Wanda's chief bombards Shanghai Disneyland

By Guo Yiming
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, May 24, 2016
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Wang Jianlin, chairman of China's Dalian Wanda Group Co. [Photo/Xinhua] 

The billionaire behind China's Dalian Wanda Group asserted that its rival Walt Disney may face huge obstacles when operating in the country as the iconic US firm is due to unveil its largest theme park in the Chinese mainland next month.

"At Wanda, I always say we want to ensure that Disney is not profitable in the next 10 to 20 years with its business in China," said Wang Jianlin, China's richest man and chairman of the real estate and entertainment conglomerate, making a rarely bold remark during an interview with the country's state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) on May 22.

Wang cited Walt Disney's overreliance on its past intellectual properties, such as the age-old characters of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, and a lack of new business models and innovation will not generate overseas success in this generation and that its outdoor entertainment park does not suit Shanghai's rainy summer and cold winter.

Disney and its Chinese partner have spent close to $5.5 billion on the Shanghai theme park.

The billionaire expressed doubt over the high cost of building such a theme park in China and believed that it must charge high prices from customers in order to balance the books. But it will also turn them off.

Various media outlets reported recently that Disneyland visitors have complained about the costly food after visiting the park during a test run earlier this month.

A report by web portal Sina.com said that almost all meals in the park sold for at least 70 yuan (10.7 U.S. dollars) each, and that the park is charging 6 yuan for a single steamed bun.

The diversified conglomerate identified tourism as a major growth area in the long term. Investments in the entertainment industry and the acquisition of tourist spots overseas have gradually become a primary focus for Wanda.

It has opened over a dozen entertainment parks all over the country, catering to China's growing middle class and their surging demand for tourism, leisure and entertainment.

"There is only one Disneyland on the Chinese mainland but we have much more resorts across the country and are quickly expanding," said Wanda's chief who is quite confident in his business.

Given that every Wanda Park is unique and seems to innovate constantly, Shanghai's Disneyland might not be a challenge for us, implied Wang.

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