USJ eyes new theme parks in Asia by 2020

Kyodo

USJ Co., the operator of Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, said Thursday it plans to open one or more new theme parks by 2020, with potential sites identified in Japan and other emerging Asian economies.

While the final number of new parks has yet to be decided, Kyushu and Okinawa, as well as Jakarta, Mumbai and Taiwan, have all been suggested as sites for development, which USJ aims to complete before the start of the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2020.

With construction costs expected to reach hundreds of billions of yen, USJ has teamed up with several other companies to carry out the plan.

In December, the company said it had accepted an investment of $250 million, or around ¥25.5 billion, from a Hong Kong-based investment firm to expand its business in Asia.

While the existing Universal Studios theme park features attractions based on popular Hollywood movies, including “Spiderman” and the “Jaws” franchise, the new developments will apparently feature different characters.

Universal Studios Japan opened in Osaka in March 2001, and expects to attract more than 10 million visitors during the current fiscal year. A new area, featuring Harry Potter, is also set to open this year.