Media and entertainment conglomerate Walt Disney Co. has opened its largest store by size in Shanghai, the company's first in Mainland China, as part of its efforts to expand into the world's second largest economy.
The store, opened on Wednesday, is located in Shanghai's bustling Lujiazui financial district. The 860-square-meter shop featured a castle at its center with an hourly music and projection show, the California-based company said in a statement.
More than 2,000 products, including clothing, bags and mobile phone accessories, were available for purchase at the store, the South China Morning Post reported.
The date and time of the store opening corresponded with Chinese characters used in social media to symbolize love and long-term commitment, the company said.
The store gives visitors a taste of what to expect of the much-anticipated opening of the 5.5 billion-dollar Shanghai Disney Resort, which is scheduled to open next year, according to statements from Disney.
The park is one of nearly 60 theme parks currently under construction in China, according to state media reports.
Theme park boom
There has been a boom in the building of theme parks in the Asian nation in recent years, as the domestic tourism industry has scrambled to cater to the growing middle class.
"We're most excited about what we see in terms of the prospects outside the US," Disney CEO Robert Iger said on May 5. "With the opening of Shanghai Disney Resort next year, that should drive growth well into the future," he added.
Shanghai Disney Resort is a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and Shanghai Shendi Group, which hold 43 percent and 57 percent of total shares of the owner companies respectively, according to a February statement from Disney.
Disney, the world's largest entertainment firm, already has parks in Japan and Hong Kong. The company also has 300 stores worldwide.
Universal Studios is planning to open a $3.3-billion (3-billion-euro) theme park in the Chinese capital Beijing in 2018, according to reports.
sri/hg (dpa, Bloomberg)