Dubai’s biggest theme park to launch ‘Hunger Games’ attractions

Dubai Parks and Resorts is rolling out a series of attractions inspired by “The Hunger Games” films, as it aims to boost visitor numbers and stem losses. (Reuters)
Updated 20 August 2017
0

Dubai’s biggest theme park to launch ‘Hunger Games’ attractions

LONDON: Dubai’s biggest theme park is about to roll out a series of attractions inspired by “The Hunger Games” films, as it aims to boost visitor numbers and stem losses.
Dubai Parks and Resorts said its new Lionsgate zone would feature the world’s first rides and attractions inspired by the blockbuster movies.
Visitors will be able to take a hair-raising journey from District 12 to the Capitol on a half-pipe rollercoaster, the Capitol Bullet Train, and enjoy a 3D flight that soars over Panem.
“This is Dubai Parks and Resorts’ first full winter season, and our focus is on delivering new experiences and competitive prices to bring visitors back time and again,” said David Loiseau, vice president of sales and distribution.
“This season, ‘The Hunger Games’ fans from across the globe will be able to experience rides inspired by the blockbuster movie franchise that have never been seen anywhere in the world before.”
Mounting losses at DXB Entertainments (DXBE), which operates the theme park, have led the Dubai-listed company to reorganize its business less than a year after opening its doors.
It said this month that it had lost 286.2 million dirhams ($77.9 million) in the second quarter of the year, compared with 41.3 million dirhams a year earlier.
Riverland Dubai, the themed dining, retail and entertainment district at the center of the development, on Sunday announced a series of free events as it seeks to boost visitor numbers.
Dubai’s leisure and entertainment sector has felt the impact of slowing economic growth and a strong US dollar, to which the UAE currency is pegged, making it more expensive for tourists traveling from the euro zone, the UK and many other countries.
– Reuters


BMW picks insider Zipse as CEO to catch up with rivals

Oliver Zipse
Updated 20 July 2019
0

BMW picks insider Zipse as CEO to catch up with rivals

  • German giant has lost ground to Mercedes-Benz and Tesla as tech steps up

FRANKFURT: BMW has named Oliver Zipse as its new CEO, continuing the German carmaker’s tradition of promoting production chiefs to the top job even as the auto industry expands into new areas such as technology and services.
Hailing Zipse’s “decisive” leadership style, BMW hopes the 55-year-old can help it win back its edge in electric cars and the premium market  from rival Mercedes-Benz.
But some analysts questioned whether Zipse was the right choice with new fields such as software and services like car-sharing becoming increasingly important.
“What is intriguing is the cultural bias to appoint the head of production. It works sometimes but ... being good at building cars is not a defining edge the way it was 20 years ago,” said Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois.
Current CEO Harald Krueger, and former chiefs Norbert Reithofer, Bernd Pischetsrieder and Joachim Milberg were all former production heads.
Zipse joined BMW as a trainee in 1991 and served as head of brand and product strategies and boss of BMW’s Oxford plant in England before joining the board.
He will become chief executive on Aug. 16, taking over from Krueger who said he would not be available for a second term.
“With Oliver Zipse, a decisive strategic and analytical leader will assume the Chair of the Board of Management of BMW. He will provide fresh momentum in shaping  the future,” said Reithofer.
Zipse helped expand BMW’s efficient production network in Hungary, China and the US, in a move that delivered industry-leading profit margins.
Under Krueger, BMW was overtaken in 2016 by Mercedes-Benz as the best-selling luxury car brand.
It also had an early lead over US  rival Tesla in electric cars, but scaled back ambitions after its i3 model failed to sell large numbers.
Reithofer initially championed Krueger’s low-key consensus-seeking leadership, but pressured him to roll out electric vehicles more aggressively, forcing Krueger to skip the Paris Motor Show in 2016 to reevaluate BMW’s electric strategy.
Krueger’s reluctance to push low-margin electric vehicles led to an exodus of talented electric vehicle experts, including Christian Senger, now Volkswagen’s (VW) board member responsible for software, and Audi’s Markus Duesmann, who is seen as a future CEO of the company.
Both were poached by VW CEO Herbert Diess, a former BMW board member responsible for research who was himself passed over for BMW’s top job in 2015.
VW has since pushed a radical 80 billion euro ($90 billion) electric car mass production strategy, and a sweeping alliance with Ford.

Other skills
“A CEO needs to have an idea for how mobility will evolve in the future. This goes far beyond optimising an existing business,” said Carsten Breitfeld, chief executive of China-based ICONIQ motors, and former BMW engineer. “He needs to build teams, attract talent, and promote a culture oriented along consumer electronics and internet dynamics.”
German manufacturers have dominated the high-performance market for decades, but analysts warn shifts towards sophisticated technology and software is opening the door to new challengers.
“Tesla has a lead of three to four years in areas like software and electronics. There is a risk that the Germans can’t catch up,” UBS analyst Patrick Hummel said.
Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport car magazine, normally quick to champion German manufacturers, this week ran a cover questioning BMW’s future.
“Production expertise is important, but if you want to avoid ending up being a hardware provider for Google or Apple, you need to have the ability to move up the food chain into data and software,” a former BMW board member said.