May 23, 2007 06:17
Universal Studios, a U.S.-based chain of theme parks, has announced a plan to open a theme park in Korea in 2012.
In a press conference at the JW Marriott Hotel in Seoul on Tuesday, Thomas Williams, chairman and CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts said, "We want to be part of the Korean Wave."
Universal Parks & Resorts is a subsidiary of NBC Universal, a multinational media and entertainment production, distribution, and broadcasting group.
Williams said his company will build a theme park in Korea by spring 2012 that will be bigger than the Universal Studios parks in Los Angeles and Osaka, Japan. In addition to the theme park, the multi-purpose project will include a hotel and other accommodations facilities, a convention center and an outlet mall, Williams said.
Williams said Seoul's dense and relatively affluent population of 25 million made Korea an attractive market for the project. In light of this statement, many people believe that the park will be built in the metropolitan area. Universal is working with USKOR, an investment company, as its Korean partner. POSCO Engineering & Construction has already agreed to participate in an investment consortium to be organized by USKOR.
USKOR will take charge of finding investors for the construction of Universal Studios Korea and lead negotiations with the central and local governments. Universal Parks & Resorts will provide the know-how needed to set up the theme park and receive royalties after it's opened.
Williams indicated he was aware of the fact that some local governments and developers had struck out while trying to build their own theme parks in Korea. "We want to have an open, transparent process by which first off the public in Korea... that they all understand that we're committed to Korea for the long haul," he said.
In addition to its parks in Los Angeles, Orlando and Osaka, Universal Studios, the world's number two theme park chain after Disneyland, also plans to open parks in Singapore in 2010 and Dubai in 2012.
Universal Studios started as a large-scale movie studio set on a vast plot of land in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles.
A theme park was developed at the studio to allow visitors to enjoy rides and attractions based on famous movies like "ET", "King Kong", "Jaws" and "Terminator". Visitors to the parks can also watch films being shot with special filming techniques and stunt shows.
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