After about 18 months on average, the Mexican company closed the doors of twenty stores worldwide due to the pandemic. KidZania has drawn a new roadmap in which it aims to consolidate its business in Latin America and the rest of the world by acquiring these franchises. those who cannot fly.
they did the same With its headquarters in Santiago de Chile in November 2021It is in the hands of the company, which opened under the franchise model in 2012 and is now owned by businessman Xavier López Ancona. Also, however Brazil, He was in charge of a local entrepreneur who decided to sell assets after the health crisis. Today, this “children’s city” is being remodeled with the goal of being operational in April 2023.
When Covid-19 becomes a pandemic, The brand had 29 establishments all over the world. Of these, 25 were franchises and four were self-owned. The impact of the crisis resulted in two of them closing permanently and the other two – Sao Paulo and Singapore – being handed over from their owners and undergoing transformation to reopen next year.
But there were also openings in the turbulent times. “In December 2020, we opened the second park in Indonesia in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city. Also in July of this year, Japan’s third park opened in the city of Fukuoka. Today we have 27 parks, seven of which are ours and 20 are franchises.” DFSUD Hernán Barbieri, Vice President of Operations at KidZania.
According to the manager, more new things are coming. “We are opening Hong Kong, Taipei, Hanoi, Johannesburg, Chicago and Riyadh, which will soon be the second in Saudi Arabia. Some are already under construction, some are under development and should be opened in the next 24 months,” he said, adding that they are about to sign in Greece and Israel as well.
Focus on Latam
The bet on Latin America, its region of origin, remains strong. In addition to existing presence in Mexico (with four parks) and Costa Rica in Santiago, Sao Paulo and San José (all on a city scale), the company is evaluating new landing spots.
Consulted on this “In some countries, like Argentina and Colombia, she assured us that there are some (business) groups watching us,” Barbieri said. And in Peru, for example, we are still in the early stages of negotiations; They’re not very advanced.”
While some of these bets are fulfilled, the Mexican holding company is strengthening already existing operations. It has one of the largest parks in Mexico City with over 7,000 square feet of at least 140 different activities where “kids play like adults and learn how life should be”.
In the case of Chile, the manager said, “a major restructuring is coming that will enable us to include all the professions of the future.” technologies and alternative mobility, shared transportation, combustion and electric or hydrogen engines instead of gasoline, charging points for electric cars”.
With an investment of approximately $5 million to $6 million planned, these changes come in some cases to replace already obsolete activities or update others based on technology. This mini-city has about 65 interior buildings that allow about 90 professions to flourish.
Changes are being made in Brazil and Monterrey in parallel, said Barbieri, with a similar project coming on the other side of the Atlantic, in London (UK) after conversions are completed.
Along with all the impetus given to the KidZania concept, the company recently embarked on a new project “which is already active in Mexico and which we will export to countries where we are already present after testing and perfecting”. said Barbieri.
This Kinesis is a completely different concept from KidZania, but was inspired by a bet that they plan to get around 900,000 visitors a year.
“As Kidzania is entertainment and education, Kinesis is entertainment and well-being that combines three business verticals,” explained the group’s vice president of operations.
“In the organization, assets are combined to serve as a fitness center or gym in the early morning and late at night; Between 10:00 – 18:00 – as an entertainment venue with 42 activities such as trampoline, ball pool, zipline and jumping nets; and outside working hours, from 8 am to 8 pm, as a health center,” he explained.
In this latest vertical, he said, basic medical laboratory work aimed at athletes and companies. They also offer nutritional guidance with experts in the area and a spa equipped with the latest treatments and equipment.
The offer is aimed at children and adults, and will expand through franchises, as with KidZania. Of course, unlike the scaled cities project, in this case, they work not with the relevant brands, but with the equipment and devices of companies specialized in their fields.
“This is a longer-term project that we could see in the second half of 2024 or early 2025, for example in Chile,” he said.
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