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Shanghai Disney riding high and on track to overtake Hong Kong ‘rival’

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 January, 2017, 5:38pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 January, 2017, 11:32am

Shanghai Disney Resort attracted in six months almost as many visitors as its Hong Kong counterpart lures in a whole year despite harsh criticism about expensive food and long queues inside the park.

Fan Xiping, chairman of Shanghai Shendi Group, a state-backed consortium that owns 57 per cent of the 34 billion yuan (HK$38.2 billion) amusement project, said 5.6 million people – or an average of 30,000 each day – visited the complex in the second half of last year, Xinhua reported on Sunday.

“The number of 5.6 million is on par with the Disneyland in Japan and is nearly equivalent to the full-year visitor number for the Hong Kong counterpart,” he said.

In 2015, Hong Kong Disneyland attracted 6.8 million visitors.

Hongyuan Securities forecast the park, Disney’s sixth worldwide, would at least draw 10 million visitors a year.

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Speaking on the sidelines of the annual session of the city’s people’s congress and the political consultative conference, Fan said 80 per cent of visitors were satisfied with the park’s attractions and services, according to an independent survey.

Shanghai mayor Yang Xiong said in a government work report to the congress that the resort’s launch was one of the city’s major achievements last year.

Shanghai Disney Resort officially opened on June 16 after a month-long test run. It initially attracted criticism for the high cost of food and long queues inside the theme park.

Then, in the first three months after the launch, the operators controlled the number of daily tickets for sale to ensure smooth running of the mega project.

Disney and the Shanghai government have tried to play down speculation about the rivalry ­between the Disney resort and its counterparts in Hong Kong and Tokyo.

The Shanghai Disney resort mainly targets the estimated 330 million people who live within a three-hour drive of the project.

Fan said 53 per cent of the visitors were from the Yangtze River Delta region, with Shanghai residents

Disney still to find its magic in Shanghai, as early visitor numbers fall short of expectations

accounting for 27 per cent of the people passing through the gates.

The 3.9 sq km Disney resort in Shanghai is the latest manifestation of the city’s ambitions to become a world city.

Yang said on Sunday that Shanghai would press on this year with its push to transform itself into a global financial and shipping centre.

“Shanghai will further liberalise the green bond market, drive the growth of the financial technology sector with improvements to the regulatory system and complete the construction of the fourth-phase expansion of the Yangshan deep-water port,” he said.

The new container port facility at Yangshan will have a capacity to handle 4 million 20-foot-equivalent unit (teu) containers a year, adding to the roughly 15 million teus the port can handle now