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With support from 1,000 Communist Party members, Disneyland opens up in Shanghai, China

The theme was developed with the price tag of $5.5 billion and designed by China’s state-owned Shanghai Shendi Group

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DisneyLand. Image source: disneydose.com
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  • Shanghai Disneyland opened up on Thursday
  • The 960 acre park was a joint venture by Disney and the Chinese Government
  • Character receives communist approval

The crowds consisted of thousands of eager people ready to experience Shanghai Disneyland for the first time. Some folks showed up as early as 4:30 am. Shanghai Disneyland opened on Thursday, June 16, and despite the overcast weather, the place was packed.

The park is a total of 960 acres. This monstrosity was completed with cooperation from two parties; the Chinese Government and Disney. This is something new for Disney, as they typically do not go into partnerships. The theme was developed with the price tag of $5.5 billion and designed by China’s state-owned Shanghai Shendi Group. This means that the profits will be split between the two parties. This also means all decisions regarding the functions and ideas for the park will be debated among both parties.

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Aerial View of Shanghai Disneyland Resort. Wikimedia Commons.
Aerial View of Shanghai Disneyland Resort. Wikimedia Commons.

The park concepts follow the same guidelines as other worldwide Disney parks. Some of the rides are exact replicas of those that you can find at Disneyland, while others are unique to the Shanghai park. Disney had to go into partnerships with firms ultimately owned by Shanghai’s government.

Disney’s Chief Executive, Bob Iger told journalists, “From the moment they enter, everything they see and experience, the attractions, the food, the entertainment, down to the smallest level of detail, is instantly recognizable not only as authentically Disney, but as distinctly Chinese.”

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Interestingly, when one journalist probed workers to talk about their salary many of them stated that they simply could not talk about it. When looking at prices of tickets, the only way the workers will ever get through the Shanghai Disneyland gates is when wearing their uniform. The cost for a family of three to attend the park is more than one month’s income in mainland China.

Many consider Disneyland to be a capitalist attraction, but nonetheless Shanghai Disneyland was supported by communist party members. As close to 1,000 communist party members were in attendance on Thursday to take in opening day. As Iger stated, the park is, “authentically Disney, but as distinctly Chinese.” This is clear not only in the unique rides and Chinese food, but also in the characters. Shanghai Disneyland has its very own Mickey Mouse, known as Me Low Shoe; he has been approved by the Communist Party.

-prepared by Abigail Andrea (with inputs from Scroll.in ), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter @abby_kono

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  • AJ Krish

    Its not only children who desire to spend a day in disneyland, but adults too look forward to the rides and shows it offers.The new disneyland with its Chinese touch is sure to amaze us all!

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To Pursue Philanthropy, Alibaba’s Chief Executive Jack Ma Steps Down

Ma is retiring as at a time when the China is embroiled in an escalating trade war with the US and the Chinese economy is facing slowing growth and increasing debt.

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alibaba
The logo is displayed at the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. VOA

In a surprising move, China’s richest man, Jack Ma, has revealed plans to step down as the Executive Chairman of e-commerce giant Alibaba on Monday to pursue philanthropy in education, paving the way for a change of guard for the $420 billion Internet company that he co-founded.

Ma will turn 54 on Monday, which is also a holiday in China and known as Teacher’s Day.

In an exclusive New York Times interview, the Chinese billionaire said on Friday that his retirement was not the end of an era but “the beginning of an era”.

“I love education,” the Chinese billionaire said, adding that he would be spending more of his time and fortune focused on education.

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A former English teacher, Ma co-founded Alibaba with 17 others out of his apartment in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, in 1999.

He built it into one of the world’s most consequential e-commerce and digital payments companies, transforming how Chinese people shop and pay for things which fuelled his net worth to more than $40 billion, making him China’s richest man.

Ma is revered by many Chinese, some of whom have put his portrait in their homes to worship in the same way that they worship the God of Wealth.

Ma will remain on Alibaba’s board of directors and continue to mentor the company’s management.

The retirement makes Ma one of the first founders among a generation of prominent Chinese Internet entrepreneurs to step down from their companies.

alibaba
Visitors walk past a giant display at the Alibaba Group headquarters in Hangzhou, in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, May 27, 2016. VOA

Firms including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and JD.com have flourished in recent years, growing to nearly rival American Internet behemoths like Amazon and Google in their size, scope and ambition.

Last month, Alibaba reported a 60 per cent increase in quarterly sales, even as profits fell.

The company’s annual revenue totals about 250 billion yuan ($40 billion).

Alibaba has also changed the way people work in China. Millions of people now run their own shops selling goods on its Taobao ecommerce platform or stream their own videos on its entertainment platforms, The Financial Times reported.

Taobao is estimated to have created almost 37m jobs in China, according to a study last year by Renmin University’s School of Labour and Human Resources, the report added.

For Chinese tycoons to step aside in their 50s is rare; they usually remain at the top of their organisations for many years.

Alibaba
Ma is revered by many Chinese, some of whom have put his portrait in their homes to worship in the same way that they worship the God of Wealth. Flickr

In an interview earlier this week, Ma had signaled that he was thinking about focusing more on philanthropy. He cited the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates as an example.

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Ma is retiring as at a time when the China is embroiled in an escalating trade war with the US and the Chinese economy is facing slowing growth and increasing debt, The New York Times report said. (IANS)