Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Universal Studios to Open in Korea in 2014

US film giant Universal Studios Tuesday signed a deal with South Korean partners to build its largest theme park in Asia at a cost of around three trillion won (2.67 billion dollars).

Universal Parks and Resorts and 14 South Korean partners, including Lotte Group and a subsidiary of steel giant POSCO, signed the framework agreement to develop the park at Hwaseong, by 2014.

The initial deal was announced in late 2007 but faced problems raising capital until retail and hotels group Lotte was persuaded to join the project.

Universal Studios also operates theme parks in Hollywood, Orlando in Florida and Japan, and a park on Singapore's Sentosa Island is nearing completion.

When completed, the South Korean resort, 40 kilometrs (25 miles) southwest of Seoul, will be larger in area than all four combined and will create more than 40,000 jobs, according to Kim Moon-Soo, governor of Gyeonggi province.

It aims to attract up to 15 million visitors every year, said Chung Chai-Kwan, president of US Resorts Asset Management Co, an agent for the project.

Lotte Asset Development will have a 26.7 percent stake, while POSCO's construction subsidiary POSCO E and C is the second largest shareholder with 24.4 percent.

Work is due to start early next year on the venue, which will include a water park, theme hotel, apartments, a golf course and other facilities.

Culture minister Yu In-Chon called it "a major opportunity to develop the national tourism industry".

Universal Parks and Resorts chairman and CEO Thomas Williams said he was very optimistic the resort would attract "a substantial segment" of the South Korean population as well as a growing number of Asian international tourists.

He said director Steven Spielberg, a creative consultant to Universal Parks and Resorts, is expected to take part in the Korea project.

"He already has a number of ideas that I think will contribute to making it quite unique and, in the spirit of differentiation, something that caters to an international crowd," Williams said.


Sentosa Theme Park Blog is an unofficial site and NOT in any way affiliated with the Resorts World at Sentosa or Universal Studios Singapore. For more information go to http://www.rwsentosa.com. If you have any question or suggestions for the site write to HostBigbear@gmail.com. Photos taken by Sentosa Theme Park Blog are copyrighted please do not use without the permission from Sentosa Theme Park Blog.