A recent article in the China Daily looked at the struggling theme park industry in China. The state-owned enterprise Overseas Chinese Town Group (OCT) is one of the few organizations turning a profit in the industry. The state-owned company focuses on the culture industry, focusing on: amusement parks, resorts, and miniaturized scenic spots.
The OCT Group controls amusement parks (each called Happy Valley park) in 5 different cities: Beijing, Chengdu, Sichuan province, Shanghai, Wuhan. A new park is scheduled to open in Tianjin before 2014. The OCT Group earned 10.5 billion yuan in 2012 – up 66.7% from 2011 earnings.
Part of the company’s profitability comes from its state-owned status. State-owned enterprises are preferred by local governments because they have access to more financial resources than privately owned counterparts. Governments welcome theme parks to cities, as they spur further investment into the area.
While the company has experienced growing attendance rates in recent years, it still faces high competition. In 2009, 15.8 million people visited their parks and in 2011, there were 21.73 million. However, despite their increased popularity, the parks’ attendance rates are still far behind the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, who hosted 121.4 million in 2011 alone.