Wang Jianlin is making good on his promise to drive Disney out of China with the opening of a massive entertainment complex designed to compete with the soon-to-open Shanghai Disneyland.
Located in Nanchang, the theme park is the first of a planned 15 which are set to open up across China over the next five years. It cost a reported $3 billion to construct and features rides, shopping centers and an aquarium. Speaking at yesterday’s opening, Wang did not mention Disney by name, but said that Chinese people “fawned” over Western imports.”
“Chinese culture led in the world’s for 2,000 years, but since the last 300 years, because of our lagging development and the invasion of foreign cultures, we have more or less lacked confidence in our own culture,” Wang said. “We want to be a model for Chinese private enterprise, and we want to establish a global brand for Chinese firms.”
In an interview with CCTV earlier this week, Wang made it pretty clear that he is looking to drive Disney out of the Chinese mainland. “They [Disney] shouldn’t have entered China. We have a [saying]: one tiger is no match for a pack of wolves. Shanghai has one Disney, while Wanda, across the nation, will open 15 to 20. Disneyland is fully built on American culture. We place importance on local culture.”
Bloomberg reports that the tickets for the Nanchang park are priced at 198 yuan on most days and 248 yuan at peak times. In comparison the Shanghai Disneyland is twice as expensive, charging 370 yuan for regular tickets and 499 yuan at peak times.
Wanda has grown considerably in the last few years, expanding past its successful real estate business into entertainment. In addition to developing 99 plazas across China and acquiring the cinema chain AMC in 2012, Wanda also acquired Hollywood’s Legendary Entertainment earlier this year.
Shanghai Disney doesn’t seem too worried. Despite some unanticipated speed bumps, Disney still expects 10 million visitors this year and the Shanghai government hopes that they will all be on their best behavior.