Attractions Management Issue 1 2021

Page 94



Dong grew up in Canada and studied economics at the University of Pennsylvania, before starting her career with Goldman Sachs and then returning to China to work for the M&A team of Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund. She later joined her family business, urban operator China Creation Group, where she worked with Nickelodeon on the Nickelodeon Universe indoor theme park at the Mall of Chongqing. “After that experience I wanted to work with IPs more,” she says. “China Creation has a really strong portfolio and a good following in China, but it’s not always easy for them to find partners who can understand and prioritise their needs for quality and brand image and who understand the whole approval process. “We’ve been able to build a strong international team and we’ve been in China doing developments and working with theme parks for a while now.” An affiliate of China Creation, the China

For Nickelodeon

to trust us with their

brands is a big honour

Leisure Development Company was founded a year ago to focus on the leisure and attractions market in China. The company partners with top international IPs to bring their dedicated location-based entertainment products to China.“Working with IPs is a fairly niche activity in China, especially licensing them,” says Dong. “We thought we had strong capability in this area so we moved into the sector.” The short-term focus for China Leisure is on FECs, due to their shorter development turnaround, adds Dong. “Theme parks are massively capital intensive and much slower to build out in terms of government permits,” she says. “FECs are very fast to build out and pretty much all the malls want them. “For Nickelodeon to trust us with its brands is a big honour and a achievement.” While she started her career in the financial sector, Dong has found her passion in the attractions market. “It’s just such a fun, creative industry,” she says. “And there are a lot of great products globally that I want to bring into the Chinese market.” As part of her research, Dong said she rode 70 coasters across four continents in the space of a year. So which parks really impressed her? “It’s Disney and Universal – hands down.

Bright colours and clean

We’re obviously not operating on those kinds of

design make the centre

scales, but it’s useful for us to try and work out

attractive for guests

94 1 2021

what makes those attractions so special and