A new theme park based on the hugely popular cartoon character Hello Kitty is set to open in China in 2014, according to reports.
The AFP cites the Xinhua news agency as saying that the Hello Kitty park will be located in the city of Anji in eastern China's Zhejiang province. It will be the first theme park based on the character to open outside of Japan, and is being developed by Hello Kitty creator Sanrio Co and US amusement park designer Hettema. Chinese partner Shanghai Insight Holdings will also invest in the project, which is set to cost $215 million.
According to the AFP report, the new attraction will cover 60 hectares and will incorporate a hotel and catering services as well as the theme park. Construction is set to begin later in 2011, with the park scheduled to open in 2014.
Hello Kitty was first introduced in Japan in 1974, with the character since spreading globally. Sanrio has exploited this popularity through licensing agreements that are claimed to be worth billions annually, which have seen Hello Kitty images splashed across clothes, dolls, school supplies and many other types of merchandise. In addition, two Hello Kitty theme parks are already in operation in Japan - Harmonyland and Sanrio Puroland.