Disney: Losing Magic in the Middle Kingdom
With a revenue of $10.6 billion, Disney was one the global players in the theme park entertainment industry. The first Disneyland theme park was opened successfully in California in 1955, following Disneyland theme parks in Florida, Tokyo and a less successful one in France. In order to raise awareness of the brand “Disney” in China, another Disneyland was to be set up in Hong Kong in cooperation with its government. Hong Kong was thought to be well suited as a location for a new park, the population was receptive to foreign and new things and, due to Disney’s presence in television and cinema, children were familiar with the Disney characters. On the other hand, there were many characteristics of the Hong Kong population, which contradicted Disney’s factors of success. First of all, the number of children in Hong Kong, Disney’s target audience, was quite low and expected to drop in the future. Second, parents focused on their children’s education and not their entertainment. Inhabitants were known to be very busy and impatient, making them unsuited for rides with long waiting time. As experienced in Tokyo, the biggest group of adult visitors was married women having the time to take their children to the park. Because women in Hong Kong usually kept on working after marrying, another target group was unreachable in Hong Kong. For Hong Kong’s inhabitants their entertainment had to be convenient, comfortable, fast and inexpensive, characteristics that Disneyland didn’t fulfil. Last but not least, tourists visiting Hong Kong were either mainlanders, who weren’t familiar with Disney, or overseas, who travelled there to experience the authentic Hong Kong feel. Nevertheless Disneyland Hong Kong was being built. During preparations for the park, it already angered environmental groups as well as bad press. The construction had destroyed the nature at the site and harmed the environment. In the attempt to...
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