Can Mickey Make Friends With the Dragon?

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Who is going to win? The mouse, or the sea lion? (Mouse represents Disneyland, and sea lion Ocean Park, a Hong Kong-based educational theme park.)

Although both theme parks serve the same market, there seems to have no fierce competition yet. Each theme park complements to each other. Disney is all about castles, fantasy, cartoons, or imagination, while Ocean Park is about animals, ocean, environment, education and conservation. It has real animals, and people can touch and feel them. It is a classic example of co-opetition: competing in some areas, cooperating in others.

When compared with Disneyland, Ocean Park is flexible in presenting various fun and attractions. It does not treat challenges as something it must overcome. Instead, it manages challenge by enhancing its ability to adapt to a changing world. Ocean Park does not just redevelop the park to mimic Disney. It leverages its seaside setting by focusing on the ocean and live animals against Disney’s imagination. Disney doesn’t understand local Chinese culture and fails to meet expectations. Importing the Western model to Asia simply doesn’t work. Many older Chinese also don’t recognize Disney characters.

Hong Kong consumers are always hungry for the new. Ocean Park does things quickly and does not let people wait. It not only strives to keep people coming back, but it also tries to keep people having fun. The park concentrates on organizing special events every two months for holidays such as Christmas, Chinese New Year and Halloween.

Global player does not always win, but going global by thinking local is always the winning formula.

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