KUALA LUMPUR, July 15 – Sim Leisure Group has issued a statement in response to media reports and social media commentary regarding its recent announcement on KidZania Singapore. The company aims to address the allegations and correct any erroneous comments circulating online. It should be noted that KidZania Singapore was a failed asset that closed down and went into receivership under a Singapore liquidator. Sim Leisure Group made a bid for the non-movable assets of KidZania Singapore towards the end of 2020, during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company has been negotiating the lease for the facility with Sentosa Development Corporation for the past two years. In submitting their bid, Sim Leisure Group took significant risks due to several unknown factors at the time. Firstly, they participated in the bid without being able to physically inspect the non-movable asset due to travel restrictions imposed during the lockdown. Furthermore, the condition of the asset and the cost of renovation were unknown.
The company also needed to secure the lease from Sentosa Development Corporation and obtain a license agreement from KidZania Mexico, the licensor. The Founder and Executive Chairman of Sim Leisure Group, Dato’ Sim Choo Kheng, explained the challenges associated with taking over failed theme park assets. He stated, “Failed theme park projects have very limited use and often end up as scrap metal. Unlike other failed assets that can be repurposed, theme parks are highly specialized and face numerous challenges.”
Dato’ Sim emphasized that the theme park industry in emerging markets is highly risky and requires expertise and experience. He highlighted that many theme park investors in the region lack the necessary knowledge and treat theme parks as value-additions to their development projects or as a means of cross-promotion. Dato’ Sim further noted that Sim Leisure Group solely focuses on theme parks and operates them as independent and profitable businesses.
The company urged potential investors to carefully consider the risks associated with investing in theme parks. Dato’ Sim explained, “It’s not all about buying equipment or engaging IP owners or foreign expertise. Ironically, these are often the main reasons for failures.” He cautioned that there may be more failures in the industry in the future and emphasized the need for careful consideration and dedication to succeed.
Sim Leisure Group’s statement aimed to provide clarity on the KidZania Singapore deal and shed light on the challenges faced by the theme park industry. The company remains committed to its expertise in the field and will continue to focus on operating profitable and sustainable theme park ventures.