The happiest place on earth is facing competition from mainland Chinese theme parks

Loss-making Hong Kong Disneyland will receive a $1.4 billion investment.

The company hopes to expand the park to attract more visitors after suffering from weak local retail and tourism markets. Hong Kong Disneyland is Disney’s smallest park and reported its first loss in four years in 2015 resulting in a number of job cuts earlier this year.

Hong Kong saw a 6.1% decrease in the number of tourists visiting in the first nine months of this year.

The Hong Kong resort and theme park faces competition from theme parks operating in mainland China. Whilst Disney does have a foothold in China with Shanghai Disneyland, which opened in June 2016, Dalian Wanda poses a serious threat. The Chinese property developer group plans on spending billions of dollars to launch 20 tourism parks in China.

The Hong Kong government owns a 53% stake in Hong Kong Disneyland and is expected to contribute $750 million with parent company Walt Disney forking over $650 million for the expansion which will run from 2018 to 2023.

“Everybody knows tourism in the region, especially in Hong Kong, has been challenging, so it’s not just Hong Kong Disneyland,” Samuel Lau, managing director of Hong Kong Disneyland said at a press conference announcing the plan.

 “We need to quickly double up to make sure we invest in tourism in the long run. Some of these projects will take time to build and create, and now is the time.”

Included in the expansion will be Frozen and Marvel themed areas – both attractions are hoped to differentiate the park from others around the world.

 Disney said the expansion will create 3,500 jobs and eventually bring another 600 jobs within the park.

 

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