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Disney’s Extraordinary Achievement

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Shanghai theme park nears breakeven

Walt Disney (DIS) made a $5.5 billion bet on a Mainland China (MCHI)(FXI) theme park—its largest foreign investment. Just what did Walt Disney discover in China following that huge investment? The company says China is a promising market for the theme park business.

Last month, Disney marketed the first anniversary of its Shanghai Disney Resort. The company’s CEO, Bob Iger, declared the park an extraordinary achievement. Several factors make the Shanghai theme park business extraordinary in Disney’s estimation.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Iger revealed that the Shanghai theme park is close to breaking even just a year into operations. No other Disney theme park operation has reached that milestone.

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Strong park attendance

The Shanghai theme park also boasts strong attendance. The theme park surpassed 11 million visitors around mid-June, putting it among Disney’s top resorts in terms of visitor pull in the first 12 months of operations.

Disney is excited about the theme park business. Iger said the company might build another resort in Mainland China in the coming years—although that’s a long-term plan.

A $258 billion industry

In China, Disney is vying for more than $200 billion in the country’s entertainment industry. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (or PwC), China’s media and entertainment industry was worth $185.9 billion in 2016 and would grow to $258.2 billion by 2020, as the chart above shows.

While Disney is facing strong competition from SeaWorld (SEAS), Comcast (CMCSA), and Six Flags (SIX) in its domestic market, China could help power the growth of its resorts business.

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