International management needs skills and knowledge beyond the normal business expertise which comprises of the business regulations of the nations in which the company operates, understanding the customers and laws of the local market and the capability of the organization to perform the transaction in multiple countries (Deresky, 2017). The report is based on the case study of "Beyond Tokyo: Disney's Expansion in Asia". This case study is based on the international management of the business operations by the Tokyo Disneyland.
The Tokyo Disneyland in the 1980s began to realize that there are vast opportunities in the Asian market. Considering the potential opportunities the company opened Disneyland in Hong Kong in the year 2005 and predicted to open operations in three different Asian cities (Gillespie & Riddle, 2015). The company found different cultural challenges in the market of Asia. Some of them are discussed below: -
Language: - One of the crucial challenges that the company faces at the time of expansion plans in Asia is language. There are many Asian nations where people make use of their regional language as their first language instead of English (Matusitz, 2011). In order to make the park cultural sensitive in Asia, the president of Walt Disney Parks and Resort, Jay Rasulo announced that the Hong Kong Disneyland would be trilingual which include English, Mandarin, and Cantonese.
Integration of the countries festival and theme: - The culture into the theme park arises as one of the emerging challenges for the company. In Asian countries, people have different cultural interest according to various places. This culture is incorporated into the theme park as it represents their religion. Therefore, the company requires understanding towards their culture, national festivals which people celebrate and the significance of culture and festival for people. This imitates the lifestyle of people living in the Asian countries. This is the fact that Disney soon realized that their attempts towards the cultural sensitivity had not gone far enough (Luthans & Doh, 2012). For instance, the decision to serve shark fin shop, a local favorite, greatly angered environmentalists. This challenge has made the company to remove the dish from their menu.
Culture different from Europe
Language: - The language that is mainly used in Europe includes French and English but French is their first language. Mostly European citizens make use of French for communicating which is very different in Asian countries.
Lifestyle: - The lifestyle of people in Europe is different but the company has different ways through which they can blend it (Burke, 2017). Over here, the company needs to understand the lifestyle of the local people to implement the same in their theme parks.
The cultural variable is the difference in the outlook; value and behavior among people belong to different societies. In the Asian market, the major cultural variables are language, gender, time that influences the location of the theme parks (Halkias, Santora, Harkiolakis & Thurman, 2017). The organizers of the theme park have to consider people’s language and the cultural influences as this cultural variable play a vital role in the theme park. There is a certain variable that influences the arrangement and design of the theme park. Considering the cultural variables the organizers define the numerous kinds of characters that can be in the theme parks (Pikkemaat & Schuckert, 2007). For example, there is the use of the cartoon character in and around the theme park for the children so that they can take pictures with those cartoon character. The change in the preference of cartoon character of Asia and America children will bring the change in the theme parks.
People who belong to different culture have a diverse opinion or interest related to the theme parks (Li, Liu & Zhu, 2018). For example- There are numerous people who view a theme park like a place where people can visit to get pure relaxation with their family, friends, relatives, and others. The location and the design of the theme park are created or formed with the motive for to offer fun and enjoyment to the visitors. In addition, in the Asian market, there are some strong and restrictive beliefs that don't support the idea behind the pleasure and relaxation through theme parks. Considering this cultural believes they do not permit people to access to television due to which the children’s are not aware of the cartoon characters which is a big loss for the company. Therefore, the organizer should identify the appropriate place where it is feasible for them to open the theme parks (Bird & Mendenhall, 2016).
The above-given examples define how the cultural variables create an impact on the theme park. The leaders of the company should be aware of the fact that they are obliged to understand the cultural difference and should implement the same in their theme parks. Cross-cultural leadership theory has developed a way to understand the leaders who work in the newly globalized market. This is fact most of the international organization require the leaders who can adjust to the different environment quickly with their employees (Hanges, Aiken, Park & Su, 2016). Over here, the leader of the Disney has to understand the preference, outlook, value, and behavior of people belongs to different societies so that they cab manager their business operations across the borders.
Moreover, for the expansion of the business in other Asian countries it is essential to understand the culture of Asia which is quite different from Europe. This understanding will help the leader at the time of expansion of the theme park. In addition, they will be able to attract more of the visitors to their park.
Disney's Shanghai theme park is controversial
In spite of the fact about the global economic downturn, the Walt Disney Co. has revisited its plans to construct a park in Shanghai, China because they found there is the presence of industrialization and commercialization. Along with this, the country has relatively population of 19 million out of which maximum number of people will actually visit the theme park. Since then the park was in controversy and after this few more incidents took place which made the park more controversial at that point in time. In the year 2006, the progress on the park was on hold due to the government corruption. Then, in the year 2009, Disney company presented a proposal to the Chinese government for $3.59 billion to outline the plan related to the jointly owned hotel, park, and shopping development.
The company tried to negotiate with the government but they were unable to do so. The proposal of the company reflected the opportunities for the new jobs and investment in Shanghai. At that time, the project of theme park received a green light to go ahead but the company was still contending with the uncertainty of the legal and economic environment for the cultural and investment issues (Apostol, Cristea & Dosescu, 2015). Moreover, the company found was a concern for the park that was present in Shanghai that could cannibalize sales in the location of Hong Kong. Although, the company is downplaying such concern with the argument which states that the Shanghai location will mainly attract a different group of people. In addition, the company was thinking that both the parks will complement each other rather than to be competitors. Over here, Disney raised an important point which states that there is a number of other major cities which are close to Shanghai such as Nanjing, Hangzhou, and Suzhou. The economist presented the fact that Shanghai will achieve the success in attracting northern and eastern China (Wills, 2017). Later on, Hong Kong Park turned as a modest profit for the company. On the other hand, the critics of the Shanghai Park reflected that Hong Kong Park is major that was not expected.
Considering the point of view of Parita Chitakasem, a research manager at Euromonitor international in Singapore presented his views related to the theme park as he was specialized in a theme park. He reflected that Disneyland Shanghai will have two significant which counterpart and make the theme park more attractive than Hong Kong Park. Firstly, Shanghai Disneyland can offer a better experience for the money than the other theme park because the size of the theme park in Shanghai is Six times bigger if we compare it to the Hong Kong theme park. Secondly, the increase in the number of the visitors is a benefit to the theme park in Shanghai (Erb & Ong, 2017). People of the mainland, China can easily travel to the Disneyland that is situated in Shanghai as there are no issues or concern related the visa or cross-border.
Recommendation related to the location for the next theme park in Asia
Disney Company is facing many issues in the Asian market and out of this one of the major issues faced by the company is related to location. It is suggested to the company to construct the next Disney theme park in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The country is known as the largest city in the country with a high population in the city. Seoul is one of the possible markets for the Disney Company as it has expected the population of the more than ten million people due to which this is considered as the potential market for the company. Sometimes it is essential for the leader of the company to evaluate the weather where the venue is located and how easy it is accessible through public transportation.
There are some issues which the Disney Company will face if they will enter the market of Seoul. One of the major issues is the threat of the competitors in the market from both the local and international corporations working for the attractions (Page, 2012). Moreover, it has been observed that most of the Asian travelers are loyal towards their local attraction. This was observed with the success of the South Korea’s Everland theme park and also Hong Kong’s own ocean park. In the year 2006, the Hong Kong’s own ocean park brought more visitors than the Hong Kong Disneyland theme park.
In addition, this is the fact that Disney is a global brand due to which it can attract many visitors. Seoul is the place for the culture gathering due to which many people who belong to different culture gather there for meetings. Over the past few years, English has extended a lot of popularity knowing the fact that most of the citizens are Korean. In addition, Citizens of South Korea belong to the western lifestyles due to which they are aware of the characters of the Disney (West, 2016). This reflects that there is the huge opportunity for the success of the theme parks in South Africa.
In the end, it can be concluded that the company has a great business opportunity in the market of Asia. Though, the company faced many cultural issues like language and lifestyle of people. In addition, the culture of the Asian market is different from Europe. In addition, there is discussion related to the cultural variable that affects the theme park due to which the company has to use its leadership skills to understand the market of Asia for the expansion. The Shanghai Disneyland theme park was in controversial due to the steps that were taken by the company. After all these issues, the company has decided to expand their theme parks at different locations in the Asian market.
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