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2022-02-17 11:11:32

As Lego moves closer to assembling its building blocks for a new theme park in Beijing, industry analysts forecast fierce competition between domestic and international players in an already crowded market.

Beijing’s Legoland is expected to span over 30 hectares — about one-fifth the size of the newly opened Universal Beijing Resort — and is listed among the capital’s “key construction projects” for 2022, domestic media reported Wednesday, citing a January notice from the Beijing Municipal Development and Reform Commission. This will be the Danish toy manufacturer’s fourth theme park in China, following locations in Sichuan province, Shenzhen, and Shanghai.

Several prominent international theme park brands have entered China over the past decade, accelerating their efforts to tap into the country’s lucrative entertainment market. While some of them — including Shanghai Disney Resort and Universal Beijing Resort — have been well received, experts worry that newcomers may fail to acclimatize to the domestic market.

Lin Huanjie, head of the Institute for Theme Park Studies in China, told Sixth Tone that Legoland parks mainly target young children and rely heavily on installations involving its trademark building blocks. He said an absence of immersive experiences to attract visitors could potentially harm the new park’s prospects for success.

“The intellectual properties, from animation to films, that Disney and Universal Studios rely on can give their theme parks far greater depth and breadth than Legoland,” Lin said. “This means the former can attract more tourists by offering exciting, entertaining, and spectacular projects.”

However, Lego has only expanded its operations in the Chinese market over recent years, aiming to capitalize on the “long-term increases in disposable income” of the people and the country’s effective virus-control measures. Though domestic theme parks in China saw a decline in footfall in 2020, they fared better than their international counterparts globally, according to a 2020 industry report.

Despite competition from Universal Beijing Resort and domestic giant Happy Valley Beijing, Lin said the upcoming Legoland could still grab a slice of the crowded market share by offering exclusive products not available in its upcoming parks in other cities.

“One way is to create more projects for older age groups, make use of local festivals, and build its own household IPs,” Lin said.

Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: iStock/VCG)