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Happy Valley sallies forth into tier two towns
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16:19, September 01, 2009

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Happy Valley, a Disneyland-style amusement park, is now well-established as a popular fairyland getaway for youngsters in four of China's major metropolises - Beijing Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Chengdu - but plans are now afoot to spread the magic a little further.

Zheng Fan, vice president of the Overseas Chinese Town (OCT) Enterprises Co, Happy Valley's developer, said they now want to introduce the theme park chain into a number of China's second-tier cities, including Wuhan and Tianjin, as part of a bid to fully explore the potential of the domestic market.

The OCT group, now China's largest theme park developer, bills itself as "the proprietor of a fantasy lifestyle". For the past 20 years, the group has been something of a pioneer in China with its innovative "tourism + real estate" business model.

Through integrating the separate business segments of tourism, hotels and real estate, the Shenzhen-based State-owned enterprise now boasts total assets of 40 billion yuan as of last June and owns a total of 35 sq km property. Last year, it notched up 20.8 billion yuan in sales revenue with a net profit of 2.15 billion yuan. Impressive figures for a business that launched in 1985 with just a small piece of farmland and a sense of the opportunities emerging from China's reform and opening up policies.

Typically in its projects, OCT creatively combines the two elements of tourism and real estate. To date, the result has been string of highly profitable businesses, many of them breaking records within the leisure and real estate industries.

Reflecting on the business, Ren Kelei, president of OCT Enterprises Co, says: "Tourism projects enjoy a huge reputation, but their real estate counterparts have bigger profit margins."

According to Ren, ideally tourism can enhance any real estate project's reputation and value, whilst funding from real estate can result in more cash being available for investment in tourism projects.

For OTC, one of its abiding real estate principles is to "build a city in a garden", ensuring that foliage is a key feature of all of its property developments.

OCT debuted during the 1990s, when its raft of themes parks, notably Splendid China, the China Folk Culture Villages and Window of the World, caught the imagination of a generation. In the early years of the 21st century, its Happy Valley sites in Shenzhen, Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu were added to its portfolio.

With all of these projects, OCT laid the groundwork for an entirely new approach to urban tourism, one which saw every one of its parks stand out as the fashionable destination of choice for the communities it targeted.

By utilizing cutting-edge technology and advanced leisure concepts, its Happy Valley centers have created a new world of thrilling and exciting leisure experiences. Its variety of themes has also ensured that tourists never tire of its theme parks' many charms.

Despite the variety on offer, the high point of any trip to a Happy Valley site is always the Adventure Hill, with its space-shot at the top and its Old Gold Mine River Raft ride at the foot.

Every park combines the functions of catering, accommodation, sightseeing, shopping and entertainment to mark the perfect self-contained day out for any family or group of friends.

Source: China Daily

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