September 12, 2005

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Magical Mickey Maths

Boys, girls, Mr Vice President:

Today Hong Kong Disneyland opens. A world of fantasy and adventure, where nothing is quite as it seems. From the comfort of your PC you can take a tour of the numbers behind the scenes. Then finish off with a handy hint for anyone visiting Hong Kong's little piece of (culturally sensitive) Americana.

Magical Mickey Maths

Hong Kong Government's revenue projection over 40 years: HK$148 billion
Professor Lui Ting-ming's estimate of net benefit over 40 years: HK$32 billion

Figure Government is using to make projection: total revenues from park, jobs and tourism receipts.
Figure Professor Lui is using: net profits
Figure any business uses in assessing the return on investment: net profits

Number of jobs created by HK Disneyland: 5,000
Number of people employed in Hong Kong: approx. 3.5 million
Percentage of new jobs due to Disneyland: 0.14%

Average wage of Hong Kong non-management/professional employees: HK$10,382 a month
Average wage of Hong Kong Disneyland non-management/professional employees: take a guess

Hong Kong Disneyland size: 299 acres
Relative to Florida DisneyWorld: 1%
Difference in ticket prices: Hong Kong is 20% cheaper
Estimated time to walk Hong Kong Disneyland (without crowds): 30 minutes

Money spent by Hong Kong Government on Hong Kong Disneyland: US$3.3 billion
Money invested by Disney: approx. US$500 million
HK Government equity stake: 57%
Disney's equity stake: 43%
HK Government's share of spending: 82%

Early estimate of number of Guangdong tourists staying overnight in Hong Kong: 16.6%
Government's estimate: over 90%

Percentage of revenues that go to Disney under royalty and other agreements: "most" for the first 40 years
Professor of Economics Sunny Kwong Kai-sun's analysis of the Government's projected returns, employment benefits and flow-on economic effects: "too optimistic"

SCMP's view: Nor should we be overly worried about the financial figures; Disneyland in Florida and Paris opened with as much controversy, yet have become overwhelmingly as successful as Disney's other resorts.
Eurodisney's latest results: First half loss Euro53.4 million, estimated debt to equity ratio 716%
SCMP's definition of "overwhelmingly successful": dubious

Number of feral dogs caught: 40
Number of fish killed due to dredging work: 6.66 million
Noise during fireworks display: 56.9 decibels @ Discovery Bay
Legal limit: 55 decibels

Estimated opening date of Shanghai Disneland: 2010

Handy hint:

Everyone knows the fireworks are at 9pm. The trick to a trouble free visit is to get to the park around 8:45pm. If you're prepared to forgo the fireworks, the park is your oyster. No queues, no crowds. It only takes 30 minutes to circumnavigate the park, so with a bit of luck you can be back on the train before the crowds at 9:15pm.

One other hint: be careful of Donald Duck getting too friendly...not that there's anything wrong with that.


Hong Kong Disneyland: Build it and they will come
SCMP - "More figure than fact in projections of financial gain" (no link)
The Standard - Disney deal anger mounts
Hong Kong economy Wikipedia
Eurodisney Annual Report
The Standard - Guangdong tourists plan quick exits

posted by Simon on 09.12.05 at 10:58 AM in the Hong Kong Disneyland category.


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Excerpt: It’s been a while since I’ve written about my former hometown, Hong Kong. Yet, it continues to come up regularly and people always – and that means always – ask me if I left because China took over sovereignty in...
Weblog: Peaktalk
Tracked: September 13, 2005 12:01 PM


That's beautiful... a savage riposte to the feeble government cover-up of the biggest waste of taxpayer money in Hong Kong on record.

The 1% size comparison of HK Disney to Florida Disneyworld is particularly impressive. It's a very small world after all!!!

posted by: HK Dave on 09.12.05 at 12:14 PM [permalink]

The white elephant is big enough. The smaller it is, the less harm it will do.

posted by: Letters from China on 09.12.05 at 04:27 PM [permalink]

While not wanting to take away from your hatred of anything disney related, your economic argument that the benefit is better valued purely on net profit is a bit scary to read. Do you value your children purely on the income they bring in to the household? Of course not. And similarly, no government, not even the most capitalist, measures its success purely on 'net profit'. You are completely ignoring social benefits and flow on effects. Tourists who come to the park will invariably have to stay somewhere, will have to eat somewhere and will use serivces. none of this is included in 'net profit' of Disney. The new employees will be spending their income at places other than Disneyland (unless they have young daughters).

I'm not suggesting for a moment that the park is not a complete waste of money, nor that the HK government has a great deal to answer for, but you cannot possibly measure the success of a project of this size by just looking at the bottom line of the core business you capitalist pig.

posted by: paul on 09.13.05 at 08:48 AM [permalink]

And another thing - a tad hypocritical of you to complain about HK Disney when the adds on your site are for HK Disney hotels.... You planning on adding your add revenue to the 'net profit' of Disney to assay its true worth?

posted by: paul on 09.13.05 at 08:51 AM [permalink]

I'm fleecing them for what I can, as I can. I consider it a repayment of my tax dollars.

Oink oink.

posted by: Simon on 09.13.05 at 09:14 AM [permalink]

I have always enjoyed your links :)... i got curious and clicked into the link to Mcguire's blog. i have some comments, but i think i better put it on a more reputable site (this one) rather than one based solely on fabricated 'facts'.
among mcguire's sources:
1) "Agence France Presse: the link has since died"
2) "my book"
3) "my geocities site"
4) "my other essay on my geocities site"
n) "my n-3 essay on my geocities site"

McGuire also chose to ignore the fact that East Turkmanstan terrorists were among the prisoners found in Afghanistans (then Guantanamo), and that they have planted many bus bombs in Urumqi and Beijing between 1997-2001, until bin Laden's camp was rooted out by US.

anyway, good entertainment :) thanks!

posted by: sunbin on 09.13.05 at 11:08 AM [permalink]

Sun Bin - I used the word alleged as McGuire has long had an axe to grind...but that doesn't make it any less interesting.

posted by: Simon on 09.13.05 at 05:43 PM [permalink]

yes. :)

ohh, just found that the comment should have been for the next post, apologies :(

posted by: sun bin on 09.14.05 at 03:03 AM [permalink]

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