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UPDATED: September 15, 2015
Universal Signs Deal to Open Biggest Theme Park in Beijing

A contract has been signed between the Chinese and the U.S. parties to build a Universal Studios theme park in Beijing's east suburban district of Tongzhou, the newly confirmed second administrative center of the city, Beijing Youth Daily reported Monday.

The Beijing Universal Studios project was approved by the National Development and Reform Commission in September 2014 and was directly led by the Beijing government. Li Shixiang, Member of Standing Committee of CPC Beijing Committee and executive vice-mayor of Beijing, attended the signing ceremony at New York headquarter of the U.S. cable company NBCUniversal on Sunday.

According to the contract, a joint venture company will be set up to carry out the construction. The park, expected to open in 2019, covers 2.02 million square meters of floor space and is set to attract a total investment of 50 billion yuan ($7.98 billion).

The Universal Studios theme parks boast of offering a behind–the-scene look at movie making. Its Beijing location, the sixth of its kind in the world and the third in Asia, will become the largest one.

The first stage of the project includes a Universal CityWalk retail-entertainment complex and the world's first Universal-themed resort hotel, both being completed in five years. Another theme park, a water park and five other resort hotels are planned to be built in the second stage.

Traditional and modern Chinese culture elements have been incorporated in the planning to boost the city's tourist appeal to foreign visitors, according to the culture and tourism administration bureau of Tongzhou district.

The U.S. side also promised to put the world's best and popular entertainment projects into the Beijing Universal Studios, with the Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg involved in the design of the park.

Subway Line 7 will be extended to reach the park and put into use before the opening to meet the demand of the tourists.

Universal Studios theme parks around the world

Universal Studios now operates five theme parks - in Los Angeles, Orlando, Osaka and Singapore.

World's oldest and most famous Universal Studios theme park in Los Angeles offers a collection of rides, shows, food and beverage and merchandise shops all at one place. The latest attraction - Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem - features a family friendly simulator adventure through the Minion training facility, which opened on April 12, 2014.

The giant theme park, operated by U.S. cable company NBCUniversal, was the first to allow the public to experience action-packed entertainment and take a behind–the-scene look at movie making.

Universal Orlando consists of two theme parks: Universal Studios Florida, which opened in 1990, allows visitors to "Ride the Movies" and Islands of Adventure, opened in 1999, hosts the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Visitors to the theme park resort can also dine in style, with a large group of characters from The Cat in the Hat to Spider-Man to keep the diners a company for breakfasts and dinners.

As the first Universal Studios theme park to open in Asia, Universal Studios Japan got off to a roaring start with tourists flocking in from other Asian countries. Visitors to the Osaka park reached 11 million in 2011, its launch year, becoming the world's fastest growing amusement park at the time.

Located within popular island resort Sentosa, the Universal Studios Singapore was the second Universal Studios theme park to open in Asia, and the first to open in Southeast Asia.

(Chinadaily.com.cn September 14, 2015)

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