Disney in China

When Shanghai first announced plans to build a Disneyland theme-park, the pundits in Hong Kong got scared and freaked out.

Their fears turned out mostly to be an overreaction given that Shanghai Disneyland turned out to be smaller than Hong Kong Disneyland, at least according to the Central Government’s plans. The plans released indicator Shanghai Disney to be 116 hectares compared to Hong Kong’s 126 hectares. Fear and concern over a failing HK Disneyland have by in-large subsided, after all, Shanghai Disney isn’t going to be around for quite a few years.

However, the scholars and pundits had one very true point. That HK needs to be ready to compete with Shanghai’s Disney when it comes. It may be planned smaller, but the long view is that Shanghai Disney will expand to be at least double the size of Hong Kong. Shanghai falls squarely within Mainland China, removing the need for visas or tour groups as is the case for Hong Kong Disneyland. What’s more, Hong Kong being so far south makes it difficult to compete with the likes of Shanghai who is situated squarely at the centre of Middle Kingdom and is easily accessible for all parties, not just Southern China.

Holistically speaking, there is still time before Shanghai Disney’s opening and much room for Hong Kong Disneyland to build up a strong foundation. But time is tight and we risk loosing out unless something is done quickly. Hong Kong can’t afford to loose it’s comparative advantage.