London, UK — Merlin, a global leader in branded, location based family entertainment, and China Media Capital (‘CMC’), a prestigious name in China’s media and entertainment investment and operation, have announced that they are forming a joint venture to create world-class visitor attractions in China and to build on and expand Merlin’s existing location-based entertainment expertise and brands.
The partnership was announced on October 21, 2015 in the presence of China’s President Xi Jinping and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, at a high-profile creative event at Lancaster House hosted by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) as part of the President’s State Visit. The event featured different industries and was where world-leading companies announced new collaborations in film, TV, entertainment and low-carbon technology in the presence of UK and Chinese dignitaries.
As part of the joint venture, Merlin and CMC plan to develop a LEGOLAND Park in the Shanghai area and target the roll out of various Midway brands throughout China. The new Midway opportunities to be explored by the joint venture will include both the adaption and localisation of existing and proven Merlin brands, such as ‘The Dungeons’ and selected ‘LEGOLAND Discovery Centers’ for the Chinese market as well as the development of new Midway brands and concepts including ‘DreamWorks Tours – Kung Fu Panda Adventures’ and others.
At present Merlin has five attractions in China (Madame Tussauds in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing and Wuhan, and Chang Feng Ocean World aquarium in Shanghai) and has announced plans for three further attractions scheduled to open in the next 18 months – LEGOLAND Discovery Center Shanghai, and a Madame Tussauds and SEA LIFE aquarium in Chongqing.
Nick Varney, Chief Executive of Merlin Entertainments, said: “We are delighted to announce that we are forming a joint venture with CMC and are honoured to be able to make an announcement at such an important event to showcase British creativity and celebrate China and UK collaboration. China is a key growth market for the Group and we see this partnership as providing a significant opportunity to accelerate our plans. We’re also very excited to be working with CMC on the development and roll out of new brands. By working together in partnership we will be able to combine our expertise in operating world-class attractions with CMC’s insight and expertise in the Chinese market.”
CMC is a leading innovator in China’s location based entertainment market and creator of China’s iconic urban entertainment and recreational complex – DreamCenter in Shanghai. CMC also owns many prominent media and entertainment companies and product brands.
Ruigang Li, Chairman of CMC, said: “It’s a great honour to be supported by top leaders of both nations in forging this strategic partnership with Merlin. CMC has a highly diversified portfolio of entertainment content and platform. Through investing and operating across the whole spectrum of the media and entertainment sector, CMC has accumulated unique experience in aligning international know-how with local market needs. Through this partnership with Merlin, a global operator, we will be committed to creating a premium experience as well as establishing a working system in China for the development and operation of location based entertainment attractions that meet international standards.”