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Universal Studios’ foray into Beijing

December 15, 2021 / By

Universal Studios’ fifth theme park opened in Beijing in time for China’s National Day holiday in October, offering visitors an exciting opportunity to experience popular films such as Jurassic Park and Harry Potter. With the second phase under planning and the third phase proposed, the park’s entire area is set to span four square kilometres, which is set to make it the largest Universal Studios resort in the world.

The long-anticipated entertainment and retail complex drew several F&B and retail brands to introduce their first stores in China, with Bubba Gump Shrimp and BMW Joy Cube among them. At the entrance, the resort’s entertainment centre CityWalk accommodates more than 20 F&B and retail brands, making Universal Studios Beijing a new destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment in the city’s eastern Tongzhou District.

Resort to draw more tourists to the city

The park is expected to widen the appeal of Beijing, known primarily as a cultural and historic destination for tourists rather than an entertainment hub. In fact, over the first four days of China’s weeklong October national holiday, the resort drew some 105,000 visitors. Moreover, the park was estimated to receive an annual visitor count of nearly 10 million people before the most recent round of Covid-related travel restrictions.

In the coming months, Universal Studios is likely to appeal most to residents and nearby travellers. It is expected to draw younger visitors and those in search of leisure activities, of which the latter officially makes up just less than 15% of visitors to the capital.

Since opening in late September, the park has increased accommodation demand in Beijing, particularly in the surrounding area. Although the resort has two hotels on-site, providing a total of 1,200 rooms, these have already proven insufficient in meeting visitors’ needs, especially during busy periods.

Universal Studios to boost Beijing retail market

By drawing more consumers to the city, the park is projected to serve as a boon to the overall retail market, as visitors plan their time in Beijing to include other commercial hot spots around town. However, the most notable and immediate impact is set for Tongzhou, where district authorities are actively promoting multiple retail projects, scheduled to enter the market from 2022 to 2024. The park’s growing customer and employee bases are predicted to drive increases in local consumption demand for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

Universal Studios is also expected to help better promote Beijing, supporting its goal to become an international commercial hub. As upcoming phases are estimated to draw visitors with a high-spending propensity, more retail brands are set to view the city as an important location for introducing their first and speciality stores, further compelling Beijing to develop into a leading retail market.

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