Transformers ride to lure Spring Festival crowds to Shanghai Joypolis as Sega, China Animation ready indoor amusement park

New park is first under Sega’s Joypolis brand to operate under a separate company; more expected in China if it proves a success; venue will be buttressed with virtual reality game centre next door

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 January, 2016, 1:18pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 January, 2016, 1:44pm

Shanghai is due to start welcoming guests to its very own Joypolis indoor amusement park on February 6, two days before China celebrates its Spring Festival, the biggest holiday of the year, and four months shy of the official launch of Shanghai Disneyland in June.

The Sega-branded indoor park is being jointly developed by multimedia animation firm China Animation Group and the Japanese video game company.

WATCH: A sneak preview of what to expect from Shanghai Joypolis

Sega launched its first Joypolis in Yokohama in 1994 followed by similar venues in a string of other Japanese cities but several have since closed due to low attendance rates. It opened one in the Chinese coastal city of Qingdao, in Shandong province, last summer.

READ MORE: China Animation’s Shanghai theme park rides Chinese cultural wave

The opening of the Shanghai park is timed to cash in on the expected holiday crowds as the vacation unofficially runs for about a week. This period often sees a boom in domestic tourism, according to the China National Tourism Administration.

Located at the Shanghai Global Harbour shopping centre, the 8,300-square-metre park will provide 21 attractions to visitors, including a Transformers ride and a racing game dubbed Initial ‘D’ Arcade Stage 7.

A virtual artist named Violet, developed by Shenzhen-based China Animation, will also feature as a major character in some Joypolis attractions.

WATCH: A visitor enjoys the Transformers: Human Alliance ride at Tokyo Joypolis (Source: TokyoJoypolis Twitter account)

“We believe that Shanghai Joypolis can attract a wider swath of the young generation … bringing strong growth and income to the park,” Jason Zhuang, chief executive and executive director of China Animation told reporters on Monday.

Entrance tickets will start from 120 yuan (US$18.25) while a full-day, all-access pass will cost 248 yuan.

Shanghai Joypolis is the first indoor amusement park authorised by Sega to be run by an external company under the Joypolis brand.

“We have worked with many Japanese companies over the years and we are very familiar with the essence of Japanese culture,” Jeffrey Ting, COO of China Animation, told the South China Morning Post.

“This is why Sega has chosen to work with [us] and is allowing us to use the Joypolis name.”

Ting said there were plans for both parties to open another Joypolis amusement park in China, adding that more details will be provided later.

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China Animation is also riding on the latest tech craze to sweep the country by opening a virtual reality game centre next to the park. This will offer 17 games including an adaptation of CJ7, the popular science-fiction comedy released by Hong Kong actor-director Stephen Chow in 2008 about an alien robot.

“[China Animation] plans to collaborate with Sega to launch more self-developed amenities and animated elements, as well as incorporating cosplay and virtual reality technology to provide the most advanced and modern … game experiences to players,” said Zhuang.

The group went public on the Hong Kong stock exchange last February, shortly after it announced plans to launch Joypolis in Shanghai.