SANYA, China (Reuters) – China’s Fosun International Ltd (0656.HK) on Saturday launched its Atlantis Sanya luxury resort in a $1.74 billion bet that the sail-shaped development will become an icon in Hainan – China’s Hawaii – and a beacon to tourists domestic and abroad.
The conglomerate’s 11 billion yuan ($1.74 billion) investment in China’s southernmost province is in line with the central government’s desire to further boost tourism in Hainan, already popular among Chinese holidaymakers.
Fosun, co-founded by Chinese billionaire Guo Guangchang, has been one of the country’s most acquisitive overseas dealmakers.
But like peers including Dalian Wanda Group and HNA Group, Fosun has faced increased scrutiny by Beijing for debt-fuelled, big-ticket foreign deals and is now pursuing a development path more closely aligned with Beijing’s priorities.
Tourism is viewed as key to China’s shift towards a more consumption-driven model of economic growth from an investment and export-led one. Beijing aims to raise the country’s tourism market revenue to 7 trillion yuan by 2020, from 5.3 trillion yuan last year.
Located along Haitang Bay, a 22-kilometre strip of white, sandy beaches, Atlantis Sanya was inspired by Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm, according to Fosun. The integrated resort offers hotel suites with views of underwater marine life, as well as a water park and a shopping mall.
($1 = 6.3325 Chinese yuan renminbi)
Reporting by Shu Zhang and Bobby Yip in SANYA; Writing by Ryan Woo; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell