China can sustain three Disney theme parks, Shanghai's leading tourism official has said, implying that a Disneyland there would not pose a threat to the Hong Kong park.
"China has a population of 1.4 billion or 1.5 billion. It will not be a problem even if there are three Disneylands here," Li Bincheng , director of the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration's international tourism promotion department, said when asked about the competition with Hong Kong Disneyland if Shanghai built a theme park.
He said the cost and distance people needed to travel to reach the parks were the factors that determined which Disneyland tourists would visit, rather than which city they were in.
"Guangdong and Guangxi residents will still go to Hong Kong Disneyland," he said.
But Mr Li, who made the comments when hosting a dinner for travel representatives from Hong Kong and Macau, said the entrance fee for the proposed Shanghai Disneyland had not been discussed yet. He said the park might be 10 times bigger than the one in Hong Kong - the smallest Disneyland in the world - and even larger than the one in Tokyo.
A spokeswoman for the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau said that regardless of whether there would be one more Disneyland in the region, Hong Kong Disneyland would have to constantly increase its appeal and improve its operation in response to changes in the market.
Raymond So Wai-man, associate professor in Chinese University's finance department, said China could support three Disneyland theme parks only if every one of the 1.3 billion mainlanders were affluent.
Noting that the tourism project had yet to be approved by the State Council, Mr Li said the venture would not be modelled on the Hong Kong Disneyland deal. "Enterprises, instead of the mainland government, will pay for the park," he said.
A spokesman for Disney said no deal had been agreed to and no project had been approved, although the company had submitted a joint application to build a park with the Shanghai government to the central government.