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Hong Kong Government approves funding for US$1.4 billion Hong Kong Disneyland expansion
Hong Kong’s Legislative Council has approved controversial Government plans to co-finance a US$1.4 billion (HK$10.9 billion) expansion of the Hong Kong Disneyland theme park.
The expansion plan was proposed in November last year, but came under increasing fire from Legislative Council members who challenged it in finance committee and other council sessions. However, after months of procedural delays, the funding was approved by the Legislative Council this week.
The plan has been criticised following the theme park’s losses last year and publicity about Walt Disney’s continuing to receive management fees despite the facility’s poor performance.
With increasing demand for housing in the Administrative Region, some opponents have proposed that the sight should be redeveloped for housing.
In March, Disney offered to equally split the cost of the expansion, despite being the minority owner. It also offered to waive variable management fees for two financial years.
In return, the Hong Kong Government’s ownership stake will fall from 53% to 52%, while Disney’s will increase from 47% to 48%.
Welcoming the vote, Hong Kong Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Gregory So stated “we have gone through a lot of analysis. We have also pushed very hard in the negotiation. We believe that this package is really the best package that we can achieve,” said Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Gregory So.
Samuel Lau, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort added “Hong Kong Disneyland Resort’s multi-year expansion that will leverage some of the most popular stories of the Disney brand including Marvel and ‘Frozen’.”
Legislative Council Yiu Si-wing also welcomed the funding boost, saying the expanded attractions had to be very unique, compared with its Shanghai Disneyland counterpart, to be able to fend off stiff regional competition.
The Shanghai resort, which opened last June, is three times bigger.
The partnership between Disney and the Hong Kong government has long been seen as unequal as the entertainment giant receives millions of dollars in royalties and management fees even as the park keeps losing money.
Hong Kong Disneyland recently opened a new hotel and the Iron Man Experience and later this year it will launch a Marvel Super Hero Summer event.
The Hong Kong Government estimates the expansion, together with the completion of the mega-bridge linking Hong Kong to Macau and Zhuhai, will help attract up to 9.3 million visitors a year by 2025 - up from 6.1 million in 2016 - and create 5,000 to 8,000 jobs across the tourism industry.
Images: Hong Kong Disneyland's Parade (top) and the planned Frozen themed area (below).
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18th January 2017 - IRON MAN EXPERIENCE OPENS AT DISNEYLAND HONG KONG
23rd November 2016 - MULTI-YEAR EXPANSION ANNOUNCED FOR HONG KONG DISNEYLAND
15th November 2016 - INVESTMENTS IN CHINA’S THEME PARKS DRIVING ASIAN TOURISM
10th July 2016 - TOKYO DISNEY LOOKS TO EXPANSION TO CREATE ‘MORE MAGIC’
27th May 2016 - ASIAN THEME PARKS LEAD GLOBAL ATTRACTIONS INDUSTRY GROWTH
17th February 2016 - FALLING ATTENDANCES LEADS TO LOSSES AT HONG KONG DISNEYLAND
5th June 2015 - ASIAN MARKET DRIVES EXPANDING GLOBAL THEME PARK ATTENDANCES
4th March 2013 - HONG KONG DISNEYLAND TO EXPAND WITH MARVEL SUPERHEROES ATTRACTION
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