
When completed in 2017, the Oriental Movie Metropolis will boast 20 sound stages, including the world's first underwater studio, a massive convention and exhibition complex, a sprawling shopping mall with an indoor amusement park and seven resort hotels.
 
The project also will include a yacht club with 300 berths.
 
"Major step" for China

“The Oriental Movie Metropolis is a major step in China's strategy to become a global cultural powerhouse,” Wang said.
 
It was not only crucial to the development of Wanda's entertainment business, he added, but also an important step for building China's cultural brand.
 
Wang Jianlin, chairman of Chinese property developer Dalian Wanda Group, sits in a meeting room as he arrives for the launch ceremony for the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis on the outskirts of Qingdao September 22, 2013.Wang Jianlin, chairman of Chinese property developer Dalian Wanda Group, sits in a meeting room as he arrives for the launch ceremony for the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis on the outskirts of Qingdao September 22, 2013.
x
Wang Jianlin, chairman of Chinese property developer Dalian Wanda Group, sits in a meeting room as he arrives for the launch ceremony for the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis on the outskirts of Qingdao September 22, 2013.
Wang Jianlin, chairman of Chinese property developer Dalian Wanda Group, sits in a meeting room as he arrives for the launch ceremony for the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis on the outskirts of Qingdao September 22, 2013.
For Wang, who was named by Forbes as China's richest man with personal wealth of $14 billion, the Qingdao project also represents the latest move by Wanda Group to parlay its real estate and shopping mall development into a leisure and entertainment empire.
 
Wanda Group, which is privately held, has invested in 72 Wanda Plazas across China, along with 40 five-star hotels. The company also owns 6,000 movie screens, 62 department stores and 68 karaoke centers.
 
More recently, the company has turned to offshore markets to expand its real estate and leisure investment. Last year, Wanda closed its $2.6 billion buy-out of U.S. cinema chain AMC Entertainment. Wang this year also announced a 1 billion pound ($1.57 billion) British investment that included the purchase of Sunseeker, Britain's largest luxury yacht maker by sales.
 
The Wanda chairman told Reuters earlier this month that he could afford to spend as much as $5 billion every year to buy foreign firms or assets.

Wanda Group’s ambitious plans

In an interview on the sidelines of Sunday's ceremony, Wang said that he expected Wanda Group revenue to increase to $30 billion this year, and to continue to increase by $10 billion every year.
 
Wanda Group says it has total assets of 300 billion yuan ($49.01 billion) and annual revenue for 2012 of 141.7 billion yuan ($23.15 billion).
 
“We will have more than $50 billion in revenue two years from now,” he said. “In 2020, we will have at least $100 billion, even by conservative estimates.”
 
Offshore hotel investment is a major focus of the company's strategy. “In the next eight to ten years, we will build high-end hotels in major cities around the world,” he said.
 
To reach the site of Oriental Movie Metropolis, which is planned as a 376-hectare, eight-phase development, it's necessary to drive about one hour from downtown Qingdao past rows of upscale apartment complexes that appear partially occupied.
 
Wang, who started his own film production company in recent months that has met with mixed success, explained that movies were a “sunrise industry” in China. He expects Wanda to be among the world's leading 20 entertainment companies by 2016.
 
He declined to discuss financing for the new project, although he has not ruled out the use of partners or of debt.

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Kurdish service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs