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Disney opens first theme park in mainland China

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People take pictures of Mickey Mouse (in foreground) after the opening ceremony of the Shanghai Disney Resort in Shanghai yesterday

AFP - Entertainment giant Disney opened a massive theme park in Shanghai yesterday, hoping to win over communist-ruled China’s growing middle class with the ultimate American cultural export.


Thousands waited in long lines in the rain-drenched park, hoping to be among the first to ride attractions such as a futuristic rollercoaster based on the “Tron” science fiction films. The opening comes after tragedy struck Disney’s resort in the US state of Florida, where an alligator killed a two-year-old child at the shore of a lake in the massive complex.


 The Shanghai resort is the US company’s sixth in the world and the first in mainland China -- there is already one in Hong Kong.
Workers broke ground on the project in 2011 and the Shanghai Disney Resort now sprawls over 3.9 square kilometres (1.5 square miles) on the city’s outskirts, with a fairy-tale castle soaring over the horizon.


But the launch of the $5.5-billion resort, representing one of the biggest ever foreign investments in China, comes as growth in the world’s second largest economy slumps to its lowest level in a quarter century.


Still, the world’s most populous country is simply too big to ignore, Disney chairman and chief executive Bob Iger said.
“We wanted to make a strong statement. After all, this is the largest market in the world,” he told journalists before the park opened.

The Shanghai resort is the US company’s sixth in the world and the first in mainland China -- there is already one in Hong Kong.
Workers broke ground on the project in 2011 and the Shanghai Disney Resort now sprawls over 3.9 square kilometres (1.5 square miles) on the city’s outskirts, with a fairy-tale castle soaring over the horizon.


But the launch of the $5.5-billion resort, representing one of the biggest ever foreign investments in China, comes as growth in the world’s second largest economy slumps to its lowest level in a quarter century.


Still, the world’s most populous country is simply too big to ignore, Disney chairman and chief executive Bob Iger said.
“We wanted to make a strong statement. After all, this is the largest market in the world,” he told journalists before the park opened.

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