Riding the wave

Updated: 2016-06-10 08:30

By Hu Yuanyuan(China Daily Europe)

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Riding the wave

By comparison, three-day Shanghai Disney Resort packages now being offered by China Travel Service start at 2,590 yuan a person, which includes two nights at a nearby hotel and an adult ticket for the park.

Purely on ticket price, Wanda is attempting to undercut Disney. The cost of admission for one adult to the Nanchang park costs 198 yuan on weekdays and 248 yuan on weekends and holidays. For Disney, it is 370 yuan and 499 yuan respectively.

Cavender adds that Wanda and Disney have different target customers. "Disney is more appealing for those affluent middle class, while Wanda City is more attractive to those who care more about value for money," he says.

Wang Ling, who lives in Nanchang, visited Wanda City on the opening day with her 3-year-old son. Asked whether she would also take him to Shanghai Disney Resort, she answers, "Maybe someday, although I've read in news reports that the cost to visit Disney is pretty high."

Competitive pricing is not Wanda's only strength, according to some visitors.

Zhang Yiyi, a fan of theme parks from Zhejiang province, recently wrote a review online after visiting both Shanghai Disney Resort and Wanda City. He argues that the Nanchang attraction caters to a wider range of visitors, while Disney's rides and other recreational facilities are tailored more for children.

For the American company, however, its biggest advantage could be its name.

"Disney is one of the strongest, iconic brands in the world today," says Brad Burgess, director of Burson-Marsteller China, a branch of the global public relations company. "Although Disney originated in the US, the brand's appeal spans cultures, political preferences, ages and people groups. These are traditionally seen as divisive, and the strength of the Disney brand crosses these barriers.

"This is what makes the company unique, its appeal to both the hearts and minds of its audiences. So Chinese brands will need to develop a similar appeal, and I trust they can do this over time. But regarding the China market, there are few playbooks and sometimes it's anybody's guess."

Burgess believes Disney's challenge in China will be becoming as localized as possible while still maintaining its core essence.