I'm going to go off on a tangent for this one and generalize how Jinma could be on track to gain a foothold in the Western Market. Some context is necessary.
The thing is that Jinma has set themselves up perfectly to do just this. In the past two years alone they established their spinoff Noble Rides firm in Switzerland - developing a whole new lineup of product concepts to offer from it - and has become directly involved with Wisdom Rides in the US. The latter is a fairly shady story on its own; Wisdom is a portable ride manufacturer well past their prime that has been gradually losing ground to other (better) fairground ride manufacturers, but who now market/broker Jinma's new line of products whilst advertising them as their own. I recall an interview they gave ahead of IAAPA last year
, where the manufacturer known for a limited catalogue of cheap carnival flats was now advertising 200 ft tall observation wheels and full size LSM launch coasters with a booth four times their usual size. That transcript didn't mention Jinma or Noble even once. How does a company like that suddenly make this jump in offerings? When they're put in the pockets of a Chinese company hungry for a backdoor into the United States market.
Lately it's become apparent that they've made their first breakthrough in the form of Missouri's Oasis at Lakeport
development, which is set to break ground this year and maybe open as early as 2024. It's an absolutely perfect first sale for them; the inexperienced developers were looking to cut costs, have hardware developed painlessly, and purchase a full park package that can be used as a company sales referral, which will include a full scale LSM coaster and observation wheel. From what I understand, both Wisdom and Noble Rides are the firms conducting business here, but ultimately everything is being designed and manufactured out of Guangdong.
Locally, the US domestic steel coaster manufacturers are at risk of declining given a combination of limited product offerings
, several unmitigated disasters
, and high costs for advertised "cheaper" products that have turned parks away
. That's not to say that the American manufacturers aren't doing well - that would be an oversimplified statement - but they're open to serious competition if this new Jinma Park in Missouri and its attractions prove successful. I personally don't think that Europe is as
susceptible to Noble Rides suddenly becoming a huge player since they have a higher amount of established manufacturers, who know the danger that a hungry Chinese firm possesses and likely have a fair amount of influence over the parks there, but the US is a different climate. If the Jinma/Noble/Wisdom holy trinity start presenting the American parks with cheaper alternatives to S&S, Premier, Mack, B&M, and Intamin while proving that their quality is passable, then you're going to start seeing buyers consider them. It's highly unlikely that they'll overtake the Italian manufacturers in shipping huge amounts of catalogue to the States, but that bridge can be crossed when we get there.
Focusing on Merlin in particularly (apologies for the above rant), my two cents is that they won'y buy from Jinma/Noble. Not without major and drastic change in the industry - which would mean most of their preferred manufacturers becoming unavailable and the Italian companies getting outgunned - or their leadership revising how they decide who to contract for rides. Jinma has alot of untapped potential, but they don't offer anything that other firms already have and have better of.