Mickey to set up shop in Shanghai (2)

09:35, November 05, 2009      

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Disney has never publicly disclosed its Hong Kong attendance figures, but the South China Morning Post, quoting sources familiar with the park, has said that attendance this year is expected to edge up slightly to 4.5 million. The annual number of visitors has see-sawed, reaching about 5.2 million in the first year, then dropping to 4.17 million before rebounding to 4.48 million in 2007-08.

The Shanghai park will be Asia's third Disney-themed offering, after Hong Kong's and Tokyo's, which opened in 1983.

Hong Kong Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Rita Lau said China can afford to have two Disneylands, saying, "Our nation has 1.3 billion people, and its economic development provides huge potential for the market."

Hong Kong Tourism Board Chairman James Tien told reporters that the impact of Shanghai Disneyland on Hong Kong wouldn't be significant, because nearly half of the 1.6 million mainland tourists visiting Hong Kong Disneyland are from Guangdong Province.

In the Global Entertainment and Media Outlook: 2007-2011, a report released by consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, it was noted that the Asia-Pacific region will eventually become the world's fastest-growing in terms of theme parks.

The total consumption is estimated to increase from $6.2 billion in 2006 to $81 billion in 2011, with an annual increase of 5.5 percent. Total visitors are expected to increase from 244 million in 2006 to 284 million in 2010, with an annual increase of 3 percent.

The report also indicated that the main reason for the development is the increase of disposable income in China and India.

Nonetheless, Disney's ability to turn a profit in Shanghai remains in question, especially with its high estimated construction costs.

Several big State-owned firms in Shanghai plan to form a joint venture with Disney to invest in the project, local officials told Xinhua without citing examples.

An opinion carried by the Beijing News yesterday urged transparency over the project, arguing that State-owned companies will hold a 57 percent stake in the park.

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