Extra US$800m adds to Disneyland allure By Yang Jian | April 30, 2014, Wednesday | from Shanghai Daily THE Walt Disney Co and the Shanghai Shendi Group yesterday announced a deal to increase their investment in the forthcoming Shanghai Disneyland by US$800 million. The cash — to be spent on rides, entertainment facilities, dining and retail venues — is expected to bring 30 percent more visitors than originally planned to the first Disneyland on the Chinese mainland. Disney and joint venture partner Shanghai Shendi, a state-owned company, had already committed to spend US$4 billion on the theme park resort in Chuansha in the Pudong New Area, which is scheduled to open at the end of next year. With the expansion, visitor numbers will reach 10 million annually when the resort opens, the Shendi Group said. Shanghai Shendi will contribute 57 percent of the extra cash and Disney cover the balance, the same split in ownership between the two shareholders. They said the joint investment decision is based on their confidence in the prospects for the Shanghai attraction. “The expansion underscores the tremendous opportunity we see in Shanghai and demonstrates our long-term commitment to and confidence in China,” said Thomas Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Robert Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Co, said he was very impressed with the economy, the rapid expansion of the middle class and the significant increase in travel and tourism in Shanghai. Shanghai Shendi said while more facilities will be added with the extra cash, they are still within the 3.9 square kilometers mapped out for Shanghai Disneyland. The announcement coincides with a boom in China’s tourism market, which is expected to continue growing rapidly. Some 330 million people in the target income bracket are within a three-hour travel radius of Shanghai Disneyland, Disney said. And the number of upper middle class households in China is expected to grow 18 percent annually up to 2022, according to consulting firm McKinsey. “The expansion shows that both shareholders are continually adapting to market changes to tap the increasing demands of Chinese consumers,” said Fan Xiping, chairman of Shanghai Shendi Group.