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Khazanah, Boustead in RM50m KidZania venture
By Chong Pooi Koon Published: 2009/06/24

A RM50 million educational theme park from Mexico, KidZania, will open by early 2012 at a new building in Mutiara Damansara in Selangor, just across from the Curve shopping mall.

The award-winning indoor park, which allows children to role-play adult occupations in a replica city with activities designed to mimic real-life and functioning economy, is popular in cities like Tokyo and Jakarta besides its home country.

"It is a commercial investment but it also hits the right note on all fronts. We are excited. This world-class facility will fill the current void of entertainment and education in our tourism sector," Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said at a press conference in Selangor yesterday.

Once completed, the park will create 400 jobs in the service industry, he added.

The project, an 80:20 joint venture between Khazanah and Boustead Holdings Bhd, is the second theme park investment for Khazanah after the RM750 million Legoland in Iskandar Malaysia.

KidZania Kuala Lumpur is expected to attract 500,000 visitors a year. Boustead, developer of Mutiara Damansara and owner of the Curve, will tear down a building currently occupied by McDonalds to build a seven-storey structure to house KidZania Kuala Lumpur. The theme park will take up about 60,000 sq ft on levels six and seven of the new building, which will be linked to the Curve via a sky bridge.

Xavier Lopez Ancona, founder and chief executive officer of KidZania S.A. de C.V., said Khazanah may recoup its investments in as soon as five years based on the hot response for its parks in Tokyo and Jakarta.

"The typical payback period for theme parks is around seven to nine years," said the Mexican entrepreneur who started the first KidZania in the Santa Fe Shopping Mall in Mexico City in 1999.

Entrance fees in Jakarta are priced around US$12-US$13 (RM42-RM46) for kids, while accompanying adults pay a lower price of about US$9 (RM32), Ancona said.

Other operating revenues also come from food and beverage sales and fees paid by marketing partners who want to put up their brands in the mock-up city.

KidZania also owns and operates another park in Monterrey, Mexico. It is building a third one in the country at Cuicuilco.

Outside Mexico, KidZania operates through franchise in Lisbon, Portugal; Jakarta, Indonesia and in the Japanese cities of Osaka and Tokyo. In Tokyo, tickets are sold out every day since its opening in 2006, with 955,000 visitors last year alone.

New KidZanias are coming up in Dubai, Seoul, Shanghai, Bangkok, Santiago (Chile), Mumbai and Istanbul.

172 Posts
The Star, Wednesday June 24, 2009

IMAGINE a replica of real city equipped with buildings, shops, theatres, streets as well as businesses and services, made and run by children.

This child-size replica of a real city will soon be realised in Kuala Lumpur as the famous indoor educational theme park, KidZania will be coming to town soon.

KidZania Kuala Lumpur will be located in Mutiara Damansara in a new seven-storey building opposite The Curve.

In this theme park, children aged between two and 12, will learn about the adult world as they get involved in role-playing 100 activities at more than 55 establishments.

They will also learn about the value of money as they pay for goods and services with KidZania currency KidZos and choose to experience up to 100 occupations including as pilots, television anchors, surgeons, chefs, firemen and policemen.

When opening an account at the bank, children will receive real cash cards to be used at ATMs in KidZania. It also has a modern security system and visitors must wear security bracelets that can trace the location of the chidren.

To be jointly developed by the government’s investment arm Khazanah Nasional Bhd (Khazanah) and government-linked Boustead Holdings Bhd (Boustead Group), the theme park is expected to be open to the public by early 2012 and to have 500,000 visitors annually.

Khazanah, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Themed Attractions and Resorts Sdn Bhd (TAR), and Boustead Group through its joint venture company, Rakan Riang Sdn Bhd (RRSB), signed a licensing agreement yesterday to develop KidZania Kuala Lumpur.

KidZania Kuala Lumpur will occupy 5,500 sq metres and it will be housed in a new RM80mil complex to be built and owned by Boustead Group and a further RM50mil, which will be spent to construct the internal workings of the theme park, is expected to be borne by Khazanah.

Khazanah managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said he was excited about the investment which would bring about the world class education and entertainment (edutainment) concept theme park.

“It will fill the current void of edutainment sector. It will also help the domestic economy with spin off effects by creating 400 jobs and attracting 500,000 visitors annually,” he told reporters after the signing ceremony.

He said the exact location of the theme park would be at the old McDonald site and the construction of the new building would begin in August.

Azman said a school adoption scheme would be worked out to allow children from rural areas to enjoy the theme park.

Asked about the entrance fee, he said: ”That will be announced in due course. We will use the rates in Jakarta and Tokyo as a guide,” he said.

KidZania founder and chief executive officer of KidZania Xavier Lopez Ancona said the entrance fee for Jakarta was US$12 for children and US$9 for adults while the one in Tokyo charges US$15 for children and US$10 for adults.

“Children can take part in 60 activities over five hours. It will be a one time payment which include the price of other activities.

“It is value for money for the children,” he said, adding that children would learn about being independent, respecting others and about honesty as well as teamwork, creativity, decision-making and socialising.

KidZania is the brainchild of Ancona, who is a Mexican entrepreneur.

The first KidZania was opened in 1999 in Santa Fe Shopping Mall in Mexico City.

The second opened in Monterrey, also in Mexico, the third is in Tokyo, Japan, and recently another one opened in Osaka in March this year.

The one in Jakarta, Indonesia, opened in November, 2007, while the one in Lisbon, Portugal, was opened in June this year.

More are scheduled to open in Dubai (UAE), Shanghai (China), Bangkok (Thailand), Mumbai (India), Istanbul (Turkey), Santiago (Chile) and also in Seoul (South Korea) in the near future.

38,494 Posts
Kidzania set to rock kids in Malaysia
By Presenna Nambiar
Published: 2011/06/13

KUALA LUMPUR: For years Sunway Lagoon Resorts was the closest thing to a children's theme park you could find in Malaysia.

This will change, however, with the opening of indoor-theme park Kidzania by the end of the year, Legoland Malaysia in 2012 and possibly an Upin and Ipin animation based theme park in the near future.

Suddenly Malaysians will be spoilt for choice, but promoters of Kidzania are not worried about the competition.

"The two theme parks serve totally different segments and are in two different geographical areas. There is no comparison really," Themed Attractions and Resorts Sdn Bhd (TARSB) chief executive officer Tunku Dato' Ahmad Burhanuddin said recently.

TARSB's Kidzania in Kuala Lumpur and IDR Resorts and Merlin Entertainment's Legoland in Johor Bahru, Johor, are set to open within months of each other.

Both projects are under the purview of Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

Kidzania Kuala Lumpur is a joint development by TARSB and Boustead Group, via their joint venture Rakan Riang Sdn Bhd.

TARSB is a subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional, while IDR Resorts is a member company of Iskandar Investment Bhd of which Khazanah Nasional owns a stake in.

And Burhanuddin is probably right, set more than 400km apart, Kidzania and Legoland have vastly different themes.

While Kidzania is all about children role-playing as adults, Legoland features the vastly popular Lego themed rides for children.

Of course creator and Kidzania chief executive officer Xavier Lopez Ancona did mention that he is keen to grow its franchise to other areas, pointing out that a site in Johor Bahru is a possibility.

Currently operating in six countries, Kidzania chooses its locations based on the right population density, a large demographic of families with children under 14 and the right weather conditions.

"It's nice to be in a market that is either pretty hot or pretty cold because then in-door entertainment activities perform pretty well. We also look at markets that are good for our partners and that they are interested in," Kidzania global chief marketing officer and US president Cammie Dunaway said.

Housing about 60 per cent of the world's children, Asia is a favourite with Kidzania as Ancona explains.

"There are very large cities in Asia and the population is much more concentrated compared to other continents which are more scattered," he said.

Pivotal to the setting up of a Kidzania nation, Kidzania Malaysia has signed up six marketing partners so far, while another 15 have agreed in principle.

Marketing partners such as CIMB Bank Bhd and AirAsia Bhd work with Kidzania developers to design and fit out the "work areas" to make the experience truly authentic for kids.

Set to be a novelty in Malaysia once it opens, Kidzania not only targets families but also schools.

"A big surprise for us (when we started out) was to attract schools. If in my time we used to go to museums, now they take kids to Kidzania because under one roof you can see all the educational items," Ancona said.

Some five million people have visited Kidzania around the world.

About 50 per cent of its business comes from Mexico while the rest comes from its franchising activities overseas.

Kidzania plans to start a site in the US by 2013 and is in pursuit of a location there. Some 14 locations are deemed to be suitable for it.

The US site will be the first Kidzania that it will both own and operate out of Mexico.
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