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KOP breaks ground on integrated Shanghai ski resort
PROPERTY developer KOP has broken ground on an integrated ski resort in Shanghai, which will pave the way for its luxury hotel brand Montigo Resorts to break into China.
Called Wintastar Shanghai, the six billion yuan (S$1.21 billion) ski resort is being jointly developed by Shanghai Lujiazui Development (Group) Company, KOP subsidiary Wintastar Holdings and Shanghai Harbour City Development (Group) Co.
The three parties have set up a joint-venture vehicle, Shanghai Snow Star Properties Co, to develop the project.
Due to open in 2022 - in time for the Beijing Winter Olympics - Wintastar Shanghai expects to attract about 3.2 million visitors annually on a stabilised basis, as it banks largely on the domestic market. The project was announced in 2015, with its Phase 1 at the time slated for completion by the end of next year.
Ong Chih Ching, executive chairman and executive director of KOP, said of its most ambitious project so far: "This is going to be a big revenue-generating project for the company, because we hold the majority in the operating company." KOP has a 30 per cent stake in the joint-venture company, and a 70 per cent stake in the operating company that will run the integrated resort.
Located in Lingang of the Pudong district, the integrated lifestyle development is near attractions such as the Shanghai Disney Resort and Haichang Polar Ocean World.
Asked whether this might mean stiff competition, Ms Ong replied that Wintastar Shanghai is in fact likely to benefit from spillover traffic due to its location.
Spanning a gross floor area of 227,000 sq m, Wintastar Shanghai will have an indoor, 90,000 sq m alpine-themed ski and snow park as its centrepiece. It will be designed and run by Majid Al Futtaim, the Dubai-based company behind the Ski Dubai attraction in the Middle East.
To be open year-round, Wintastar Shanghai will offer ski slopes of three gradients, including an Olympic-standard slope for training, and more than 25 snow-play attractions.
To appeal to a broader audience, the development will feature activities for skiers and non-skiers, such as retail and food-and-beverage outlets, performances, exhibitions and events.
Its 28,000 sq m Viking-themed water park will feature waterslides, a spa, a beach club and hot springs.
Ms Ong, noting the multiple revenue streams from ticket sales to rental to corporate sponsorships, said: "It's a good business model, we believe.
"Resorts like ours provide both sports training and entertainment ... and a good anchor to promote ski culture."
If successful, KOP is keen on replicating similar sports entertainment projects, potentially in other parts of China and in Europe.
Meanwhile, its hotel arm will operate four hotels at the resort under the banner of Montigo Resorts, with more than 1,000 room keys.
These will include a luxe property with ski-in-ski-out access, as well as an ice hotel. In the run up to the launch of the development, Montigo Resorts, which now runs a resort each in Batam and Bali, is expected to earn consultancy fees.
Outside of China, KOP is expanding Montigo Resorts by doubling the size of its property in Seminyak in Bali, adding 60 more rooms by October; it will add another 30 studios to its Nongsa property by year-end.
The additional 90 keys will provide KOP additional income, given that Wintastar Shanghai is opening later than initially envisioned.
At the same time, it is scouring for acquisition opportunities in markets such as Europe, and is looking to potentially undertake hotel management contracts as a hotel operator. "Montigo Resorts will see tremendous growth in the next 12 months," said Ms Ong.
Meanwhile, Wintastar Shanghai has been in talks with both local and foreign partners from the Middle East, Europe, Russia, Singapore, North America and China for design and operation contracts, it said. In addition, it is in talks with Chinese tech giants Tencent and Alibaba to explore partnering in areas such as sales, technology and marketing.
The ground-breaking event in Shanghai was attended by Chen Jie, party secretary of the Shanghai Lingang Administrative Committee, and Sim Ann, Singapore's Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Communications and Information, as well as the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.
Shares in KOP closed at six Singapore cents on Thursday, down half a cent.