Formula E: Hainan to spend $717 million on EV-themed entertainment compound

Hainan Province, known as China’s Hawaii, is establishing a 5 billion yuan (US$717 million) entertainment venue dedicated to electric cars, which aims to host global sports events such as the Formula E World Championship while also helping carmakers showcase their products and their role in China’s decarbonization efforts.

The project, to be located in Sanya city, is likely to begin some operations as soon 2025, according to Lianxin International, the Shenzhen-based conglomerate running the project.

Hong Kong investors are providing 40 percent of the capital, as China’s southernmost province strengthens collaborations with the city.

Lianxin has presented all of Formula E’s races in China, including the first event in Beijing in 2014, four events in Hong Kong, and the most recent race, in Sanya in March 2019. Covid in China has prevented any additional races since 2019.

The company is in discussions to introduce other events, such as the E1 World Electric Powerboat Series and races of the International Motorcycling Federation, to the island, its chairman Yin Xiaoming said in an interview.

“Hainan will definitely become an influential place for the Greater China region, even globally, in hosting international competitions and sports events,” he said. “It has unique strengths such as rich tourism resources and convenience brought by its free-trade port status, such as the exemption of visas or tariffs.”

The planned new-energy vehicle entertainment compound will include three segments: a theme park, a hotel, and a business-related segment mainly serving carmakers.

The theme park will offer visitors virtual-reality and real-life experiences such as electric go-karts and racing with professional drivers. The business segment will provide facilities for carmakers to host new-vehicle releases and exhibitions, and to accommodate clients for test drives.

“Formula E can serve as an entry point of introducing traffic [to the project and Hainan] and help electric vehicle brands’ marketing,” said Ji Gang, partner at consultancy Roland Berger in Shanghai.

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