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Creepy, Borderline-NSFW Disney Chinese Underwear Ad

1 May has an interesting article about a the billboard above, spotted recently in Beijing, which came to mind after the reporter had been reading about the Miley Cyrus controversy.

It is legitimately difficult for a company as big as Disney to keep track of all its subcontractors. Then again, Disney has learned the hard way the importance of keeping track: Disney’s response to the billboard recalls its response to exposés of labor conditions in the factories of its Chinese licensees’, where subcontractors were actually breaking local wage, health, and safety laws. Here, of course, it’s rules of taste and propriety that are involved, and the ad may play differently to a local audience than it did to me and [Disney consumer-products division spokesman Gary] Foster. The age of consent in China is 14, compared with 18 in Disney’s home state of California. “I don’t want to make excuses for them at all because it is not anything that we would ever approve, but in other parts of the world this is not unusual at all,” Foster said. “In fact, in Europe, they have similar type of taste, if you will. Here in China that’s not unusual at all, but it’s not usual for the Disney brand.”

MGM Will Build in Shanghai, Universal in South Korea

22 May

Plenty of good news for Asian theme park fans! VarietyAsiaOnline reports that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer will build a theme park in Shanghai, while Reuters brings news of a Universal park in South Korea. From Reuters:

King Kong and Spider-man are coming to South Korea.

Universal Studios said on Tuesday it would build a South Korean park featuring characters from blockbuster movies by 2012, becoming the latest Hollywood firm to expand in Asia’s burgeoning entertainment market.

The project, announced a day after U.S. film giant Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) unveiled a plan for a Shanghai park, highlights Hollywood’s push to take the world’s most popular entertainment to the world’s most populous region.

Copycat Disneyland in Beijing

4 May

Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park

An avid reader tipped me off to this last night, and now it’s all over the interweb . . . there’s a Disneyland copycat park in Beijing called Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park, and it’s got the world in a flurry over copyright violations.From The Standard:

With its slogan “Disneyland is too far,” Beijing’s Shijingshan Amusement Park features a replica of Cinderella’s Castle, with staff dressed like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and other Disney characters.None of this is authorized by Disney – but that has not stopped the state-owned park from creating its own counterfeit version of the Magic Kingdom in a brazen example of the sort of open and widespread copyright piracy that has Washington fuming.

The United States announced Monday it would file a case at the World Trade Organization over rampant copyright piracy in China, a practice which US companies say deprives them of billions of dollars each year.

Associated Content (The People’s Media Company) also has the story. Slashdot has great commentary per usual. Best of all, though, is the official site of Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park, complete with Happy Tour!

Did Shanghai Move Too Fast? Beijing Slows Disney Park Talks

11 Dec

MSNBC reports today that Disney’s Shanghai park plan is in doubt.

Walt Disney Co. is exploring other locations beside Shanghai for a theme park in mainland China amid concern that the central government may not support its plans in Shanghai, sources familiar with the issue said on Monday.

Other locations in China? Seems odd, given the amount of time (which of course equals money) that clearly has already been sunk into the Shanghai possibility, on both the Disney and China sides. But perhaps that’s the core of the issue, right there.

In early August, the official China Securities Journal reported that Shanghai authorities had started preparing a site for the park, even though Beijing had still not reached agreement with Walt Disney and the city government.

My limited understanding of the politics of China would suggest that Beijing might respond defensively here . . . Shanghai may have overstepped its perceived turf by moving too far without Beijing’s blessing. Of couse, it’s also possible that the real issue here is the scandal surrounding Shanghai’s former Communist Party boss, Chen Liangyu.

Under Chen’s leadership, Shanghai became known for a string of showy real estate projects, including a $350 million Formula One race track, one of the world’s most expensive tracks, and a futuristic $150 million tennis stadium.

Let’s see what we hear next . . . Beijing suggested above that they were considering other locations in China, in October there were reports in Shanghai Daily about Disney Parks looking at Thailand, and for some time there’s been rumours floating about a park in India. One way or another it looks like further Parks expansion into Asia is a sure thing.

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