Dis­ney Shang­hai poised to lure mil­lions

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By WANG ZHUOQIONG and SHI JING in Shang­hai

Shang­hai Dis­ney Re­sort, which opens on Thurs­day, will at­tract up to 50 mil­lion vis­i­tors ev­ery year, ac­cord­ing to an­a­lysts.

The in­flux will re­sult in an­nual sales rev­enue of 40 bil­lion yuan ($6.06 bil­lion), the an­a­lysts from Changjiang Se­cu­ri­ties wrote in a re­port.

Ac­cord­ing to the Shang­hai Mu­nic­i­pal Peo­ple’s Gov­ern­ment Re­search Cen­ter, the $5.5 bil­lion theme park is ex­pected to con­trib­ute about 0.8 per­cent of the city’s GDP this year, which is es­ti­mated to rise by 6.5 per­cent from 2.5 tril­lion yuan in 2015.

Walt Dis­ney Co Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Bob Iger said on Wed­nes­day that Dis­ney’s first theme park on the Chi­nese main­land and the sixth world­wide is de­signed to be “au­then­ti­cally Dis­ney’’ but also “dis­tinctly Chi­nese”.

Iger said it is im­por­tant that the Shang­hai park of­fers “au­then­tic Dis­ney” but en­sures that this is done in a way that re­spects the lo­cal cul­ture and cre­ates a sense of own­er­ship in terms of lan­guage, food and en­ter­tain­ment.

He cited the ex­am­ple of Chi­nese ac­ro­bats per­form­ing in the Dis­ney mu­si­cal Tarzan: Call of the Jun­gle and the first Chi­nese pro­duc­tion of the Broad­way mu­si­cal The Lion King, which pre­miered at the Walt Dis­ney Grand The­atre at the new park on Tues­day night.

Iger said the new park has enor­mous po­ten­tial, as it had re­ceived more than 600,000 vis­i­tors dur­ing a month’s trial pe­riod ahead of Thurs­day’s grand open­ing.

“We have plenty of space to ex­pand, and we will do that sooner rather than later,” Iger said.

The 7 square kilo­me­ters that the re­sort oc­cu­pies has al­lowed it to in­vest in more at­trac­tions, in­clud­ing ad­di­tional fa­cil­i­ties.

Teng Bing­sheng, as­so­ciate dean and as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of strate­gic man­age­ment at Che­ung Kong Grad­u­ate School of Busi­ness, said Chi­nese con­sumers want the best en­ter­tain­ment prod­ucts, and com­pa­nies such as Dis­ney have a head start in this re­gard.

Kelly Ryner, pres­i­dent of Thinkwell Asia, a US-based theme park de­sign com­pany, said, “China is a huge part of this mod­ern world, and it makes com­plete sense to im­port qual­ity en­ter­tain­ment.

“The qual­ity of this park will raise the bar and en­cour­age lo­cal parks to be­come bet­ter and stronger in their own ways.”

Ad­dress­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of long waits for rides at the Shang­hai park, she said slow lines dur­ing a soft open­ing are to be ex­pected at any park and dur­ing ma­jor hol­i­day pe­ri­ods.

Con­tact the writer at wangzhuo­qiong@chi­nadaily.com. cn

GEO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY

A cast of col­or­ful char­ac­ters takes part in a pa­rade at the Shang­hai Dis­ney Re­sort on Wed­nes­day, a day ahead of its grand open­ing.

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