- Space travel company Kuangchi Science will invest USD$1.5 billion in a space-themed amusement park.
- Kuangchi has yet to launch any of its rockets into space.
- Growth in China’s theme park industry has been hitting new highs in recent years but Kuangchi’s development represents an astronomical leap.
Kuangchi Science, China’s answer to SpaceX, has announced it will invest RMB 10 billion ($1.5 billion) on a space-travel theme park based in Hangzhou, the city that is currently hosting the G20 meeting.
As part of the park, the Hong Kong-listed company said it is preparing for manned tests of a high-altitude balloon called the “Traveller,” which they hope will be able to take tourists into near-outer-space.
The Traveller will feature a sight-seeing cabin comfortable enough that passengers will “feel like [they’re] sitting in a limousine.” It will also be equipped with communications and weather-monitoring components, according to Kuangchi’s website.
Manned tests are planned over the next two years, the Shenzhen-based company said.
The announcement sees Kuangchi join Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic in the race to launch satellites and tourists into orbit, and comes less than a week after SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket exploded during pre-launch testing.Kuangchi Liu Ruppeng, who is often referred to as “the Elon Musk of China” by local media, said visitors to ‘Future Valley’ will be able to experience what it feels like to live in a futuristic room where furniture can move, think and reconfigure itself.
“Our mission is to develop science and technology that create a future life ecology,” said Liu, according to China Daily.
Growth in China’s theme park industry has been hitting new highs in recent years but Kuangchi’s development represents an astronomical leap.
The country has, by some estimates, as many as 60 theme parks are under construction or being planned, with other notable players including Disney, Dalian Wanda Group, Universal, and Six Flags Entertainment.
Disney opened its USD$5.5 billion Shanghai park in June this year while Universal plans to open an $8 billion theme park in Beijing by 2020. Dalian Wanda, one of China’s largest conglomerates, has taken Disney head-on with its plans to build 20 entertainment complexes in the country.
US-based Six Flags has partnered with mainland developer Riverside Investment Group to build Six Flags Haiyan in Zhejiang province, with an eye to launching in 2019.
In May, Kuangchi launched a $300-million Global Community of Innovation fund to invest in what it calls “future life” technologies. Some of the other projects the company is working on include jetpacks and aircraft which run on solar power.
KuangChi listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange through the back door in 2014 by injecting itself into a small Hong Kong paper company called Climax International.