After giving up on his plans to crush Disney in China, Wang Jianlin — one of the country’s richest men — is back on the theme park business with eyes on the nation’s Communist party.
In a recent announcement, Wang’s Wanda Group — one of the world’s largest commercial real estate developers — said that it will spend 12 billion yuan ($1.74 billion) to build a theme park in Yan’an, the city that served as the headquarters of the Communist Party during the Chinese Civil War.
The “Revolution Theme Park,” which hopes to cash in the so-called “red tourism,” will cover an expanse of 1.26 square kilometers (126 hectares) and will feature attractions, malls, cinemas, hotels and resorts reminiscent of Yan’an in the 1930s.
Construction will begin in the first quarter of 2019, with completion expected in the first half of 2021 — just in time for the Communist Party’s 100th anniversary.
“Wanda is committed to the Yan’an spirit and will turn the Yan’an Wanda City into a new brand for red tourism,” the multinational conglomerate said in a statement.
With some 2.3 million residents, Yan’an is considered the most revered place of Chinese communists. It is known as the “Cradle of the Chinese Revolution,” where party members set up camp after the historic Long March.
“Red tourism,” also known as “revolutionary tourism,” sees the influx of tourists to historical sites that hold special significance in the Communist Party’s history.
Last year, some 484 million tourists visited 436 historical sites of such importance across the country, according to the South China Morning Post.
According to the Epoch Times, the investment has led to speculations that Wang, who served in the People’s Liberation Army from 1970 to 1986, tries to showcase his loyalty to the party to secure his political safety.