Merlin is entering a partnership agreement with Global Zhongjun, a company combining Zhongjun Beijing and The Chengdu Global Century – Exhibition & Travel Group, to open LEGOLAND Sichuan in Western China by 2023. Global Zhongjun will finance the construction of LEGOLAND Sichuan, along with the supporting infrastructure and commercial developments that will sit alongside it, while Merlin will partner in the resort development and run the theme park under a management contract. Two fully themed LEGOLAND Hotels will open with the park.
It will be located in the Tianfu New Area in the city of Meishan, approximately 60km south of Chengdu city centre. According to the press release, the location will put LEGOLAND Sichuan will be within a two-hour catchment of 30 million residents.
“There’s no doubt that China represents a great opportunity for strong global brands. Having been active in China for over a decade, Merlin has gained critical insights into Chinese consumers and built a broad portfolio of Midway attractions within key cities,” says Nick Varney, CEO of Merlin Entertainments. “Leveraging this position, we’re delighted to be able to announce the development of a LEGOLAND Park in Sichuan Province together with a strong partner in Global Zhongjun. It is an exciting prospect and a significant milestone in the expansion of the LEGOLAND estate in China.”
“Sichuan Province has a strong tradition of welcoming people from all over, which aligns closely to our values as a business. Within it, Chengdu, Meishan and the Tianfu New Area is developing at a rapid pace driven by investment, enterprise and, increasingly, its popularity as a tourist destination,” adds John Jakobsen, Chief Development Officer of Merlin Entertainments. “Our partner is a leading developer of tourism in the region with a great track record in delivering scale projects, and we look forward to working with them and the local community to bring the LEGOLAND Resort experience to guests in Western China.”
“LEGOLAND Sichuan Resort will be a significant tourist development in Tianfu New Area and the largest LEGOLAND in the world, subject to planning approvals. With its unique design, we aspire for it to be the role model for future new LEGOLAND parks,” says spokesperson for Global Zhongjun.
The LEGO Group has been expanding quickly in China over the past few years and since the announcement that Kjeld Kristiansen family would buy Merlin Entertainments it seems that the pace of theme park openings will also continue unabated.