Haichang builds marine parks in Chinese shopping centres

Mainland's largest operator of theme parks sees strong potential in expanding revenue streams

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 March, 2015, 6:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 March, 2015, 6:00am

Haichang Holdings, a China-based theme park developer and operator, is planning to expand new revenue streams from its ancillary businesses - the sale of operational experience and technological know-how to developers building small marine parks in retail centres in Chinese cities.

Chief executive Wang Xuguang said other initiatives included developing marine-related animation/cartoon products as well as marine education products for children.

Haichang, which listed in Hong Kong in March last year, is the largest developer and operator of theme parks and ancillary commercial properties in China, with a total of 11.5 million visitors last year. It operates eight theme parks with a focus on marine and polar animals, in cities such as Dalian, Qingdao, Wuhan, Tianjin, Yantai and Chengdu.

It is developing a park in Shanghai - Shanghai Haichang Polar Ocean World - which will be the largest in China when completed in 2017, and a diversified theme park in Sanya, Hainan, for a total of four billion yuan.

Most theme parks have ancillary property potential, whereby a portion of the land area can be allocated for retail and other commercial projects that can be sold to third parties or held to generate rental income, according to JP Morgan.

In January, Haichang said its eight parks saw 10.6 per cent year-on-year attendance growth last year.

While focusing on how to improve revenues from the existing marine parks, Wang said the company was looking into other initiatives in its next five-year plan. Co-operating with developers to build small marine parks was a high-profit-margin business and the market potential was strong.

"We have signed one agreement with a developer in Guangzhou," Wang said, adding that the company was in talks with four more parties.

Commenting on market concerns about China's economic slowdown, Wang said everyone "has to learn how to adjust to slower growth". But with an average ticket price of 115 yuan, the company's theme parks targeted the general public and would not be significantly affected.

In C-Suite, Wang tells how the opening of Disneyland in Shanghai will benefit Haichang's Shanghai theme park