September 21, 2006
Disneyland Brand Not Working in China
The Disneyland brand does not seem to have the same cachet in Hong Kong as elsewhere despite the best efforts of the company to appeal to Chinese vacationers.
The problems they have faced in China are myriad, from workers striking over low pay and hot costumes to disgruntled visitors fed up with long lines or simply locked out on huge Chinese holidays. A public opinion poll taken in May shows that 70% of Hong Kong people now have a negative opinion of Disney.
The problem is Disney’s inability, despite its best efforts, to assimilate into the culture: Asians are not as interested in scary roller coasters as Americans, instead preferring more sedate pleasures and opportunities to take photographs.
Disney’s market researchers have found that while Chinese familiarity with the Disney brand is high, familiarity with the Disney theme park concept is lacking. One executive said, simply, that Hong Kong people “need to understand what Buzz Lightyear is" before the Disneyland brand can take off.
Meanwhile, Disney’s biggest competitor in China is 30 year old Ocean Park, a much more sedate water park that has more brand name recognition and fewer crowds based on the California Sea World model.
Although, as Jared Huber correctly explains, it seems likely that Disney will bounce back, given the multiple touch points between China and the Disney. So, it seems that the Disney corporate brand name in China is insulated from the Disneyland Hong Kong brand.
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