Sanrio Plans Hello Kitty Park in China

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Hello Kitty is packing up her hair bows and heading all the way from Japan to China for an all-ages amusement park extravaganza!

The park is planned for the area of Anji, a rural spot in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, about three hours drive from Shanghai, Nanjing, or Suzhou. The drive will be less than two hours from Shanghai once a new highway is constructed by 2014, the target launch date for the opening.

Set in a region known for its bamboo groves, “Hello Kitty Park will be sensitively integrated into the landscape,” stated Phil Hettema, president, creative executive and founder of The Hettema Group, the California group designing the park. He went on to say “With ecological themes such as sustainability, recycling, and alternative energy sources featured throughout the parks attractions.”

The park’s sub-themes are separated and represented by five elements (fire, water, wood, metal and earth), forming the park’s giant flower petal design. A world festival area will feature holiday and cultural celebrations, and handle the additional attendance expected at peak festival times, such as Chinese New Year.

Hettema told InPark magazine, “Hello Kitty has a pretty strong presence in China, but we will go beyond her immediate circle to have about 35-40 characters appear in the park. I think part of the reason Sanrio is doing this is to open their demographic amid the developing market in China. The first goal is to make it a great place for families to come: as the middle class in China grows, there’s a corresponding need for family entertainment and family activities.”

The Hello Kitty park “will be something like Legoland,” he also commented to the New York Times, adding that it won’t be just for small children. The Hello Kitty character is “not unlike Mickey Mouse, who takes on a million different personalities. There’s even a Goth Hello Kitty.”

Sanrio already operates two Hello Kitty theme parks in Japan, but the Chinese park will mark the company’s first outdoor amusement park outside its homeland.

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