Wang Jianlin, a billionaire real estate and entertainment mogul and one of the richest men in China, said in an interview with Chinese state television last Sunday that his company is aiming to prevent Disney from being profitable in China over the next two decades.
Wang has good reason not to welcome the new Disneyland that’s set to open in Shanghai next month, given that his own company, Dalian Wanda Group, is also in the theme park business.
He said that Shanghai was not the most suitable climate for an outdoor theme park and Disney would have to charge high ticket prices and risk losing customers – also that his company would make life difficult for Disney.
“Even a strong tiger can’t contend against a flock of wolves,” says Wang. “There is only one Disney in Shanghai, but Wanda has 15 to 20 park projects everywhere in China.”
Though the theme parks and resorts generated more than $16 billion in revenue for Disney in 2015, making them the company’s second biggest business behind TV, Wang didn’t think it would do well in China. “Disney really shouldn’t have come to China,” says Wang, “Its financial prospects don’t look good to me.”
A spokeswoman for Disney declined to comment, saying Wang’s remarks were “not worthy of a response.”
However, just after Wang’s interview was released, Chinese netizens gave their comments. Some thought Wang was too arrogant, while others said they thought it was just a gimmick. After all, as the father of Wang Sicong, an expert in attracting attention and the human embodiment of the word “punchable”, it’s not exactly unexpected.
Cover image from sina.com