Dubai's Majid Al Futtaim to run world's biggest ski slope in China
The Ski Dubai operator will manage the Wintastar Shanghai indoor ski park, marking the UAE retail giant's entry in China
Dubai-headquartered retail giant Majid Al Futtaim will enter China after agreeing to operate the world's biggest indoor snow resort in the Asian country.
The firm will deliver design and development services for Wintastar Shanghai, a planned indoor ski slope that will be built by Singaporean real estate firm, KOP Properties.
Located in Lingang City, China, the 107,000m² indoor snow park will have three ski slopes, including one for Olympic training, multiple ski runs, and more than 25 Alpine-themed attractions for non-skiers.
Majid Al Futtaim said it would draw from its experience as the operator of Ski Dubai, the world's largest indoor ski park, to deliver the Chinese project, which marks the firm's debut in Asia.
Wintastar Shanghai will also build upon Majid Al Futtaim's burgeoning international footprint, which has so far seen it open a ski resort in Egypt, develop a snow park in Oman, and work on plans to operate another indoor ski resort in Abu Dhabi’s $1.2bn (AED4.4bn) Reem Mall.
A ground-breaking ceremony for Wintastar Shanghai was held on 30 August, 2018, and the project could be completed by 2021 in time for the Beijing Winter Olympics that will be held in February 2022.
Majid Al Futtaim's leisure and entertainment arm will operate the project.
When asked why the company was moving into China, a Majid Al Futtaim spokesperson said: "The Wintastar Shanghai project represents Majid Al Futtaim’s maiden investment in China and is a strategic partnership based on the group’s longstanding experience in designing, developing, and operating indoor snow resorts.
"It aligns with a growing demand for ski- and snow-based lifestyle activities in China that Majid Al Futtaim, through its Leisure & Entertainment business, is well positioned to capitalise on.
Ahmed Galal Ismail, chief executive officer of Majid Al Futtaim Ventures, said he looked forward to working on the ski resort and helping the business grow in the nascent snow entertainment market.
"This partnership underscores Majid Al Futtaim's extensive knowledge and experience in designing, developing, and operating indoor snow entertainment facilities," he added.
"We are confident this represents the beginning of an extensive international footprint when it comes to indoor snow entertainment facilities."
Ong Chih Ching, executive chairman and director of KOP Limited, the holding company for the Singaporean developer, said Majid Al Futtaim's "impeccable track record" would benefit the development.