Dis­ney vows ac­tion as snow white ap­pears at Wanda Park

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

BEIJING: Walt Dis­ney Co. said it's pre­pared to take ac­tion to pro­tect its in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights af­ter per­form­ers dressed as Snow White and Cap­tain Amer­ica were sighted at Dalian Wanda Group Co.'s new theme park and en­ter­tain­ment com­plex in China.

"We vig­or­ously pro­tect our in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty and will take ac­tion to ad­dress in­fringe­ment," the com­pany said in an e-mailed state­ment Mon­day in re­sponse to Bloomberg News queries about the char­ac­ters, who re­sem­bled the Dis­ney ones, that were on dis­play at Wanda's park over the week­end. "Our char­ac­ters and sto­ries have de­lighted gen­er­a­tions, these il­le­gal and sub­stan­dard im­i­ta­tions un­for­tu­nately dis­ap­point all who ex­pect more." Bil­lion­aire Wang Jian­lin on Satur­day of­fi­cially opened the Wanda City park in Nan­chang, the first of his con­glom­er­ate's 15 planned theme park and en­ter­tain­ment projects in China that it hopes will help it un­seat Dis­ney as the world's largest tourism op­er­a­tor. Just over a week ago, Wang pub­licly chal­lenged the Bur­bank, Cal­i­for­nia com­pany, say­ing that Dis­ney's "one tiger" - its Shang­hai Dis­ney Re­sort to open on June 16 -- "is no match for a pack of wolves" that Wanda plans to un­leash. The com­pa­nies are vy­ing for dom­i­nance of China's $610 bil­lion tourism in­dus­try, which the gov­ern­ment pre­dicts will dou­ble by 2020 amid a grow­ing mid­dle class. "The non-Wanda char­ac­ters were op­er­ated by in­di­vid­ual stores within Wanda Mall. They do not rep­re­sent Wanda," Wanda said in an state­ment Sun­day in re­sponse to Bloomberg's queries. The com­pany de­clined to com­ment on Dis­ney be­ing pre­pared to pro­tect its in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty.

The Wanda Cul­tural Tourism City, span­ning 2 square kilo­me­ters (200 hectares) in south­east­ern Jiangxi prov­ince, fea­tures a theme park, a movie park, an aquar­ium, ho­tels and re­tail stores, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany. Wanda said it ex­pects the com­plex to at­tract 10 mil­lion peo­ple a year. The peo­ple dressed as Snow White and Cap­tain Amer­i­can were spot­ted in a non-tick­eted area of the com­plex pos­ing for pic­tures with vis­i­tors. Stuffed an­i­mals re­sem­bling the char­ac­ters Kung Fu Panda and Poke­mon, which Dis­ney doesn't own, were also seen on sale. Wang, who vies with Jack Ma for the ti­tle of China's rich­est per­son on the Bloomberg Bil­lion­aires In­dex, had said he couldn't un­der­stand how Dis­ney spent $5.5 bil­lion on a park sim­i­lar in scale to the Jiangxi prov­ince project, which ac­cord­ing to Wanda's web­site, cost 21 bil­lion yuan ($3.2 bil­lion).

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