Asia Minute: Disney’s Mixed Fortunes in China

Jun 19, 2017

Credit Wikimedia Commons

This summer will mark six years since Disney’s Au Lani resort opened on O‘ahu. Across the Pacific, Shanghai Disneyland just passed its one year anniversary. And while it was a booming year for visitors, there are some challenges on the horizon. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

 

More than 11 million people visited Shanghai Disneyland in its first year. Blowing past expectations of the company itself and industry analysts.

 

Those same analysts warn that a chill of competition is coming.

 

Shanghai Polar Ocean World is scheduled to open next year. A Chinese company is building it about a half hour’s drive from the Disney resort.

 

In 2019, tourists and locals can look forward to Ice World – a joint venture between the Shanghai government and a Singapore property developer.

 

A couple of years after that, plans are for China’s first Legoland to open.

 

Elsewhere in Eastern China a South Korean company is planning an indoor park and Six Flags is working on an outdoor park.

 

For the moment, Disney is celebrating the success of its Shanghai venture which marks a contrast to its struggling operation further south along the coast.

 

Hong Kong Disneyland reported a loss of 22 million U.S. dollars in its latest fiscal year.

 

Visitors from mainland China were down more than twenty percent.

 

That’s not entirely new, the Hong Kong park has lost money in 8 of its 11 years in business.

 

Both of Disney’s China operations share at least one characteristic: the majority owner is not the Walt Disney Company, but the government.