HONG KONG (Reuters) – Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group Co Ltd said it will spend 103 billion yuan ($14.99 billion) on a tourism-focused development and 19 shopping malls in the northwestern province of Shaanxi, home to the terracotta warriors.
The strategic cooperation agreement, signed with the Shaanxi government on Wednesday, follows the announcement by Wanda on Friday of a similar $14.7 billion project in the southern province of Hunan.
The Shaanxi investment included a 50 billion yuan Wanda City – usually comprised of theme parks, shopping malls, hotels and residential projects – in the provincial capital Xian, Wanda said.
“(The construction) will bring modern tourism experiences to the ancient city, promoting the upgrading of the city’s tourism industry,” the company owned by China’s richest man, Wang Jianlin, said in a statement.
The 19 shopping malls would promote commercial development in rural areas, the company said. The project would also bring international sporting events like the Ironman competition, which Wanda acquired for $650 million last August, to Xian.
Wanda has earmarked over $60 billion for theme parks in China, betting rising incomes will drive domestic tourism. In an interview with Reuters in August, Wang said the group would look to build at least 20 Wanda Cities in China.
The group’s second Wanda City opened in the eastern city of Hefei in September.
Wang aspires to build the No.1 tourism company globally by 2020 and has been open about his rivalry with Walt Disney Co
(Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Stephen Coates)