In its latest headline grabbing move, China's Dalian Wanda Group announced plans Sunday to build the world's largest film studio complex in Qingdao.
Oriental Movie Metropolis will cover 540 hectares and consist of 20 studios and the first permanent underwater studio. One of the studios will be the largest in the world, covering 10,000 square meters, the company said at the announcement ceremony, which included such Hollywood A-listers as Leonardo DiCaprio, John Travolta, Nicole Kidman and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
"Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis is a major measure to implement the national policy of building a cultural power, a major strategy for Wanda's cultural industry development, and a major attempt to create China's global cultural brands," Wanda Group chairman Wang Jianlin said in a statement.
Mr. Wang, recently named the richest man in China, owns 100 percent of Dalian Wanda, which was best known for retail development and shopping malls. Last year the company paid $2.6 billion to acquire the U.S.-based cinema chain, AMC Entertainment.
The studio plan calls for a theme park-like setting including "a film museum, a film and television celebrity wax museum, a film exhibition center, car limit show, Wanda Cultural Tourism City, resort hotels, a yacht club, a seaside bar street, an international hospital and other projects," according to the company's press release.
Mr. Wang intends to recreate many of the elements of Hollywood in Qingdao, including a Hollywood sign in the hills.
"It's my dream," Mr. Wang told the Wall Street Journal. "When I decided in 2005 to enter the film industry, opening theaters, 99 percent of our stakeholders were opposed, saying the investment wouldn't pay off. But I decided to chase my dream. Now look at this market."