China’s billionaire tycoon of Wanda Group, Wang Jianlin, challenges Disney to be the “world’s best” in the theme park industry. Wang stated publicly that his company intends to hinder Disney from being profitable in the Mainland over 10 to 20 years.
“The frenzy of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and the era of blindly following them have passed. Disney is entirely cloning previous intellectual properties, cloning previous products, with no more innovation,” he said with confidence.
The Associated Press received an email reply from Disney stated that “Wang’s comments were not worthy of a response.”
Disney’s Shanghai park is set to open in June 2016. The park was supposed to open in late 2015, but several problems delayed the grand opening. The architecture is based on Shanghai’s traditional Shikumen-style and the Chinese zodiac.
Wanda currently owns three theme park resorts in the Mainland. Nanchang, part of Wanda City, comprises of theme parks, hotels, shopping mall, restaurants, ocean park, film park, and cinemas. “Wanda City is the new global culture and tourism brand that Wanda is striving to build,” said Wanda spokesman, Liu Mingsheng. “Disney is an old brand, while Wanda is a new one.”
“We have a strategy: One tiger cannot compete with a pack of wolves. Shanghai has one Disney, but Wanda has 15 to 20 [theme parks] across China,” added Wang.