Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Nine Dragon Theme Park: Marketing Strategy in China

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Nine Dragon Theme Park: Marketing Strategy in China

Article excerpt


The primary subject matter of this case concerns the destination marketing strategies used for a Chinese amusement theme park. The case follows the theme park from its inception and discovers how the changing tourism environment in China affected the success of the theme park.


This case examines the development and role of destination marketing in the China tourism industry in general and in the theme park in particular. A case study of Nine Dragon Theme Park in Beijing, China is demonstrated to explore the detonation marketing development. The China tourism industry has effectively merged its service with that from local attractions to the development of global and modern theme parks. This study provides a comprehensive viewpoint for China destination marketing development and strategies.


In the past 20 years, tourism has had rapid growth and has become a new and prosperous industry in China. At the first stage in the early 1980s, the tourism destinations were famous landscapes, historical sites and big cities. Tourists wanted to travel around, but they had little traveling experience and had few choices of where to go and what to see. The first generation of artificial landscape destination such as theme parks came to the public before and after the year 1990, attracting a lot of tourists because of the high quality and renovation of attractions. The Chinese tourists then were a little more experienced and wanted new and exciting amusement. This kind of destination met their desire and was therefore very successful. With time, however, the taste of the tourists changed away from the artificial attractions back to enjoying nature and selecting a well-organized trip from a lot of choices, including travel abroad.

In the process of the Chinese tourism industry development, the theme park experienced a fluctuation of ups and downs. From the first welcome in early 1990 to the following dislike around 1995, to the severe competition afterwards, the theme park has not reached its peaks in China. In fact, any assumed theme park in China can have any chance in competing with Disney, the pioneer and symbol of theme parks.

The Nine Dragon Amusement Park Company (NDA) is one of the first joint ventures established in the Chinese tourism industry. This amusement concept was originally influenced by the Disney company, especially Tokyo Disney World. NDA combined this theme park example with China culture and specific environment and was referred to as the irst Disney land-like amusement in China. But the finished amusement park does not have the whole theme park design because of the policy restrictions and insufficient capital. The experience of NDA shows to some extent the first generation of joint venture in China.


NDA was founded in 1985 as a Sino-Japan joint venture. The Chinese investor is BMTR (Beijing Ming Tombs Reservoir development Company), which is a state-owned enterprise under BWCB (Beijing Water Conservancy Bureau) of Beijing Municipal Government. The Japanese investor is a construction company XGZ, which is among the first foreign companies come to the China market.

During the development process, three questions had been discussed before it became a specific cooperative project that could be presented to prospective investors. These questions are: program decision, location selection, and product attractions.

The idea of establishing a Theme Park is given birth and encouraged by the success of Tokyo Disney. The Tokyo Disney Park was opened to the public in 1985 and had great success in Japan, more than its effect in the U.S. A, This conveyed a clear message that amusement theme parks would be welcomed and have a large market in Asia. At the same time, there is no Theme Park; even the concept of Theme Park is new in China. So, it is a potential opportunity to develop a theme park in China. …

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