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Could China become the new USA from a theme park perspective?

Discussion in 'General Discussions & Opinions' started by Matt N, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. Matt N

    Matt N Member

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    Disclaimer: The below post is extremely long, so I apologise in advance. I could have rambled on about this all day, but I decided to condense it a little so that it was easier to read.
    Hi guys. Sorry if there's already a thread like this or if this thread sounds slightly weird, but when I was browsing through the Wanda City wing coaster topic in Roller Coaster Construction and looking at the photos of the stunning theming, I thought to myself; could China potentially become the new USA in years to come?

    Now, by "the new USA", I mean the worldwide capital of theme parks, so to speak. I am aware that some might disagree that the USA is the theme park capital of the world in terms of quality, but I'd personally say that it is hard to argue that in terms of the sheer quantity of huge theme parks and good quality roller coasters in one country, America is definitely the place to be. Most foreign roller coaster enthusiasts seem to talk about visiting America with a certain excitement that I seem to find with very few other countries, and the first visit to mega parks like Six Flags Magic Mountain and Cedar Point seems to have become somewhat of a rite of passage that the vast majority of coaster enthusiasts would like to complete some time in their lives.

    But before I ramble on for too long about America and its place in theme park enthusiasts' hearts, the question I ask you all today is; could China potentially become that country that every coaster enthusiast wants to visit instead of America? Instead of heading towards the USA, could we be heading in the opposite direction? Could those mega parks with record-breaking coasters that we all dream of visiting be in China instead of in the USA in years to come?

    As for my answer to this question, I personally think they could be. While I admit that looking at the current caliber and size of most Chinese theme parks being built (I'm not doubting that some of what's being built in China quality-wise is right up there with the USA; I more mean that most Chinese parks currently being built only seem to open with 5 or so coasters), it seems slightly surreal that they could one day be on the scale of a country like America, but it is worth remembering that the vast majority of China's major theme parks have been built in the last 10-15 years. I don't know this for certain, but I'd imagine that if you looked at China on RCDB 15 or so years ago, there would have been a very small amount of noteworthy theme parks and roller coasters. However, if you look at China on RCDB these days, there are many reasonably large theme parks; a huge amount of development has occurred within China's theme park industry in the last 10-15 years. To put things into perspective, in the last 15 years:
    • Chains such as Happy Valley & Wanda amongst others have come on to the scene and evolved to almost become akin to the Six Flags & Cedar Fair of China.
    • Disney have built and opened two full-size Magic Kingdom parks in Hong Kong and Shanghai, respectively.
    • Six Flags have announced plans to build multiple theme parks across China.
    • Universal have announced plans to build a theme park in Beijing.
    • In the 2006 TEA attendance report, only 2 of the top 25 most visited parks in the world (Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park) were located in China, coming 18th (with 5,200,000 visitors) and 21st (with 4,380,000 visitors), respectively. By contrast, in 2017's TEA attendance report, there were 4 Chinese theme parks in the top 25 (Shanghai Disneyland, Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park), coming 8th (with 11,000,000 visitors), 11th (with 9,788,000 visitors), 18th (with 6,200,000 visitors) and 20th (with 5,800,000 visitors), respectively. That is a substantial change in the percentage of visitor numbers to the top 25 that China holds; in 2006, China held a mere 5.1% of the combined attendance to the top 25, whereas in 2017, China held 13.4% of the combined attendance to the top 25. While that might not seem like much, China has almost tripled their percentage of the combined visitor numbers to the top 25 in 11 years, and add into that the combined visitor numbers of the top 25 increasing by nearly 60,000,000 over the same period of time.
    • While we're on the subject of attendance numbers, it is worth noting that China is now home to 4 of the top 20 most visited water parks in the world, including the most visited water park in the world.
    • The 2017 TEA attendance report also says that it has been forecast for a number of years that China will top the USA as the world's largest theme park market (in terms of attendance) by 2020. The Asia-Pacific region was only 17,156,000 behind North America in 2017 in terms of the combined attendance to each area's top 20 theme parks, to put things into perspective.
    So, before this gets too long-winded, I could personally see China becoming the new theme park capital of the world in years to come. People are already having to split China into regions when planning a multi-park trip as they would when visiting the USA, and the ever-increasing attendance figures certainly seem to imply large expansion is to come in China.

    But what do you guys think? Do you think that the American Dream will become the Oriental Dream in years to come? (from a theme park perspective, of course!)

    Thank you very much for reading my analysis of the Chinese theme park scene and whether it could potentially top the USA, and I apologise for the length of this post (I know you're all going to make fun of me, but I genuinely feel as though it's warranted here!).
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
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  2. Howie

    Howie Member

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    Hi Matt.
    Sorry if there's already been a reply like this but... ;)
    A quick scan of RCDB suggests that China already is the theme park capital of the world, and by quite a significant margin. Of the 4894 operating coasters in the world, a quite mind-boggling 1223 of them are in China. That's like... a quarter of all the world's roller coasters. In one country!
    Yeah I know, China is a big-ass country, with a sh*tload of people living there to visit these parks but even so, that's a staggering statistic, even more so when you consider that the vast majority of them only popped up in the last decade or so.
    On a more personal note, I can't see it ever becoming my destination of choice over good ol' Murica. China's too far innit? And they all talk funny.
     
  3. HeartlineCoaster

    HeartlineCoaster Member

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    Depends what you think is putting normal people off going now really. Will continued park growth alone change those attitudes? Or does something else need to change along with it. Probably.
    On a more personal note, I hope not. What's that word? Excluse.

    First thing that came into my head for this topic was 'no, cos they no speaka da english'...
     
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  4. Bert2theSpark

    Bert2theSpark New Member

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    I think that within the next 20 years or so something similar will happen in India, Western folk are mostly oblivious to development in Eastern countries. Look at Hollywood, Similar stories going on there, US companies are still dominating Hollywood even though there are Chinese studios.

    As countries more developing countries build theme parks then there will be major expansion and HIC's won't take much notice.
     
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  5. roomraider

    roomraider Best Topic Starter

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    A few points that are perhaps salient here.

    The Chinese market is staggeringly large. China currently has more than double the number of coasters in the USA (and less than double the big ones) but the Chinese population is more than 4 times the size. This has to be tempered by the fact that only 52% of the Chinese pop live in cities but that is rapidly rising.

    China may have way more coasters but a quick back of a napkin calculation from the spreadsheet i used for last years statistics thing suggests if we look at rides above 100ft (Im using this as an arbitrary point to be honest but lets say anything over 100ft is likely to be fairly thrilling) then the USA has somewhere around 190 of these while China has around 100. China may have a ton of rides but most of them at the moment are Jungle Mice and Worms of various kinds. China will surpass the USA here in just a few years I am sure but It is certainly not there yet.

    The Chinese park market is really very young and doesnt have the history we are lucky to have in Europe and America. One of the first of this new generation of park we have seen was Happy Valley Shenzhen and that only properly became that in 2002. I think one thing we would need to see in China to really move it forwards is park expansion after the intial opening with new coasters and rides added on a fairly consistent schedule post opening.
    Now Happy Valley, Ocean Park and Chimelong are actually quite good at this, investing in new rides fairly regually. (Fantawild have their own odd model where instead of a new coaster they just seem to build a whole new park in the same city) There are a quite a few parks however that seem to open and then never expand, World Joyland is an excellent example here. Now is this due to lack of visitor numbers or lack of investment I cant say.
    Wanda/Sunac is too new to the scene to judge yet i feel.

    @gavin will I am sure be able to go into better analysis of all this. My personal opinion is yes one day China will overtake the USA as the place to go. But the industry is still very young there. They have really only had a couple of decades of proper park building where as the west has arguably had over a century. The leaps and bounds in just the last few years made by Chinese ride makers alone are quite staggering. Look at the dark ride systems at the early Fantawild Adventure parks compared to the new Oriental Heritage parks for example. Or the huge steps made by Golden Horse and MCC in just this last year (ride patent ethics aside).

    Aside 1) The India market as pointed out almost certainly will explode. India however doesnt even really have the old city park history that China does. There is no Indian equivilant of Sameco or Golden Horse who have been making rides for a long time. If and when India does explode. Golden Horse and their cohorts are going to become very very very rich. (more rich?)

    Aside 2) As has been jokingly pointed out they dont speak English in China (although a decent % of Chinese people do actually).
    1.5 Billion people speak English out of 7.5 Billion people world wide. Of those 360million speak it as a first language. 4.5 billion people live in Asia. Yet the USA still is generally considered the theme park capital of the world despite (im assuming) being pretty low down the list on the providing signage/people being able to speak in forign langages. Would language really have much to do with all this? The difference there is perhaps they are possibly happier to travel to a country that doesnt speak their language than many in the US and Europe are (Im not saying all, Heaven knows a lot of us on CF have been around the world)
     
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  6. cookie

    cookie New Member

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    It's becoming more and more prevalent that Chinese companies are involved in financing Hollywood productions though, in part because it makes it easier for Hollywood movies to enter the Chinese market.
     
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  7. Howie

    Howie Member

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    One thing I'm quite interested to know: all these new parks that have cropped up in China over the last few years... Are they actually successful? Are they making money? I mean... if you read stories and trip reports from China, you'll see lots of instances of empty, ghost-town theme parks with ride operators being genuinely taken aback when someone has the audacity to ask if the cred's open. Is that actually what it's like across China, or am I just cherry picking the juicy bits from @gavin and @HeartlineCoaster 's epic travelogues?
    I guess the question I'm asking is this; is the growth in the Chinese theme park industry actually sustainable? We're hearing stories in the news of a slowdown in the global economy, including China, so does this mean that sooner or later the bubble will burst? Are the Chinese flogging a dead (Golden) horse? Will the next decade or so see a lot of these parks closing due to financial troubles? I've no idea myself, I'm just wondering what some of you folks who've been there (or live there) actually think.
     
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  8. HeartlineCoaster

    HeartlineCoaster Member

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    ^ I think the major parks are drawing the numbers generally, as seen in the TEA reports. The parks can be very busy, but only in quick bursts of 'peak' days. What's the demographic you'd usually expect to see in a place on a quiet day? I'm not sure it's there in their minds yet to take a day off work to go to a theme park and you don't see the steady flow of guests that are actively avoiding the busy days. I do a lot of 'off-peak' stuff and have spent very few weekends in parks there. All you really see is the odd young couple, college students and the like with a bit of free time on their hands. With no families, no tourists, no locals playing it smart, there's nothing to make up the numbers.
    Opposite to what's being discussed in the Merlin thread, most of the country (Beijing southwards) has parks open year round which suits us lot well, but seems over-generous from their money making perspective because the places are empty for a good chunk of it. They haven't yet picked up the attitude to only open when it makes them money. Maybe seasonal staffing isn't as easily manageable, maybe they don't like the idea of turning down any business - they'd rather let you in with almost nothing to do than turn you away.
    I assume their general running costs are a lot lower and they close a lot of stuff supposedly to help with this, but are they making money? Not sure. As @roomraider mentioned we need to see more of the parks actually grow rather than just appear and do nothing for 5-10 years like they currently are.
     
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  9. JoshC.

    JoshC. Member

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    I think the next 5 or so years will be the most telling for the Chinese market.

    Disneyland Shanghai is now an established thing, Universal Beijing is in the works. Merlin have started going over there with the Shanghai Dungeon and their random Peppa Pig thing, so I wouldn't be surprised if we see a Legoland there one day. So the fact the 'big' boys are coming, and are ones who would invest heavily and continuously, shows that the market has something going for it.

    But the next 5 years will show whether the newer Chinese-owned parks will be 'build big then never invest again', or if they plan on continuous investment to keep improving. The Wanda parks will be a big one to watch I reckon, especially since they're now under Sunac.

    I think another limiting factor for China is the western perception of the country. Foreign language, different / strange culture, unsafe rides are a few of the things which people believe are the norm in China. So it requires more knowledge / education / understanding of how modern China is. Sure, it's a different country with different things, but it's closer to the ways of the likes of the US than I think people give it credit for.

    It's interesting, because I feel like the same conversation was probably had 5-10 years ago about Dubai. And of course, we're seeing how that's turning out. China could just be Dubai on a much larger scale.
     
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  10. cookie

    cookie New Member

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    I've been wondering about this. Where do they get the financing for 30+ parks, several within the same city? Are they even sustainable?
     
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  11. gavin

    gavin Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Social Media Team

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    Not really honestly. I might have been to a lot of the parks there, but you're way more on the ball with what's going on in terms of keeping track of stuff.

    I'm using Tapatalk right now, so can't quote loads of posts, but I'll address a few bits and pieces I've read.

    Yes, the park scene is young, and yes most of that huge number of coasters consists of Jungle Mouse/Powered Dragon/Spinning Mouse/Worm combos scattered across hundreds of "Children's Playgrounds" across city parks all over the country. Those places are not amusement parks, and nobody is going out of their way to visit. They're a nice little cred bonus for us whores though.

    Yes, you will see reports from empty parks, but you have to think about when enthusiasts choose to visit. We'll always choose weekdays outside of holiday periods, which will usually be dead. This, however, is a false economy since you're more likely to find closed rides. Most of my trips now happen over weekends, which is actually a better time to ensure everything being open.

    Having said that, I have been to very quiet parks on weekends, too, but these are usually very new and maybe too far outside of their respective cities. Colourful Yunnan Paradise was a good example recently. It was a Saturday, and it was dead. It's pretty far out of Kunming though, and the resort as a whole isn't finished yet. I don't think people even know about it at the moment.

    This is the problem with the large independent places, like Joyland. They're out in the middle of nowhere without regular, easy transport. You have to remember that most people in China don't drive, so a park that only has a few bus connections and/or an expensive taxi ride is going to struggle.

    The Happy Valley parks do well since they're right in major cities, with excellent transport options and a large brand awareness.

    Chimelong only have two parks/resorts at the moment, but they are very, very heavily advertised and are very much sold as weekend packages. There are billboards all over the Hong Kong metro system, for example, advertising both places. Ocean Kingdom especially has done amazingly, but it's because the whole thing was organised impeccably from the outset.

    Wanda/Sunac is a weird one. From what I've seen personally, their parks are doing very well, but it's partly because they open them along with huge shopping malls, again making the area a "destination", usually, again, with excellent transport links. The "problem" with Wanda, and the reason that they were more or less forced to sell their parks to Sunac, was that the parks themselves were actually just a front to build shopping malls and apartments. Planning permission was being granted way more easily for entertainment complexes than housing, so by building a park and selling the planning as an entertainment/tourism venture, they were then able to get away with "including" shopping malls and luxury apartments, when that was their plan all along.

    Fantawild was already a big company before they moved into theme parks. They were/are mainly an animation studio, with a range of popular shows/characters, which goes a long way to explaining why their screen work has always been excellent while their hardware has taken time to develop. They were smart in that they started throwing parks up in second and third tier cities while OCT (Happy Valley) was focusing on first tier. Their problem, which had been mentioned before, is that they open "full" parks and then add nothing to them. They've been amongst the best with forward planning though. Look at satellite views of any of their parks, and you'll see the space already put aside for second, third, fourth parks. When the first one has run its course, they throw up the second one.

    Will China overtake the USA as a coaster destination? Possibly, but I'm thinking probably not. A few reasons why:

    1. At the moment, people are still "scared" of China. There's a huge language issue (not really true and easy to get around in the age of smartphones). It's crowded and dirty (not to the extent that people think and improving all the time). It's a communist country (you'd never actually know from visiting outside of a few blocked websites). You have to get a travel visa, which isn't difficult, but it puts up an extra barrier/cost. That attitude might improve, and it won't stop coaster enthusiasts from going, but it will stop a lot of people.

    2. Where do you go for parks? There isn't a hub like Orlando (though Henquin Island, Zhuhai might might become the equivalent soon enough). There are parks scattered around most major cities, but China is huge. Enthusiasts will split things into the likes of the Shanghai area, or South China/Hong Kong, but it's definitely not a park destination for most people yet.

    3. Keeping track. It's totally understandable since there are so many new parks opening, but most enthusiasts are massively out of the loop when it comes to what's happening in China. I still get asked constantly about the likes of Joyland as if it's the top choice of Chinese park, and it's not. There's a B&M flyer and the rest is s**te. However, it came along at a time when parks weren't appearing as quickly as they are now, so it stuck in people's minds. It's the same for China Dinosaurs Park (a very good park admittedly) and the Happy Valley parks in Beijing and Shanghai. I never get asked about the Happy Valley parks in Chengdu or Chongqing (both cities with loads of other parks in the area and connected to each other with frequent high-speed trains - hitting those two cities together is a very good option, but few know about it). I also never get asked about Wanda or Fantawild, though they're arguably more interesting than a lot of what else is going on. I get questions like, "have you done Jungle Trailblazer"? or" Have you been to Fantawild?" because people have no idea just how many of those there are.

    India? Honestly, no. Purely opinion, but we've been saying this since Adlabs Imagica was announced and it hasn't happened. Maybe it will I guess, but at the moment it's just a bunch of copy and paste Wonderla parks popping up.

    My thumbs hurt.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
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  12. Pokemaniac

    Pokemaniac Mountain monkey Staff Member Administrator Moderator Social Media Team

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    If I'm going for an uneducated guess, I'd say the US will still remain the international destination for amusement parks in the foreseeable future. Who knows in the very long term, as things have a tendency to shake up over the centuries (If I recall correctly, the wealthiest city in history in terms of its share of global GDP is currently a desert town in Mali), but for the next few decades, I don't see the US's position as a top park tourism destination going anywhere.

    The short story: Cultural impact. Perhaps the single biggest success of the US is how it has spread its culture overseas. We can say that within some small margin of error, everyone knows Mickey Mouse. I'm willing to bet there are only a few million persons worldwide (above the age of infancy, with their eyesight intact) who have never seen the Coca-Cola logo or the double arch of McDonald's. Batman, Superman, the Marvel heroes, any Disney character, or even something more abstract but still distinctly American like the concept of a cowboy for that matter, it's deeply ingrained in popular culture the world over. The American theme park industry has heavy ties to these ultra-popular brands and IPs, and even the very concept of an amusement park is quite deeply seen as a distinctly American thing as well. It is a pretty well established idea worldwide that the biggest parks with the best rides are found in the US, even though it might not hold true if you look up the numbers (nor does it hold true for every US park, but tourists gotta tourist. Going to an amusement park is still considered an integral part of a tourism experience in the US - any park seems to do if Disney is not convenient for the particular trip).

    By contrast, China has ... well, probably a lot of famous brands that make brilliant theme park attractions, but I can't name any. Chinese properties aren't that well known outside of China, so amusement park marketing is fighting an uphill battle already on the concept stage. You can tell any taxi driver that you've been to Orlando, Florida and ridden the Hulk rollercoaster, and he'll understand the entire sentence and its context even if he's never heard about IoA or has any idea what that coaster looks like. But tell him you've been to Hefei, Anhui and been on the Soaring With Dragon coaster, and there'll be nothing but confusion. Where is that place and what did you do there?

    The Chinese parks seem to have very little appeal outside of China. Or rather, parks outside the US seem to have very little appeal outside of their respective countries. The exception? Parks that are part of well-known American chains. Everybody knows the Disney parks, slightly fewer people know Universal Studios, and even Six Flags might still get a few nods of recognition from the general public overseas even though their European parks kinda bombed. But who has ever heard about OCT, Wanda or Fantawild outside park enthusiast circles?

    I think the famous old American proverb of "With great power comes great responsibility" is also true of amusement parks to some degree. Being so ingrained in the culture, people have expectations of the big American parks, they are fiercely competing for those visitor dollars, and so they have to continuously improve. They can't make mistakes like sloppy operations, rude staff, confusing signage or a stagnant attraction lineup. Those parks can't survive on the novelty of being a park alone. They live off their reputation, and if they fall back somebody else will take the market, be it domestic or tourist. Sure, regional parks like Worlds of Fun or Michigan's Adventure can survive some degree of neglect, but it's not those we are comparing here. Not the smaller "only game in town, people will visit regardless" parks, but the ones that actually draw in people from afar and are recognized nationwide. We're talking the likes of Cedar Point or the biggest Six Flags parks, or Disney/Universal.

    So far, so good, but now I'm going out on the thin ice here: From what I've seen of Chinese trip reports, theme park culture doesn't appear to be as established there as in the US. Parks are hardly accommodating foreign tourists at all, and some make decisions that would cause endless mockery in the US industry (I think @Hixee had a piece on the way Dinoconda is being operated, for instance). It seems to me like the Chinese park scene is still in a trial-and-error phase where everything is new and exciting, and where guest expectations aren't much more than "it's a theme park, cool!". In short, the parks aren't held to the same standards as the American ones, and so they fail to meet those same standards. Or at least that's how they are perceived abroad. This would mean Western theme park enthusiasts (are enthusiast groups really widespread anywhere else?) would rather go to American parks than Chinese ones for the foreseeable future. Likewise, India will take years to get where China is today, and who knows how long it will take before that park scene matures.

    There's also the Chinese property bubble to take into consideration; if (or when?) it bursts, it will put a real damper on economic growth in China, and that will probably have fatal effects on some of the parks. But even if that turns out just fine, I doubt you'll be seeing pictures from Chinese parks (apart from Shanghai Disney) in your friends' Instagram feed any time soon.
     
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  13. Hyde

    Hyde I Lied About My Age! Staff Member Moderator Social Media Team

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    This is what I ultimately come back to - what is the most quintessential theme park experience in the world? Disneyland. Or more specifically, 1950s/60s Disneyland, when American prosperity reigned, Kennedy was in office, the first Ford Mustang was being produced, and Sandy Koufax was pitching for the Brooklyn Dodgers. There's an American Idealism that can be quintessentially linked with the theme park experience, as it is so closely linked to popular culture of the movies and stories we celebrate in much of the amusement park industry. If you even take a look at how Disney is renovating in a post Michael Eisner-era is to rollback theming to the golden years of Disney; equally in timeline with Disneyland's early years.

    Taking a look at the TEA 2017 attendance figures, the top 10 most attended parks in the world where split evenly across America and Japan/China. Top 20 gives majority parks to the Asian market with some additional South Korea, Hong Kong, and Japanese parks. BUT, the top 10 most attended parks - all Universal and Disney, which really drives the notion home - we seek out, world-wide, "American" style amusement and theme parks. A true Chinese-cultured park, out of original Chinese design, has yet to really come into it's own; or at least compete with the monoliths of the market.

    That's not to say that China isn't a popular place for parks; the numbers certain showing a quickly growing market. But to be a "leader" in the industry, China would need to shift away from using western culture, to really establish the country as a theme park haven with demand of it's own content.
     
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  14. gavin

    gavin Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Social Media Team

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    See, you're mostly very wrong there and making massive assumptions. The vast, vast majority of Chinese parks aren't using Western content at all. The only one at the moment is Disneyland, and even that is the least "Disney" of all of the parks and relies far less on the usual characters. The most popular rides there, Soaring and the rapids, have Jack s**t Disney content. They even did away completely with Main Street USA.

    Universal will be the big "American" park when it opens, and yes, along with Shanghai Disney will absolutely become one of the top two in terms of attendance.

    Yes, the concept of an amusement park is a very Western thing, but that's as far as it goes. There's a HUGE focus on Chinese content in the bigger parks. The Oriental Heritage brand alone has nothing but dark rides based on Chinese culture. Even Fantawild's "Adventure" and "Dreamland" parks feature a heavy smattering of it.

    Wanda is very Chinese in it's theming, both park-wise and ride-wise, while Chimelong stays very neutral.

    Even the larger, independent parks are very China-centric in their look and content.

    A couple of years ago a group called Songchang suddenly appeared in the TEA reports in the top ten of amusement park operators, with two of their parks appearing in the top 25. They haven't been included since - I'm guessing since TEA has decided not to include them since they don't actually have rides - but they were getting huge numbers. Their content is 100% Chinese culture and history.

    Anyway, yeah, the concept of an Amusement park may be an American one, but to say that the Chinese are in need of their own content is grossly wrong.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
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  15. Matt N

    Matt N Member

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    The point of cultural differences is certainly an interesting one and one that I hadn't thought of when initially writing this post!

    One thing I have noticed when Western enthusiasts talk about China (and Asia as a whole) is that some people view it with a certain outlook of it being "weird" or "strange". Most of those articles you see shared in places like Facebook about "strange theme parks" seem to have some connection to China or Asia, and some enthusiasts even seem to mock elements of Chinese theme parks like China is some sort of other world compared to the Western world. Places like Disney and Universal not so much, but I'd certainly say I've noticed this with some of the more regional Asian theme parks.

    An example of where something similar to this has occurred is when Shawn Sanbrooke from Theme Park Worldwide visited Happy Valley Shanghai in June 2017. Now, I normally really like Shawn's channel and his videos, and I certainly found his vlog an interesting insight into a rarely-covered park, but I will admit that the way he laughed hysterically at certain elements of the park like they were something to be mocked and kept picking up on how strange the park was and how nobody spoke English made me feel uncomfortable. I don't know whether it's only me who felt this way, and everyone is free to react to these parks in their own way, but I personally think that these sorts of attitudes could potentially put Western people off visiting China.
     
  16. Hyde

    Hyde I Lied About My Age! Staff Member Moderator Social Media Team

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    @gavin you are absolutely right for a lot of strong Chinese and Asian park chains that are continuing to grow. What I was ultimately trying to convey is that while the likes of Wanda, Chimelong, and OCT Group are quickly and rapidly developing parks, Disney and Universal are still king in attendance count... for now. Universal and Disney still retain 5/10 of the top 10 most attended parks in Asia, with the top 4 being Universal/Disney. (Here's the full TEA 2017 Report: http://www.teaconnect.org/images/files/TEA_268_653730_180517.pdf)

    Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 3.34.20 PM.jpg

    As of 2017, OCT and Wanda were punching at attendance levels around 3.5 million, roughly equal to the likes of Kings Island, Cedar Point, and Canada's Wonderland. And when we take an overall snapshot of worldwide attendance, Florida and California alone lead China; I would expect this to continue flipping though given the aggressive development of parks and new top-tier roller coasters.

    Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 3.39.03 PM.jpg

    Overall, I would still find it hard to say China is a new power theme park super power, when the core DNA of their most successful parks is still companies based in America. So, let's have a few more western culture-inspired parks topple to domestic, home grown Chinese parks to really solidify the trend.
     
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  17. gavin

    gavin Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Social Media Team

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    What ARE you talking about? The core DNA is still companies based in America? Mainland China has one, literally ONE, American park. There's nothing to "topple".
     
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  18. Ben

    Ben Social Media Team Social Media Team

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    Jesus, OK. Hyde - it has been lovely to read your well informed posts from countless visits to these parks.

    Chinese parks are so rooted in Chinese heritage, to the point it actually becomes a bit much - I don’t want to see another pagoda at a theme park there.

    They have no resemblance to American parks, like Gavin said even their Disney park is the least Disney park, without any of the Americana (there is one Disney in China, not two)

    There was a thriving theme park industry there before Disney and really, it had nothing to do with them.

    China hasn’t overtaken America in terms of overall numbers because it’s got too much caching up to do. In terms of new stuff each year though? China is the place to be.
     
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  19. gavin

    gavin Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Social Media Team

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    Absolutely. Honestly, it all stated with TPR's Japan trips back before anyone else started going. Everything was "crazy"..."insane"... etc. Granted, Japan is very different from the States and those reactions were warranted at the time since very few people had seen those parks.

    However, despite there being plenty of reports out there now, this "crazy Asia" style of reporting has continued, not so much with TPR now, into China as well. People want to make their trip sound interesting, so they make out that it's the most "crazy, insane" thing they've ever seen, and it's bollocks.

    I've watched very few of that Sanbrooke guy's videos, but I watched the one he did at Happy Valley Shanghai, and he made a damned fool of himself. It was all "wow, this place is so weird!" when that park, probably more than any others in the country, is a quintessential "general" theme park. It's pretty much Six Flags. It's a bunch of coasters around a lake with KFC and McDonald's. He goes on that there's no English anywhere while he's standing in front of a f**king sign in English. The way he and that oaf friend of his were behaving in the park, especially their interactions with the locals, was, frankly, f**king disgusting. They saw nothing and did nothing in China, but now they're some kind of authority because they make some awful videos? Get to f**k.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
  20. roomraider

    roomraider Best Topic Starter

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    @Pokemaniac I get the point you made about American having brands like Disney, Universal, Legoland even Six Flags and those being recognised world wide.
    But in my opinion this is going to become increasingly irrelevant to the point of China becoming Theme Park capital of the world.

    My reasoning being that ALL of these brands are building parks in China. Disney has Shanghai, Universal has Beijing, Legoland will have Chengdu and Six Flags have 3 resorts coming in the next few years each with 2 or more parks.

    Add to that other well established brands like Ferrari World, Dreamworks, Sony, National Geographic, Warner Brothers, Lionsgate and for some reason Lionel Messi. It seems the big brand parks (and the odd magazine/footballer) in the USA and Europe are all making plans to have parks in some guise in China. Once those open does the fact that the Western world has these established brands become somewhat negated because China will also have these same parks although undoubtedly a Chinese twist. (I cant imagine Six Flags St Louis building a dark ride themed to Tuzki Rabbit for example)

    This has all happened in the last couple of years really that the western brands have started to make a concerted move on the Chinese market but its coming and its coming soon. And i would bet my bottom dollar after a few years, maybe even a decade+ Universal and Disney will expand again into the Chinese market. The sheer number of people there is just too high to ignore.
     
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