Visitors flock to Shanghai Disneyland, as consumer passion shows China’s huge buying power
Consumer passion reveals nation’s huge buying power
Published: Jun 30, 2022 09:06 PM
Visitors take photos at the Shanghai Disneyland theme park as it reopens in Shanghai, June 30, 2022. (Photo: China News Service/Tang Yanjun)

Visitors take photos at the Shanghai Disneyland theme park as it reopens in Shanghai, June 30, 2022. (Photo: China News Service/Tang Yanjun)

From crowded visitors on the first day of Shanghai Disneyland's reopening to the high box office receipts of US movie Jurassic World: Dominion, signs show that Chinese consumers, particularly young people, remain passionate about US cultural products, an interesting phenomenon which observers said reveals China's huge buying power.

That said, the US ought to cherish the Chinese market and abandon the cold war mentality, otherwise it may backfire on US businesses that benefit from China's vibrant consumer market, analysts said.

"We miss her, and we want to say 'happy birthday' to her in advance!", said a 19-year-old girl surnamed Yuan Thursday morning near the entrance of Shanghai Disneyland, as she referred to "CookieAnn," a creative yellow dog and a popular Disney character.  

Yuan and her friend, a 20-year-old girl surnamed Liu, carried several CookieAnn toys into the resort on Thursday, the first day Shanghai Disneyland resumed after shutting for more than three months as a result of the coronavirus resurgence in the city. Yuan and Liu said that they would return to the park on July 3, which is CookieAnn's birthday. 

The two girls' attachments to Disney characters are a shared aspiration among many Chinese tourists. On Thursday, the birthday of another Disney character called Gelatoni, the Global Times observed that many tourists carried toys of the green tuxedo cat into the resort. 

"Today is also Toni's birthday. We'll go to see him," Yuan said in an excited tone.

Like Yuan and her friend, many tourists, especially young people, showed a passion and commitment to Disney culture on Thursday as they expressed their excitement about being able to come back to the resort.  

"Maybe Disneyland represents everyone's aspiration and childlike innocence. I also have that yearning for the fairy tale world," a tourist surnamed Yang told the Global Times. This is her first visit to the Shanghai resort, she said. 

Last year, Shanghai Disneyland's sales of LinaBell fox toys sparked a buying frenzy among Chinese consumers. According to the 21st Century Business Herald in January, the price of a Christmas edition of a LinaBell doll surged to about 3,000 yuan ($449) from the base price of 219 yuan in China ahead of Christmas, as many consumers rushed to purchase the toy for their collections. 

Apart from fans' passion for Disney character toys, other US cultural products enjoy enduring popularity in China. US adventure science fiction film Jurassic World: Dominion was screened in China in June, and earned an accumulative box office of about 814 million yuan to date, the highest of all films being screened currently, according to data from movie ticket sales platform Maoyan.

He Jianmin, a professor from the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, said that cultural products that represent people's common cultural pursuits, such as that of the true, the good and the beautiful, will cross borders and be favored by people of different nationalities. 

"Take Disney for example, one of the focuses of its products is on kindling curiosity and foreign culture, which echoes in the hearts of many people regardless of where they come from, especially children," he told the Global Times on Thursday. 

Some analysts told the Global Times that if the US takes moves that run counter to the culture it advocates, it might also arouse dissatisfaction among Chinese customers and consequently slam US businesses seeking opportunities in the Chinese market.

He insists that healthy relations between different countries should coexist in peace and seek common ground while reserving differences.

"Sharing other countries' history, culture, scientific progress and innovative industries is an important aspect of boosting mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence. Under the situation where China and the US have some political frictions, increasing non-governmental exchanges has become all the more important," He noted.