Universal plans US$3b Beijing theme park: city

[Beijing] US entertainment firm Universal Parks & Resorts will invest more than US$3.0 billion with a Chinese partner to open a movie theme park in Beijing in 2019, the city government and state media said Monday.

The park, which will feature characters and scenes from Hollywood blockbusters such as Harry Potter and the Transformers franchises, will be located in the city's eastern district of Tongzhou, the city government's news office said on its verified account on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

The project has been approved by the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, and is expected to open to tourists in 2019, it said, without providing further details.

Universal Parks & Resorts and partner Beijing Shouhuan Cultural Tourism Investment Co will spend more than 20 billion yuan (US$3.26 billion) to build the park, which will cover an area of 120 hectares (296 acres), The Mirror newspaper reported.

The development will include a Universal-themed hotel as well as retail outlets and restaurants, it said.

The Beijing project will become Universal's fifth theme park after Los Angeles, Orlando, Osaka and Singapore.

It is expected to rival a Disney park in Shanghai, which has been under construction since 2011 and is scheduled to open next year. AFP

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