Today, the Disney Company is well known around the world for its theme parks based on the American Disney fantasy world. In 2007, the theme park industry was estimated at US$22.8 billion and Disney is one of the major players on this growing market. Since 2008, the company has 5 Parks and Resorts located on 3 different continents with 11 different theme parks. In September 2005, Disney opened the doors of its last Park & Resort in Hong Kong. The company did a joint venture with the Hong Kong Government investing a total of US$1.8 billion in the project. The Government, which invested US$419 million and provided the land for the project owns 57% of stake and Disney, which invested US$316, has 43%.
Disneyland has been studying the idea of opening a theme park in China since the 90s. The company finally decided to build it in Hong Kong because of the city's good infrastructure and the high level of income of its citizens compared to other Chinese cities. In 2006, the median income in Hong Kong was US$1,282 per month and the median household income was US$2,212. The city, which used to be an English colony, has a big Western influence, which makes its people more familiar with Disney characters. Hong Kong also has a large number of tourists from Mainland China and other countries. Everything was pointing out that the Hong Kong Disneyland could have been very successful. However the project didn't work out as it was expected. This failure was due to many different events and issues encountered before and after the opening of the theme park.
[...] Environmental issues The Disney Company had to face many environmental issues when it the park was still under construction. The site evaluation was criticized as being too short for a project like that. Environmental groups pointed out the fact that the construction of the park destroyed coastlines, coral, sea walls and fish spawning grounds. In 2000, more than 6 million fish died at the coastal fish farms, for which the government had to pay US$740,000 in compensations. Some historical structures from the Tang Dynasty were also lost forever under the park. [...]
[...] The Company had to face some issues involving the production of some of its merchandises in low-cost factories in China. Some of these factories offered very bad working conditions and violated many labor laws. Employees were paid under the minimum wage with social aids and insurance protections. They had to work more than 13 hours per day and were not always paid for overtime work. Disney avoided the problem by saying it wasn't it's responsibility. Competition Hong Kong Disneyland's big competitor was the Ocean Park. [...]
[...] The park had to close its doors not long after the opening because it was already overcrowded. More than 1,000 people with valid six-month tickets were restricted from entering and had to wait for hours outside the gates. Some people even tried to climb over the fences and go into the park, which caused chaos in front of TV cameras. After this very publicized event, the park was quickly labeled as very small and crowded. In a survey that was done in October of mainland tourists said they would not visit the park because of the overcrowding problems they had heard and the limited number of attractions also said that the media coverage of the park was negative and 70% had a negative opinion of it. [...]
[...] The Disney world was clearly more famous by its residents than in other Chinese cities. But even if they knew about it and appreciated it, they didn't like the fact that it was organized and managed the American way. There were not enough Chinese food and products and the park didn't incorporate any elements of the Chinese culture. Some rides and shows were also only presented in English. The management tried to overcome those problems by putting more elements of the Chinese culture but it wasn't enough. [...]
[...] The infrastructure The park was a lot criticized for being too far and too small compared to other Disney theme parks. It represents 311 acres of land located on a scenic corner of Lantau Island. The park is relatively far from the city centre and residential areas. It doesn't have as many attractions as the other parks from the same brand. The majority of them are small attractions made for families with small children. There were not enough attractions for teens and adults. The small size of the park was also very problematic. [...]
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