In March 2015, Haichang Ocean Park Holdings (02255.HK) disclosed the latest developments of its world-class project Shanghai Haichang Polar Ocean Park (SHPOP) located in Lingang, Pudong. This disclosure was timed to be synchronized with the opening of Shanghai Disneyland.
The Ministry of Agriculture of the Yangtze River Basin Fishery Supervision and Management Office (Yangtze River Office) and the Haichang Ocean Park Holdings in Shanghai signed the "Memorandum of Cooperation on Yangtze Eco Museum" on March 3rd. The two will collaborate to conduct research on how to protect the Yangtze River Basin's ecology, and build the Yangtze Eco Museum.
As head of the Yangtze Eco Museum operations, Wei Wang, chairman of the SHPOP board, stated that the Yangtze River Eco Museum project is an important showcase to integrate into the Shanghai Haichang Polar Ocean Park (SHPOP). The first round of investment for the SHPOP and its surrounding facilities is estimated to be 3 billion Yuan (46.37 million dollars).
The SHPOP is dedicated to the cause of animal protection and scientific research. Haichang Ocean Park Holdings has also invested considerable amounts of money and human resources in rare aquatic animal breeding, management, and research. Shanghai is located in the Yangtze River Estuary, which makes the city extremely important in the Yangtze River ecosystem. Protecting the Yangtze River ecosystem will, therefore, become a significant theme at the SHPOP.
The SHPOP won the land use rights bid in January 2015, and the construction broke ground in the same year. The project is located in the Northwest plot near Dishui Lake in Lingang New City of Shanghai, covering nearly 300,000 square meters (74.13 acres).
In March 2014, SHPOP successfully launched their IPO at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, becoming the first mainland theme park operator who's gone public in Hong Kong. Their main assets include over 40,000 marine and polar animals. By the end of 2015, the park had a total of over 80 million tourist trips.
The 2015 financial reports show that the company's eight theme parks have increased their tourist numbers to 12.31 million, which is 7.11% higher than 2014. It is worth noting that, as the core sector of the tourism industry, theme parks are experiencing a re-bound in investment after hitting a low in the mid 90's. The future for theme parks is promising.
With the opening of the Beijing Universal Studios and Shanghai Disneyland, the tourism market is facing big opportunities and challenges. The market competition will put some pressure on theme parks like the SHPOP. Insiders said that, these large investments may break down the company if land use, creativity, management, and financing do not experience a revolutionary change, the number of tourists does not reach the critical point, or if the cash flow cannot support regular expenses and interests.
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Credits: Images and data linked to sources.
The original article, published in Chinese, can be found here.