NEWS: Universal Studios South Korea delayed again (2020)

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NEWS: Universal Studios South Korea delayed again (2020)

Postby jedimaster1227 » Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:52 pm

After much quiet, Universal has finally released some news regarding their South Korea project. ... 8270.story

The parent company of Universal Orlando announced Monday that it had completed an agreement with partners in South Korea to build a new Universal Studios theme park. Universal Parks & Resorts said it expects to break ground on the 1,100-acre Universal Studios Korea resort early next year. It is expected to open in early 2014.

The $3 billion development, in South Korea's Gyeonggi province, will include a Universal Studios theme park, a CityWalk shopping-and-dining district, a water park, golf course, multiple hotels, condominiums and more. "Universal Studios Korea shows our continuous commitment to growing our business in Asia," Tom Williams, chairman and chief executive of Universal Parks & Resorts, said in a prepared statement.

First announced in November 2007, Universal Studios Korea has taken longer than expected to get off the ground. Backers initially planned to open the resort in 2012, but progress was slowed by the collapse in late 2008 of credit markets worldwide.

To help kickstart the project, Universal recruited Lotte Group, a Japanese conglomerate that began as a chewing-gum company but has branched into fields ranging from tourism to finance to heavy chemicals. Lotte already operates an indoor theme park called LotteWorld in Seoul, South Korea. Lotte will take a 26.7 percent stake in Universal Studios Korea, making it the project's largest shareholder. More than a dozen other businesses and governments are also partners.

Universal also said Monday it now has agreements with the South Korean government to extend highway and rail networks to serve its theme park. South Korean government officials say they expect construction to create more than 40,000 jobs.

Universal Parks & Resorts, a unit of General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal, has made overseas expansion a priority in recent years. Universal is scheduled to open a new theme park in Singapore in a matter of weeks. It would be the fourth resort in Universal's portfolio, joining properties in Orlando, California and Japan.

Universal has also said it still plans to open a park in Dubai by 2012, though many other projects in the region, which has been hit particularly hard by the global credit crunch, face substantial delays.

"Korea is a great business opportunity for Universal Parks & Resorts," Williams said. "We are excited to be working with an esteemed group of Korean corporations under the leadership of Lotte, and we are thankful for the strong support of the Korean government."

It is definitely good to hear that Korea's Studios is still an active project, considering the silence surrounding the project. After seeing the incredible amount of quality and detail put into the Singapore resort, I'm definitely excited to see Korea's resort built from the ground up. It is very interesting to see the leaders of Lotte get involved; something which I think will only benefit the resort, especially in its first few years of operation.
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Postby jarmor » Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:01 am

Maybe universal can convience lotte world to move the aquatrax to the new park! They can even keep the same theme and place it in a waterworld section lol!
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Postby DBJ » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:22 am

From what I've seen of Lotte from this site, looks like Universal has found a very good partner in developer a great park for Korea.

I would hope that they develop the attractions around slightly more modern films and pop culture franchises. "Avatar" is popular in the region, and that movie in particular lends itself to the BTTF/Simpsons ride style. And they do have a relationship with Cameron on T2:3D.

At least with attractions based on Jurrasic Park, there are more films planned over the next decade so that is current. If they really wanted a post-apocalyptic era stunt show, there is a new Mad Max movie coming up as well. Just don't get Uni's fascination with Waterworld, other than that they own the ip rights.

It definately will be interesting to see which way they go. Would they install similar rides to what they have at their current parks? Or will they go more towards IOA and Singapore?

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Postby Jew » Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:06 am

Just don't get Uni's fascination with Waterworld, other than that they own the ip rights.

It might have been an awful movie, but it makes for a unique stunt show. It is also one of the most popular attractions at both USH and USJ.

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Postby themeparkman25 » Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:22 am

^^The Waterworld show at USH is fantastic, entertaining and thrilling. Definitely a really great show, and that is why they keep it around.

Anyways, there is another post about Universal S Korea posted over on Univeral Singapore.

Universal Studios to Open in Korea in 2014
US film giant Universal Studios Tuesday signed a deal with South Korean partners to build its largest theme park in Asia at a cost of around three trillion won (2.67 billion dollars).

Universal Parks and Resorts and 14 South Korean partners, including Lotte Group and a subsidiary of steel giant POSCO, signed the framework agreement to develop the park at Hwaseong, by 2014.

The initial deal was announced in late 2007 but faced problems raising capital until retail and hotels group Lotte was persuaded to join the project.

Universal Studios also operates theme parks in Hollywood, Orlando in Florida and Japan, and a park on Singapore's Sentosa Island is nearing completion.

When completed, the South Korean resort, 40 kilometrs (25 miles) southwest of Seoul, will be larger in area than all four combined and will create more than 40,000 jobs, according to Kim Moon-Soo, governor of Gyeonggi province.

It aims to attract up to 15 million visitors every year, said Chung Chai-Kwan, president of US Resorts Asset Management Co, an agent for the project.

Lotte Asset Development will have a 26.7 percent stake, while POSCO's construction subsidiary POSCO E and C is the second largest shareholder with 24.4 percent.

Work is due to start early next year on the venue, which will include a water park, theme hotel, apartments, a golf course and other facilities.

Culture minister Yu In-Chon called it "a major opportunity to develop the national tourism industry".

Universal Parks and Resorts chairman and CEO Thomas Williams said he was very optimistic the resort would attract "a substantial segment" of the South Korean population as well as a growing number of Asian international tourists.

He said director Steven Spielberg, a creative consultant to Universal Parks and Resorts, is expected to take part in the Korea project.

"He already has a number of ideas that I think will contribute to making it quite unique and, in the spirit of differentiation, something that caters to an international crowd," Williams said. ... ea-in.html
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Postby gisco » Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:51 pm

Glad to see this going forward. Lots of cool things going into Asia the next few years. It's going to make a return trip to Asia a must!

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Postby Nosferatu » Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:49 pm

With this and the other park planned it seems like Korea is really getting its share of parks. Can't wait to here more about this one.

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Postby robbalvey » Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:52 pm

Jew wrote:
Just don't get Uni's fascination with Waterworld, other than that they own the ip rights.

It might have been an awful movie, but it makes for a unique stunt show. It is also one of the most popular attractions at both USH and USJ.

Exactly. Does anyone really even know the movie of Song of the South before they ride Splash Mountain?


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Postby UberBeavis » Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:08 pm

^Sure thing, Robb. I won't rest until there's an Uncle Remus AA in every Splash Mountain :)

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Postby jedimaster1227 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:31 am ... 59398.html

After a small town in Gyeonggi Province announced Tuesday it would be the site of the world's largest Universal Studios, one question remains ― how viable can the new park be in Asia's increasingly competitive theme park market?

U.S. film giant Universal Studios signed an agreement Tuesday with a Korean consortium to develop Asia's largest theme park in the provincial city of Hwaseong, about 60 kilometers southwest of Seoul.

Plans for the park were first announced in 2007, but difficulties in raising funds have delayed the proceedings of the project, according to regional authorities.

The $2.7 billion deal would give Korea its first global-brand theme park, which is expected to serve as a major addition to the country's underdeveloped leisure infrastructure. The movie-themed resort will feature the Universal CityWalk, an 18-hole golf course, themed hotels, a water park, premium retail outlet stores and condos.

Gyeonggi Province is expecting 10 million visitors annually from Korea, China and Southeast Asia.

Prospects for the new park, however, remain uncertain. First, there is the stiff domestic competition with existing amusement complexes like Everland, operated by Samsung Group, and Lotte World, which have continued to rank in the top tier of global amusement park attendance surveys.

A single admission fee to Universal Studios Japan costs around 5,800 yen (72,000 won). If similar prices are applied to its counterpart in Korea, a family of four would have to pay almost 300,000 won for a daily trip.

"Considering that a domestic theme park charges around 30,000 won to 40,000 won per person, that is quite expensive, given the income level of Koreans," said Park Gyeong-ryeol, a researcher at the tourism industry division of the Korea Culture & Tourism Institute.

Korea's homegrown theme parks have generated $1.2 billion in annual ticket sales. More than 8.2 million people, or one out of every six Koreans, visited Everland in 2006, making it the third busiest in Asia, after Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan.

A theme park's viability can be sustained only if it hosts around 7 to 8 million tourists annually, according to industry watchers.

"People may find the new park interesting for the first few years and go once or twice. It could be difficult, however, to attract tourists on a more consistent basis," Park added.

Also, there is the problem of outside competition from Asian neighbors. Asia has emerged as a focus of theme park development, with countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and China rushing to build large-scale theme parks.

Asia's theme park industry, which accounts for nearly half of the global $23.5 billion market, has largely been controlled by local companies, as in the case of Korea.

However, global brands like Disneyland and Universal Studios are expanding their presence in Asia.

In a landmark move, the Chinese government approved the construction of a $3.5-billion project to build the country's first Disneyland, one of the largest-ever foreign investments there. Universal Studios Singapore at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) is set to open next week.

Theme park developments are also under way in Beijing, Gangzhou and Shenzhen.

Gyeonggi is expecting many Chinese and Japanese tourists, who constitute a large portion of visitors to the country.

"We're going to make this resort a signature facility of the West Coast economic tourism belt by successfully attracting tourists from China and other nations," Gyeonggi Governor Kim Moon-soo said.

But will Universal Studios Korea serve as a must-visit destination for Japanese and Chinese tourists, when they have similar facilities in their own backyard?

"The reasons for going to a theme park in one's own country and visiting one in a foreign country are not necessarily the same. People still find reason to visit Universal Studios in Orlando, even though they are in their own country," Park said.

"Chinese tourists still have the tendency to travel in groups when they visit Korea. As long as this pattern of travel continues, I would say that prospects for the Universal Studios in Korea are good in terms of attracting Chinese tourists."

Gyeonggi Province and many other local governments, with strong backing from the central government, have been rushing to build theme parks, leading to concerns that the domestic theme park market may become saturated.

Korea has also attracted interest from Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, with both announcing plans this year to build resort parks in Incheon.

Around eight large-scale theme parks are expected to be established in the Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province by 2012. When including the ones in Daegu, Gwangju and other provincial areas, the figure could increase to 14.
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