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Case Study Cultural Considerations of Shanghai Disneyland Essay

Shanghai Disneyland resort opening 2015 will have the biggest and tallest Cinderella castle in the world. The key players are the Chinese government, Disney, Shanghai Shendi Group and Mike Crawford, with the key event being the Chinese governments approval in 2009. The political, social considerations, education and economic environments are then explained. The context approach and dimensional approach are used to discuss the cultural considerations. The case will go on to discuss that while there are no current implications affecting the domestic and international business, it will tell of how Disney will benefit the Chinese economy, through growth in income, employment etc. It is recommended that Disney improve the cultural considerations through character costumes, food and by broadening their target market.

The essay will look at the case of Shanghai Disneyland and discuss key players. Events and discuss case context through an international context. It will continue to determine the case issues and the relevant theories used to develop solutions to understanding the cross-cultural understandings of culture. The essay will then show the implementations that domestic and international businesses face that operate within the theme park industry, and give recommendations to improve the cross-cultural understandings.

The Article looks at Disneyland opening in Shanghai in 2015 thanks to the Chinese governments approval on November 4, 2009 (Rapoza, 2013). The resort will compromise of two Disney hotels, 46,000 square meters for retail, dinning, entertainment venues, recreational facilities, a lake, parking and transport hubs (Rapoza, 2013). Shanghai Disney will have the biggest and tallest Cinderella’s castle in the world, will be interactive and called the Enchanted Storybook castle (Rapoza, 2013).

Shanghai Disney sits on nearly 1,00 acres, and is three times bigger than Hong Kong Disney (Rapoza, 2013). The resort is budgeted at 24.5 billion Yuan ($3.7 billion) for the theme park and an additional 4.5 billion Yuan ($700 million) to build hotels and restaurant venues (Rapoza, 2013). Disney itself will own 43% of the property while the Shanghai Shendi Group will own the remaining 57% (Rapoza, 2013). Mike Crawford, Disney’s general manger states that ‘We are excited to see the resort development move into an intensive phase of construction’ and ‘We look forward to providing more updates in the future, as we reach key milestones’ (Rapoza, 2013).

Key players in the case are the Chinese government, who hope to improve the local economy. The Shanghai Shendi Group, Disney and Mike Crawford are excited to reach key milestones towards the opening of Shanghai Disneyland. Disney have used various initiatives to lead to the approval of Shanghai Disneyland, included are television, motion pictures and consumer products (Yang, 2012). Key events started with the Chinese government’s approval for Disneyland to be China’s first mainland resort on November 4, 2009 (Rapoza, 2013). Hong Kong Disneyland then recorded profits of $14.1 million (Rapoza, 2013). Shanghai Disney has revealed that there will also be two themed hotels, with the grand opening late 2015 (Rapoza, 2013).

In understanding culture it is imperative to understand the control of political, economic, educational and social variables (Kelley & Worthley, 1981). In China, political environments of both domestic and international companies operate under government control (Zhu & Xu, 2010). The Chinese government has been in talks with Disney for more than ten years, and has kept smooth communication (Zhu & Xu, 2010). It is important for Disney to have good relationship with the Chinese government as they share ownership of Shanghai Disneyland (Zhu & Xu, 2010). Due to China still being a developing country, Shanghai Disneyland has had to set a much lower entrance fee to catch more Chinese consumers (Zhu & Xu, 2010).

Social considerations that Shanghai Disneyland has had to face are their main target group. Disneyland’s main target are children, in China however, children are expected to succeed academically before socially (Zhu & Xu, 2010). Most people in China do not speak English, and so Disney opened a chain of language schools in Shanghai, with the goal to teach children to speak English, Disney is also employing English and Chinese communicators (Brooks, 2009).

High context cultures and low context cultures are used in understanding cross-cultural considerations, and can often lead to unintentional problems I the workplace and negotiations in governments (Beamer &Varner, 2011, p. 102). In a high context culture such as China, communication relies heavily on unspoken conditions or assumptions, whereas in a low context culture such as America (Disney), communication is usually taken at face value however, the context approach only represents one dimension (Peng, 2013, p. 37).

However Hofstede’s dimensions of culture represent several dimensions and is far more influential and consists of long-term orientation, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity and femininity, individualism and collectivism and power distance (Peng, 2013, p. 37). Individualism and collectivism have impacted the case, due to Disney coming from an American/western culture, which is vast on individualism, and the Chinese being collectivists. Individualism values individual achievements, failures and rights over the collective (Beamer &Varner, 2011, p. 43). Collectivism values the group above the individual needs or rights (Beamer &Varner, 2011, p. 43). Disney was able to understand this particular issue and took advantage to use local companies instead of American resources to help build the technological environment and will help improve their reputation (Zhu & Xu, 2010).

While there are no implications yet for domestic business in china, the Shanghai Disney project has already attracted many industries and corporations, including culture industries, restaurants, hotels and content production industries (Crawford, 2010, p.13). With a 330million target market population within a 3hour drive or train ride, and recent transportation investments will make Shanghai accessible by key provinces to Disneyland, which will all become a catalyst for growth (Crawford, 2010, p.13). This will generate income, employment, investment and infrastructure developments that can be leveraged by other industries (Crawford, 2010, p.4-20)

There are no implications yet affecting international business in China. Shanghai will become a major destination for business travel with the opening of Disneyland in 2015 and for many state-owned enterprises establishing headquarters in the city (Jian, 2013). Shanghai has 230 international direct flights and all the worlds major hotel groups have hotels in the city to meet the business traveller demand (Jian, 2013).

Through looking above it is shown that Shanghai Disneyland will improve the Chinese economy, and build growth towards their tourism industry in both domestic and international businesses. It is recommended that for Shanghai Disney to improve cultural perspectives, they should dress Disney characters in the Chinese Tang costume, and the food served to be Chinese-American. Disney would also need to adjust their main target in China, as students are more academically inclined and could therefore prepare for young couples and young families.

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