Merlin Entertainments has revealed the opening date of China’s second LEGOLAND park.
Construction on the Shanghai Resort will begin next year, with a view to greeting visitors from 2024. Merlin Entertainments – which is now owned by the LEGO Group’s Kirk Kristiansen family – first announced the £500 million project last November.
The Shanghai Jinshan District Government, CMC Inc. and KIRKBI (the Kirk Kristiansen family’s private holdings company) will form a joint venture to fund the park’s construction. It’s set to be one of the largest in the world, and will incorporate famous scenic spots from across Shanghai, the Jinshan District and Fengjing, as well as a 250-room themed hotel.
“[China] represents a great opportunity for strong global brands and I am delighted to work with our partners to bring one of the world’s largest LEGOLAND Resorts to Shanghai,” said Nick Varney, Merlin’s Chief Executive.
“The Shanghai LEGOLAND Resort will be a must-visit destination for playful learning experiences for the millions of people who live in the vicinity and beyond. The Merlin team looks forward to working with our partners to develop the creative concept design for the resort and making it a reality, marking a significant milestone for Merlin’s presence in the Chinese market.”
Like the LEGO Group, Merlin has been prioritising China for a while. It’s opened five new Midway attractions in the region since 2018, including Shanghai’s Peppa Pig World of Play.
China also continues to be a strong growth market for the LEGO Group. The number of LEGO-branded retail stores on China’s mainland has doubled to 207 over the past year, with plans to grow that total to 300 stores by the end of 2021.
“We are very pleased with the progress we have made in China over the past year,” the LEGO Group’s CEO Niels B. Christiansen said recently. “We have continued to invest in bringing learning through play to many more children around the country and achieved double-digit growth.
“Despite the challenges, we opened more than 80 new stores and launched a theme inspired by Chinese legend in the past 12 months. We remain confident in the long-term potential of the China market.”