SeaWorld Terminates China Licensing Deal, Six Flags Pursuing International Expansion
Theme park operators SeaWorld Entertainment and Six Flags Entertainment are reporting mixed results from international expansion plans.
Six Flags licensee Riverside Investment Group Co., after earlier regulatory delays in China, is “proceeding very nicely” with plans for a park in Haiyan, China that is slated to open in 2020, Six Flags CEO Jim Reid-Anderson said.
Riverside also expects to get government approval by year-end for a park in Chongquing, China; a third facility, in Nanjing, is moving through the approval process, Reid-Anderson said. The Nanjing plans call for Six Flags Kids World for families with young child that will be build adjacent to the main park.
Development of a Six Flags park is Saudi Arabia also is moving forward. Qiddiya Investment Co. plans a complex containing Six Flags that is expected to open in 2022. The deal for the Saudi Arabia park follows the collapse of plans by DXB Entertainments (formerly Dubai Parks & Resorts) for a similar facility in Dubai after the needed financing fell through. DXB also operates Legoland in Dubai.
While international business accounts for three percent of Six Flags’ annual revenue, the goal is for it to be a “material part” of the company’s revenue within 10 years, largely through licensing, Reid-Anderson said.
Meanwhile, SeaWorld last month terminated a two-year-old licensing agreement with Zhonghong Holdings Group to develop China-based theme parks, the company said in an SEC filing.
Zhonghong, which in 2017 agreed to buy a 21% stake in SeaWorld and get the rights for parks in China, has struggled since a Beijing court froze founder Wang Yonghong’s stake in the company. Zhonghong has since sold the Ruyi Island resort complex where it had planned to build the SeaWorld park.