Sunday, December 16, 2007

Daewoo in deal with Paramount for theme park

Daewoo Auto Sales and Paramount Pictures of the United States signed a contract yesterday to build a 1.5 trillion won ($1.6 billion) theme park in Songdo by 2010.

The attraction will be in an area where the Korean government has been building an economic zone to attract foreign investors and companies. The deal comes as a number of Korean companies and provincial governments are scrambling to make deals with foreign entertainment groups to revive the fortunes of the regional economy and lure more foreign tourists.

Daewoo Auto Sales said in a statement yesterday that the two companies would kick off construction of the project in July 2008. It is expected to create 13,000 jobs and spur new economic activities worth about 1 trillion won by the time it is completed in late 2010, the company said.

Daewoo Auto Sales, established in 1993 by the now-defunct Daewoo Group, has recently expanded its business portfolio from car sales and parts production to car rental and construction.

“We estimate the new movie theme park will attract about five million people or more annually and post annual sales of 1.1 trillion won,” Daewoo Auto Sales said in a statement.

The movie theme park, to be erected on a 50-hectare site, will feature a 3D simulation studio to allow visitors to experience movies produced by Paramount Pictures like “Transformers.” There will be a water park, a kids’ studio featuring animated film characters like SpongeBob SquarePants and a hotel, according to Daewoo.

Attracting theme parks has become something of a fad here. In November, Gyeonggi Province signed a memorandum of understanding with Universal Studios for a 2.9 trillion won attraction in Hwaseong, 25 miles south of Seoul, by 2012. The city government of Siheung, Gyeonggi, is also negotiating with Disney and MGM Studios for a park.

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