Disney looks to Asia for new theme parks- Knight Ridder- 5/7/05
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ORLANDO, Fla. - Walt Disney Co. executives are looking overseas for theme-park expansion, and mainland China is the next likely location.
Another company hot spot is India, the site of a recent visit by top Disney officials.
The strategic shift to the Far East is beginning with Hong Kong Disneyland, scheduled to open in September.
Jay Rasulo, president of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, said a park on mainland China is now a good bet, as the country is growing economically and in population.
"I imagine some day there could be a second Disney destination in China," Rasulo said during an interview. He called the Hong Kong park - the company's 11th - "a beachhead for the Walt Disney Co. in China," and "our first theme park in China."
The company has been negotiating with Beijing for some time to build a park in Shanghai, which, with 20 million people, is more populous than the state of Florida.
Rasulo's comments about the good prospects for a China park back up Disney Co. President Robert Iger's growing emphasis on Disney's growth potential in China and India, the world's two most populous countries.
Iger, the incoming chief executive officer, and outgoing CEO Michael Eisner traveled to India last week, but Iger said Wednesday that the trip was only to talk about the recent launch of the Disney Channel there.