Dalian Wanda Group has reported an 11% rise in H1 revenue, despite a 17% fall in sales in its commercial property business.
The growth was driven by a 57% sales spike in Wanda Cultural Industry Group, the company’s entertainment business, which achieved RMB29bn in revenue for the period.
Wanda Commercial Properties revenue fell by 12% to RMB64.4bn, but the decline was smaller than the 32% full-year drop that was forecast by Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin in January.
Three months later he announced that the real estate arm of the group would cease buying land for home and office developments in the country’s third- and fourth-tier cities, but would continue to build hotels and shopping centres.
The real estate business saw the proportion of total company sales to come from the real estate business has fallen to 54%, from 68% in 2015.
The company has increasingly focused on its entertainment activities, in particular film and tourism.
In May it opened Wanda City, a $3bn children’s theme park in Nanchang, southern China, that includes China’s longest and tallest rollercoasters and a mall designed to evoke a Chinese tea-set.
The theme park is the first of at least 15 that the billionaire property tycoon plans to open by 2020.
Jianlin has made it clear that Wanda aims to challenge the Walt Disney Co, which opened its first mainland theme park in Shanghai last month.
“The days of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck creating a frenzy are over,” he told China Central Television in May. “One tiger is no match for a pack of wolves – Shanghai has one Disney, while Wanda, across the nation, will open 15 to 20 Wanda Cities.”
Wanda’s overseas income accounted for 14.8% of the group’s revenues, reaching RMB17.7bn in the first half, up 78.6% year on year. Its assets in the period totalled RMB736.8bn, up 12.1% from the end of 2015. The company did not disclose profit figures.