Merlin Entertainments (“Merlin” or “the Company”), a global leader in location based entertainment with brands including LEGOLAND®, Madame Tussauds and the Dungeons, today announces that it has entered into an agreement with the Shanghai Jinshan District Government, CMC Inc. and KIRKBI to develop a LEGOLAND® Resort in the Jinshan District of Shanghai, China.
Under the terms of the agreement, all parties will form a joint venture company and contribute funding to the construction and development of LEGOLAND® Shanghai. The total project investment is expected to be approximately £500 million. The schedule for the project is still to be determined, but the project is not expected to open until after 2023.
LEGOLAND® Shanghai will be one of the largest LEGOLAND® Resorts in the world and will incorporate a 250-room fully themed hotel on opening. It will be located in the Jinshan District in south west Shanghai with a two-hour catchment of 55 million people. The region comprising Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui has an estimated population of 220 million.
The announcement was made at an event attended by the Executive Vice Mayor of Shanghai Mr. Chen Yin as part of the China International Import Expo (5-10 November). China is a focus of significant development and investment by Merlin. Since the start of 2018, the Company has opened five new Midway attractions, including the world’s first Peppa Pig World of Play (Shanghai) and Little BIG City (Beijing).
Speaking at the event in Shanghai, Nick Varney, Chief Executive of Merlin Entertainments, said: “I’m delighted that we are able to realise the development of a LEGOLAND® Resort in Shanghai; one of the most vibrant cities in the world. A gateway city with modern consumers, Shanghai is already the home for many Merlin brands, and it has been our ambition for some time to build a full-scale theme park that offers the people of Shanghai and visitors to the area the opportunity to immerse themselves in a unique LEGOLAND® experience.
“I’m honoured therefore to join our partners at this prestigious event and be able to announce this project which is a reflection of the scale opportunity in China and our commitment to developing our business here.”
China is a strategic growth market for the LEGO® Group. During the past few years the company has significantly expanded its retail operations and by the end of 2020 is on track to have 220 stores in more than 50 cities. The company began distributing products in mainland China more than 30 years ago. It opened a regional office in Shanghai in 2014, followed by a flagship store in the city in 2016. It also opened a state-of-the-art production facility in Jiaxing City, Zhejiang Province in 2016 to supply products to China and the Asia Pacific region. The brand now has three flagship stores in Beijing and Shanghai.
Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, Executive Chairman, LEGO Brand Group, an entity within KIRKBI, commented: “The LEGO® brand has increased its presence, revenue and contribution in China during the past decade to create a positive impact on the development of the Chinese society with learning through play experiences. We are excited about the opportunity to bring LEGOLAND® to Shanghai Jinshan. It will give Chinese families even more opportunities to experience the benefits of LEGO® play and have fun together. We have been pleased with the positive response the LEGO® brand has received in China. KIRKBI, the LEGO® Group and LEGO® Education look forward to continuing to invest to bring even more exciting experiences to families in Shanghai and the Yangtze River Delta.”
Mr. Hu Wei Guo, Mayor and Party Secretary of Jinshan District, Shanghai, said: “The establishment of a LEGOLAND® Park in Jinshan not only supports the economic bridge between Shanghai and Zhejiang province, and better contributes to the high-quality integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region; it also promotes Shanghai as a theme park destination with Disney Resort in the East and LEGOLAND® Resort in the west, supporting the local tourism economy. For Jinshan, it is an important opportunity to further the momentum in our regional development, enhance the area’s attractiveness and competitiveness and facilitate the growth in consumption. It also promotes the "simultaneous development of advanced manufacturing and modern service” and accelerates the pace of economic improvement in Jinshan."
Mr. Li Rui Gang, Chairman and CEO of CMC Inc., said: “CMC Inc. has been a dedicated creator of premium entertainment content across on- and offline media. Kids and family, and themed entertainment are major parts of CMC’s content strategy. With an accelerated evolution in consumer taste among younger generations, we’ve committed ourselves to become a key player and trailblazer within this sector. We are pleased to work together with Jinshan District, Merlin, and KIRKBI to make LEGOLAND® Shanghai Resort an exhilarating destination.”
Merlin currently operates 13 Midway attractions in China including LEGOLAND® Discovery Centers, Madame Tussauds, SEA LIFE Centers, Dungeons, Peppa Pig World of Play and Little BIG City.
Dependent on opening schedules, LEGOLAND® Shanghai will be opened after LEGOLAND® New York (scheduled to open 2020) and LEGOLAND® Korea (scheduled to open 2022).