The Walt Disney Company creates entertainment experiences with different groups of individuals, both young and old, through its different brands. TV networks, parks, studio entertainment, products for consumers and experiences are the main company's offerings. The media networks are divided into two groups: the ABC Television Group and the ESPN Inc. that also comprise of the Disney Channel, The Walt Disney Studios, The Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios and more. The Disney's franchises, stories, and characters are brought to life through Parks and Resorts, apps, books, stores, attires, and toys. For example, the Disney parks in Paris and Hong Kong, the Disney Resorts in Paris and Shanghai, and the cruise lines. The company pursues to develop the world's most profitable, state-of-the-art entertainment experiences as well as products. Disney operates in more than 40 countries globally. Currently, Disney exists in Japan, Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East ("Walt Disney", n. d).
China and its characteristics
In the continent of Asia, China is the largest country. It has a population of approximately 1.4 billion, making it the country with the highest population in the world. It has 33 units of administration. This consists of 2 special regions of administration that is Macau and Hong Kong, four municipalities consisting of Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Beijing, 22 provinces and five independent regions. Beijing is the capital of China. Moreover, Beijing is the center of communications, cultural and economic epicenter of the country. Hong Kong is the country's most important port, and Shanghai is the major industrial city (Gardella et al., 2017)
The country is ethnically homogenous. Even with that, there exist regional linguistic and cultural differences. It is culturally and economically prosperous. Due to its distinct politico-cultural component, much of its cultural development has been achieved with comparatively very little influence from the outside world. The political geography of the country was reshaped during the early 20th century when the country found itself secluded during the industrial revolution period (Wei, 2018). This has since helped the country to become among one of the world's most influential countries. China can shape the financial fate of any given nation mainly because of China's increased integration level and its size in the economy (Economy, 2017).
However, the regulatory environment of the country's economy has not been consistent with the rapid expansion of the economy. Based on the purchasing power parity of the country, its economy produced 23.12 trillion USD. Compared to the 59,500 USD gross domestic product per capita of the U.S.A., the country is still considered relatively poor regarding the living standard of its people, since the GDP is only 16,600 USD per capita. The workers in China are paid less than the workers in America due to the low standards of living (Ke, 2018). Therefore, products are cheaper and attractive to manufactures to outsource jobs to the country. The finished manufactured products are then shipped to other continents and countries (Costa, 2018). The country has become a manufacturing hub with specialties in labor-intensive and export-led production of goods that are cheaper (Financial Times, 2018).
Low-cost equipment and machinery exports are the building blocks of the growth in the economy of China. Infrastructure such as railways construction has also supported this growth. China is also the world's leading exporter through the export of electrical machinery and equipment, clothing, textiles, fabric, and steel (Financial Times, 2018). It is also the second biggest importer in the world. It imports raw materials such as copper, aluminum, oil, plastics, organic chemicals and more from Africa and Latin America (Gardella et al., 2017).
The government of China deliberately slows down its growth rate. This is achieved through low rates of interests in banks that have eventually created inflation, a bubble in the real estate asset, public debt growth that has made many citizens heavy in debt and severe water air and land pollution through industrial wastewaters, greenhouse gas emissions and the population pressure that has caused stress in the ecosystem functions (Costa, 2018).
As mentioned by Akrur Barau and Dr. Daniel Bachman (2017), Consumers prefer to purchase experiences rather than things. This trend is rapidly growing, and it influences the continuing fast emergences of theme parks. Theme parks boost the economies of host countries- the theme park in Europe led to an economic growth percentage of 4.6 while the parks in Paris and Spain boosted their host country's economy by 12.6 and 15.7 percent respectively. Disney has continuously given sponsorships to various events such as sporting events (Richards, 2002).
Disney in China
The Shanghai Disney Resort was opened in the mainland of China on June 16th, 2016 (Weiss et al., 2017). It consists of the Enchanted Storybook Castle, the Adventure Isle, the Fantasyland, the Gardens of Imagination, the Tomorrowland, Treasure Cove and the Mickey Avenue. Moreover a Disney town as well as hotels that are creatively designed and inspired by Disney exist. The park has also been partnering with some respectable companies in the city to convey goods and services to the visitors at the park. This has had a positive impact on the local economy by offering new business prospects and jobs to the inhabitants of the region ("Walt Disney," n. d). During the opening of the Disney Resort in Shanghai, a total of 3.1 million USD donation fund was given to create play spaces and therapeutic play activities with the Disney theme in children's hospitals across the country to help them go through and recuperate from the treatment process (Ke, 2018).
The Hong Kong Disneyland was officially opened in September 2005. It has three theme lands comprising of the Adventureland, the Fantasyland, and the Tomorrowland. It has The Jungle River Cruise and the Festivals of the Lion King that gives the visitors an exotic experience of the Adventureland. The Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and the Disney Hollywood Hotel are all Disney-themed to provide guests with the Disney world experience ("Walt Disney," n, d).
The Disney theme parks in China are a massive opportunity for the entertainment industry and the other potentially profitable markets (Richards, 2002). Even though, with China's slow economic growth, surges of nationalism and the theme park rivals, the theme parks are attracting potential investors in regards to various industries such as online marketers, film, and merchandise. Potential investors have continuously shown interest in various sector of the economy that is both, directly and indirectly, related to the Disney theme parks such as hotels and film industries (Costa, 2018). The government as well as a stake in these parks. Hence, they have a role to play to ensure the prosperity and sustainability of these parks.
About 330 million people that live within a three-hour trip and afford to visit these parks are representing the massive group of potential visitors or clients. These parks have provided employment opportunities to the citizens with more than 10,000 employees in Shanghai Disneyland alone, with an addition of more than 5,000 cast members hired and trained at the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort (Deng, 2011). Disney parks have also created more thousands of indirect opportunities for professionals in the culture and tourism industries. Also, thousands of the locals are often provided with job opportunities during the construction phases ("Walt Disney," n. d).
The Disney VoluntEARS (a group of volunteers in the Disney world) in China has continuously spread the love across the country. In Hong Kong, the group's outreach to the hospitals and the earthquake victims have made a positive impact on the lives of people both directly and indirectly. On the other hand, the group in Shanghai bring joy to the elderly through songs and dances at the community centers in the local areas. Other than that, these groups have helped in building new houses for the locals, proper drainage systems installation, and provision of books and other essential stationeries to the local schools ("Walt Disney," n. d). The Hong Kong Disneyland in collaboration with the National Basketball Association (NBA) have worked together to help elevate the literacy level and ensured public awareness on the importance of education in both Beijing, Shanghai and the country as a whole ("Walt Disney," n. d).
With the increase in the upper-middle class and prosperous households in the country, the country's Gross Domestic Product has continued to increase (Economy, 2017). The Hong Kong Disneyland is projected to bring a benefit of 148 million USD within its first 40 years after inaugural to Hong Kong exclusively (Financial Times, 2018).
Barua, A., & Bachman, D. (2018, August). The consumer rush to "experience": Truth or fallacy? Retrieved from https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/economy/behind-the-numbers/are-consumers-spending-more-on-experience.htmlCosta, P. (2018).
The Scariest Economic Chart In The World Right Now May Come From China. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/pedrodacosta/2018/11/25/the-scariest-economic-chart-in-the-world-right-now-may-come-from-chinaDeng, X. (2011). The development of theme parks in China. Research Papers.
Economy, E. C. (2017). History with Chinese Characteristics: How China's Imagined Past Shapes Its Present. Foreign Affairs, 96, 141.
Financial Times. (2018). China: The Soft Superpower. Retrieved from https://www.ft.com/china-soft-superpowerGardella, R., McElderry, A., & Leonard, J. K. (2017). Chinese Business History: Interpretive Trends and Priorities for the Future: Interpretive Trends and Priorities for the Future. Routledge.
Ke, Y. C. (2018). A Study on the Factors Affecting Entry Mode Decisions and Business Strategies of Tokyo Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland.
Richards, G. (2002). Marketing China overseas: The Role of Theme Parks and Tourist Attractions. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 8(1), 28-38.
Walt Disney. Retrieved from https://www.thewaltdisneycompany.com/about/ and https://www.thewaltdisneycompany.com/search/disney+china
Wei, W. (2018). Understanding Values of Souvenir Purchase in the Contemporary Chinese Culture: A Case of Shanghai Disney. Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, 10, 36-48.
Weiss, E. N., Yemen, G., & Maiden, S. E. (2017). Shanghai Disneyland: Authentically Disney and Distinctly Chinese.
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