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Shanda enters theme park venture
Updated: 2004-04-11 11:03

Shanda Networking Co Ltd, China's largest online game company by revenue and subscriber numbers, said on April 9 it teamed up with a private tourist investment firm to build a game theme park in Hangzhou, which is due to open on May 1.

The Shanghai-based company said the move into the game theme park business, a first for an online game company to venture into, is a step to divest itself from the online game sector. An analyst attributed this step to a decline in Shanda's revenue growth.

"Shanda's revenue increase rate dropped this year due to intense competition in the domestic online market," said Yin Yijian, an online game analyst at IResearch Inc, a local Internet consulting firm. "So it's natural for it to diversify its business, both online and offline."

Tang Jun, Shanda's president, said: "The theme park is a good choice for Chinese online game firms to expand their business scope. On the other hand, it's a new business product for tourist companies."

"Our target is to become the Chinese equivalent of Disney," Tang added.

Hangzhou-based Songcheng Group, which used to be real estate developer, said it has invested millions of yuan in the park in cooperation with Shanda.

For the theme park, whose area size is not revealed, Songcheng has constructed several buildings and areas including weaponsmiths, drugstores, grocery shops and battlefields, that appear in Shanda's game "the World of Legend." Songcheng will employ people to play the characters in the game as warriors and princesses.

Qiu Xiaojun, Songcheng's vice president, expects the park to lure about 200,000 people during the holiday, paying 60 yuan (US$7.23) entrance fee per person.

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