Commercial & Industrial Property News Update

China - Ski Resort By Genting To Open In December

September 7, 2012

The latest foreign developer to move in on China's fast-growing leisure market is Malaysia's Genting Group, which is set to open its first ski-resort in Beijing in December.

Genting Group from Malaysia is the latest foreign developer to tap China's burgeoning leisure market. Come December, the group will open its first ski resort in the country in Hebei.

When completed, the Genting Resort-Secret Garden, located a three-hour drive away from Beijing, will offer skiers over 80 ski runs over 1.3 million sq ft of pristine snowland. It will also house amusement parks, shops, restaurants and hotels. Genting also plans to add a convention centre with a capacity of 3,000 within the 100 sq km valley site.

The mega project is estimated to cost RM 10 billion, and is reportedly mainly funded by Lim Chee Wah, son of the late founder of the Genting Group. The resort will be marketed mainly at Chinese visitors from Beijing and the country.

However, the conversion of a nearby military airport for civilian use and the completion of a high-speed rail by next year could also see the resort targeting visitors from Russia and Southeast Asia.

Lim Chee Wah, group executive chairman, VXL Capital, said, "(During) the initial years, we're looking at growing up to about 80,000 for the beginning and it'll grow up to about 1.2 to 1.5 million visitations a year."

"China's ski market is in its infancy compared to the US... US numbers dwarf China by 20, 30 times. From that standpoint, we see a lot of growth potential," he added.

By 2014, the country is estimated to have about 20 million skiers, said China's Ski Association. However, as skiing is still new to the Chinese, with many considering the sport as a niche activity, developers and operators are looking to non-skiers for the bulk of their revenue.

Accordingly, upcoming resorts will feature more than just ski slopes, with some including leisure real estate to cater to affluent Chinese visitors.

Justin Downes, president, Axis Leisure Management, said, "The amount of people who visit ski resorts is about five million per year across the country but probably less than 50% of those are actually skiing or coming to the resort for other experiences... That's what is going to make the Chinese resort different from a European or North American environment.

"The Chinese like to travel with their grandchildren, their friends, their family. They don't want to ski."

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