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SeaWorld continuing with Chinese expansion plans despite domestic woes

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Despite recent setbacks in its latest earnings report, SeaWorld continues to move forward with its Chinese expansion plans following its partial acquisition by Chinese investment firm Zhonghong Zhuoye Group (ZZG) earlier this year.

Purchasing a 21 per cent stake of SeaWorld in March, ZZG and SeaWorld outlined their intention to design and develop future themed entertainment destinations, including theme parks, waterparks and FECs, in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

In its most recent earnings report, SeaWorld revealed it was not happy with results for the quarter, with plans to further slash costs while attempting to reshape itself following several years of turmoil.

Speaking during an earnings call, CEO Joel Manby said this action, however, would not affect the company’s long-term development plans.

“We're still moving forward in China,” he said. “We have light design work going on, but, really, it's a three-year study to figure out what is our process, what is our priority in China. We're looking at both FEC and theme park, and that's all actively ongoing. We hope to have an official agreement similar to what we had in Abu Dhabi as soon as possible.”

As part of the share purchase deal, two ZZG executives have joined SeaWorld’s board of directors. They are Yoshikazu Maruyama, president of the firm’s US operations, and chief strategy officer Wang Yongli, who has experience in global themed entertainment and business development in China.

“They're extremely good board members,” said Manby, commenting on the appointments. “They are very engaged and they want to see SeaWorld do well, and not only in the United States but also in China.”

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Despite recent setbacks in its latest earnings report, SeaWorld continues to move forward with its Chinese expansion plans following its partial acquisition by Chinese investment firm Zhonghong Zhuoye Group (ZZG) earlier this year.
TAW,VAT
SeaWorld's Chinese ventures have already been confirmed not to have orcas, along with any other future parks it develops
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