Hong Kong Disneyland When Big Business Meets Feng Shui Superstition And Numerology 1

Topics: The Walt Disney Company, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Disneyland Paris Pages: 6 (2610 words) Published: April 22, 2015
PART A

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CASE STUDY 3
Hong Kong Disneyland: when big business meets feng shui,
superstition and numerology

124

John Kweh, School of Marketing, University of South Australia and Justin Cohen, Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, University of South Australia

E N V I R O N M E N TA L A N A LY S I S O F I N T E R N AT I O N A L M A R K E T S

BACKGROUND
Disney, one of the world’s most recognised
brands, launched its most recent theme park in
Hong Kong in 2005. Hong Kong Disneyland, the
fifth theme park globally, was created to service
the Hong Kong market, but more strategically to
reach the rapidly growing Chinese market. Hong
Kong Disneyland is located on Lantau Island, 10
minutes from the Hong Kong International
airport and 30 minutes from the city via the
subway (Holson 2005).
The theme park is a joint venture between the
Walt Disney Co. and the Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region (HKSAR) government
(Landreth 2005). The theme park is Disney’s
smallest at 745 hectares, but still consists of four
distinct entertainment arenas: Main Street USA,
Fantasyland, Adventureland and Tomorrowland.
Hong Kong Disneyland is based on the Anaheim,
California original (Landreth 2005).
Hong Kong has been chosen as the steppingstone into the vast Chinese market as most Chinese have not grown up with Disney (Miller

2007). Another theme park in Shanghai is tentatively planned for 2010. Hong Kong, a capitalist economy where English is prevalent, maintains a
sound legal and judiciary system and good corporate governance (Fong 1995). Thus Hong Kong has been an ideal choice for many corporations to
launch into China. PricewaterhouseCoopers
predicts a 25.2% rise in Chinese entertainment
and media spending through to 2009, making
China the fastest growing market for entertainment in Asia (Landreth 2005). This can be attributed to the rapid growth of the middle class in China, compounded with the reinvestment of
money by overseas Chinese in their now-flourishing country.

MICKEY MOUSE GOES GLOBAL
In 1983, Tokyo Disneyland was launched in Japan
with a huge success. This seemed to bode well for
Disney because it cloned its American theme park
and reproduced it in Tokyo. Unfortunately, this
proved to be a false sense of security for its
overseas expansion. Disney next set its sights on a
market and culture much closer to home.
Its next project was Euro Disney, launched in
Paris in 1992. Cultural sensitivity issues marred
EuroDisneyland (now known as Disneyland Paris)
from the first day. Disney was accused of ignoring
French culture and criticised for exporting
American imperialism in its European venture
(Brennan 2004) The issues regarding language,
alcohol consumption and pricing of tickets and
merchandise damaged the Disney brand
(Brennan 2004). Euro Disney received negative
publicity and headlines such as ‘Disney is cultural
Chernobyl’ (‘The horns of a dilemma’, Economist,

In order to reach a balance between Disney tradition and French culture, Stephen Burke, the then vice president in charge of park operations and
marketing at EuroDisney made a number of
changes to retain Disney’s image while still
adapting to the French culture. First, the name
EuroDisney was changed to a more nationalistic
Paris Disneyland, so that the French would be
more receptive to it (Anonymous 1998).
Burke’s strategies to retain Disney’s image
included:
• focusing on hiring an outgoing and friendly
Disney cast;
• increased training;
• the placement of additional Disney characters
throughout the park.
Burke’s strategies to adapt Disney to the
French culture included:
• removing the ban on alcohol in the theme
park;
• lowering the corporate Disney premium on
admission, merchandise, hotels and food;
• relaxing Disney’s hierarchical management
structure;

DISNEY FOLLOWS MULAN HOME
Disney had one...

Bibliography: Brennan, Y.M. (2004) ‘When Mickey loses face:
recontextualization, semantic fit, and the semiotics of
Anonymous (1998) ‘Balancing tensions: Stephen Burke’,
MIT Sloan Management Review, Vol
on 12 September 2005, at exactly 1 p.m., a date
and time believed to be most auspicious according to the Chinese Almanac (Miller 2007).
Kong’ 2005).
English-only policy for staff when it first opened
(Brennan 2004).
CHAPTER 3
Hong Kong’ 2005)
(Miller 2007). Feng shui practices at Hong Kong
Disneyland are prevalent
of the theme park was shifted 12 degrees to
maximise good energy flow (Holson 2005)
incense burning was customary upon the completion of each building (Holson 2005).
flow out the back of the park (Holson 2005). To
ensure a balance of the five elements of feng shui,
some areas have been designated as ‘no fire
zones’ (Lee 2005)
ensure that there were no kitchens in these areas
(Lee 2005).
‘death’ in Cantonese and Mandarin and is considered unlucky (Yardley 2006). On the other hand,
the number eight, considered lucky, is used extensively (Yardley 2006)
wealth. For example, the main ballroom of one of
the hotels is 888 square feet (Ho 2006)
ease’ (‘Disney uses feng shui to build Mickey’s new
kingdom in Hong Kong’ 2005)
(Yardley 2006). Hong Kong Disneyland opened
PART A
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