Disney's Great Leap Into China
Disneyland has long been a source of American tradition and fun. However, American tradition does not always suit well. Disney has recently started construction on a Disneyland in Hong Kong. Due to communist ideas, and clashes between American and Chinese traditions, this project has been forced to make many compromises to fit both the Chinese and the Americans.
The new Disneyland in Hong Kong is schedules to open September 12th, and marks Disney's biggest infiltration into China's recently booming market. With a large population like China's, with 290 million people under the age of 14, China has become the perfect market for amusement parks like Disneyland. Disney has opened businesses in China before, with 1,100 Chinese Disney store outlets. Many Disney movies have been shown in Chinese theaters.
Hong Kong Disneyland presents such a unique predicament for its engineers because it needs to have the perfect combination of Chinese and American traditions. When Disney wanted to serve shark-fin soup at banquets, the Chinese felt that Disney was trying too hard to be Chinese. However, Euro Disney failed after having too little European culture in the park, showing the need to have Chinese influences in the park. Thus, Disney has made critical changes to the park, while still keeping its American influences. Mulan, a heroine of traditional Chinese stories as well as a Disney movie character, has her own pavilion the garden. Mickey Mouse has to wear traditional Chinese clothes, and restaurants now have Chinese food.
As of now, Disney is still trying to find a perfect balance in its new Chinese enterprise. Disney needs to find a perfect combination of the American tradition in the theme park, while still making the Chinese feel at home. Only in this way can Disney hope to turn a profit in China while exporting a bit of its authentic American culture to the Chinese.