Universal Studios China project officially dead

Posted Friday, July 23, 2004 10:37 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Universal Studios has pulled the plug on a proposed theme park in China and laid off 30 employees who had been working on the project, a company spokesman said.

Read more from The LA Times.

Friday, July 23, 2004 10:53 AM
Ouch. My heart goes out to those employees who lost their jobs.
Friday, July 23, 2004 12:26 PM
I'm not surprised by this in a country where the typical worker makes less than $5 per day. There can't be many people who can afford to attend a major theme park.

High priced attractions that cater only to the wealthy might work in China, but you need big numbers to support a theme park.

Friday, July 23, 2004 12:59 PM
Does that mean they have lots of extra money now for their US parks?!?
Friday, July 23, 2004 1:05 PM
No, I'm guessing it means that they just lost a ton of money that they invested into that park, which won't be returned since the park will never open.
Friday, July 23, 2004 3:20 PM
Just out of curiosity, were they in the design stages or actually physically starting to build things? If they were in the design stages, nothing is lost. They can just find an area of land similar to the land layout they chose for the park in China (or they can just bulldoze and make it exactly like it is in china) and move it to another country.

Of course, there will be many modifications because china has different an electrical and water line setup than there neighboring countries, but I think it will still be feasible.

Just a thought.

Friday, July 23, 2004 3:44 PM
I'm pretty sure you can't just plop the same park down somewhere else. Aside from all the logistics (utilities, space, roads, etc.) I would imagine the park was designed around the audience. Just like you wouldn't want to take the Baseball Hall of Fame and move it to Mexico.
Friday, July 23, 2004 3:58 PM
The planned Universal park in germany was cancelled when China got the go-ahead. I think that Universals current owners donĀ“t trust the themepark business anymore.
Friday, July 23, 2004 5:31 PM
They are the new owners anyways tricktrack, they'll probalby just get ticked and sell the parks, haha. As for Andy, the rides were actually pretty much the same as our US Universal parks. I was looking at the wanted ad's from 99 and 00 and they were hiring consultants and engineers for the spiderman ride as well as a few others. Just a different layout, not really aimed towards the chinese.
Saturday, July 24, 2004 1:10 AM
"I'm not surprised by this in a country where the typical worker makes less than $5 per day. There can't be many people who can afford to attend a major theme park."

China has a population of 1.3 (?) billion... I don't care what the average wage in the country is, but for an urban center like Shanghai in a country with an economy booming at unprecedented rates, there are many that could afford a theme park. Even if only 1% of the Chinese population had the means to attend, that is still a pool of 130 million people. The rural areas are the poorest, and the urban areas have the greatest concentration of wealth, so why not?

Still, if it were to guarantee a profit, Univeral would still be continuing the project.

Sunday, July 25, 2004 5:34 AM
tricktrack, that is what I'm thinking. I heard directly from a guy pretty high at USH that they actually pulled some budget out from the Mummy because, as he said it, "The new guys just want 400% return on EVERYTHING."
Sunday, July 25, 2004 9:33 PM
In old math, 1% of 1.3 billion is 13 million IIRC.
Monday, July 26, 2004 12:45 AM
Whoops, right you are. Still, that's an enormous amount.
Monday, July 26, 2004 1:59 PM
Typical industrial wages (these are above average) in China run about $3.00 per day. A college professor makes about $30 per day. The farmers in rural areas make far less. Despite its rapid economic growth, China is still a third world country in many respects with few people making any real money. (Hong Kong is an exception to this.)

If there are 13 million people in the country that can afford to attend the park and the park needs a couple million attendance to make money, then they need 1/6 of all people in the country who can afford it to attend each year. I suspect that isn't likely to happen.

There are probably 150-200 million people who can afford the same thing in the US.


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