Walt Disney Co. won't make Shanghai the happiest place in the world.
That's the early reaction from a surprising number of netizens, or Internet users, to confirmation early Wednesday that plans for Shanghai Disneyland have the green light to proceed. Of the posts streaming into tianya.cn, a major portal, early Wednesday, the negative views were solidly outweighing positive views. A survey on eastday.com suggests a lack of enthusiasm too.
The Burbank, Calif., entertainment giant and the Shanghai government announced that they have central government approval to build mainland China's first Disney theme park and resort, which means contracts to build can now be hashed out.
It's a long-awaited, multibillion-dollar project that could mean tens of thousands jobs for the east coast city plus a big footprint for Mickey Mouse and crew in the world's most populous nation. Shanghai Securities Co. estimates a theme park would offer a boost to the local services sector in the form of up to 12 million visitors each year.
But not everyone is welcoming the jamboree.
On the Chinese-language blogs Shanghai residents worry about their taxes in the country's most expensive city, throngs of visitors on top of the 20 million residents, and cultural invasion just when China is standing up.
One author on the Web even sees an attempt by the U.S. to shift to the financial crisis to China.
"As a Shanghai native I firmly oppose the building of the Disney park in my hometown," says one post on eastday.com, a news portal run by the Shanghai government. "Billions of yuan 'for a 'happy land,' which is completely useless to the national economy and people's livelihood. It's doomed to be a loss-making deal." The post adds foreigners are too broke to visit and Chinese won't afford it.
In response to the question 'What do you think a Disney theme park would bring to Shanghai?', about 40% said more weekend fun, 30% said they would go if it weren't too expensive and almost 20% said they wouldn't attend because there are too many things to do already in Shanghai.
Still, about 11% said Disneyland will fulfill a childhood dream.
"There are so many places that need money in Shanghai," screams another. "Is the Disney park really necessary?" adds the poster.
A writer calling himself EPO67 on tianya.cn draws attention to Shanghai's race track. "We built a Formula One track. What benefits have we got? It just received money from Chinese to let some foreign cars race. It's a huge waste of land resources as well," says EPO67 in the post.
As rumors swirled this week about the Disney Shanghai deal, some of the criticism had made it into mainstream media "A lot of netizens think that time is ripe for China to build its own cultural aircraft carrier rather than spend a huge amount of money to bring an American Mickey Mouse version to China," said Economic Information Daily, a newspaper published by the Xinhua News Agency.
Another predicted, "Shanghai Disneyland is likely to become a 'chicken rib' [an expression for something insignificant]. The heyday of American culture is over. There is not much the 80-year-old Mickey Mouse could do now," said the story, quoting Internet posts.
Of course, not everyone is negative. Tianya quoted one person saying, "Is there anything wrong with the Disney Park resolving the employment problem for thousands of people in Shanghai?"
Disney opens its first theme park in China
theme park 主题公园
游乐园 amusement park