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Disney to make Shanghai park 'even bigger' amid China potential

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 11:39
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Walt Disney Co has hosted over 600,000 visitors at its first theme park in mainland China since trial operations started early May, and its "enormous potential" has already prompted Disney to expand the resort, said Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger.

[SHANGHAI] Walt Disney Co has hosted over 600,000 visitors at its first theme park in mainland China since trial operations started early May, and its "enormous potential" has already prompted Disney to expand the resort, said Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger.

"After we broke ground we paused to really recognise the growth of China's tourism and Shanghai visitation and the general growth in the Chinese market and we decided to build something even bigger," Mr Iger said in a briefing at Shanghai Disneyland on Wednesday, a day before the resort opens.

Burbank, California-based Disney has 7 sq km of land available at the site and has already started construction to expand attractions within it, Mr Iger said.

The existing resort covers about 3.9 sq km, larger than originally planned as the company added attractions including a performance based on Frozen after the movie became a hit in China, he said.

The US$5.5 billion resort is the largest foreign investment ever from the world's biggest theme-park operator and a career milestone for Mr Iger, as past international park efforts have been marked by cultural missteps and years of losses.

Shanghai's government last month estimated about one million Chinese flocked to public areas surrounding the resort, including a strip of shops and a lake, since its subway station opened April 26.

BLOOMBERG