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

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.