That's entertainment: Stars come out as China's richest man announces $8 billion film park

Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:29am EDT
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By Jane Lanhee Lee and Matthew Miller

QINGDAO, China (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.

"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.

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.   Continued...

Wang Jianlin, chairman of Chinese property developer Dalian Wanda Group, answers a question during a Reuters interview in Qingdao, Shandong province, September 22, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee