Chinese Cave Listed on the Stock Market

Nov 30, 2011
J. Webster
Comments Off on Chinese Cave Listed on the Stock Market

I’m wondering if Muddy Waters is going to come out with a research report about this Chinese tourist attraction cave that’s listed on the stock market. I’m guessing it might just be too easy for them though and they’ll pass. This cave of course is easily muddied with a bit of rain or even, God forbid, a flood let’s say.

The cave is sort of like a mini Disneyland underground, with multicolored lights and an “exciting” luge ride”. I think they even hand out free candy. The Chinese cave is known as the “Underground Grand Canyon”. I’m going to take a wild guess and bet you’re more apt to throw your money at this cave than say the up coming Facebook IPO. In truth though, you might be better off buying shares in this cave than say GroupOn or LinkedIn.

The tourist attraction, located off a small road exiting the millet- and corn-growing village of Yishui in the plains of Shandong, is the brainchild of Zhang, the local magnate who in 2004 leased the cave from Linyi officials for nearly 60 years.

With its rock-shaped ticket booths and brightly lit caverns, the cave tourism business attracted more than 670,000 visitors last year, the company says. By comparison, more than 3.6 million visitors visited Yellowstone National Park, the oldest national park in the United States, that year. (Yellowstone is not listed, nor is the U.S. Grand Canyon in Arizona).

Linyi’s Underground Grand Canyon generates revenue from ticket sales, selling luge rides and entrance passes to other attractions in the cave. The firm also keeps stacks of Chinese wine in round earthen jars in the cave, which they sell to visitors.

Zhang made his ambition of listing the caves clear as early as 2007, when he said in an interview with a local tourism website that he wanted to see the company, Shandong Longkong Travel Development Co Ltd, go public as a marker for him and his employees and to make it easier to get bank loans.

“An IPO means going public and it could enormously enhance Longkong’s brand reputation. Media gives far more attention to public companies than private companies. The company could leverage this intangible asset to help it get credit more easily and attract more talent in the future,” Zhang said.

Read full story over at Reuters.

Note: The above image isn’t the actual cave but another one in China. Took artistic license to post this pic as representative of what the cave tour is like. Can’t be too much different. Oh yeah, I’ve heard they charge you if you want to wear a life jacket.

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