The Walt Disney Company opened its largest flagship store in the world in China on Wednesday. The store's launch comes ahead of the Shanghai Disney Resort, which is slated to begin operations next year.
The 54,000-square-foot Shanghai Disney Store, which is the first for the country, is located in the Lujiazui business district. "We couldn't be more delighted to open our first Disney Store in China, in Shanghai," Walt Disney Company’s Asia-Pacific President Paul Candland said in a press release. "Disney Store plays a critical role in how millions around the world experience our brand and allows kids, young adults and families to have a uniquely fun and immersive experience while shopping for their favorite Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars products."
The store will reportedly offer over 2,000 Disney-branded products, most of which will be exclusive items. The $5.4-billion Shanghai Disney Resort is set to open next spring, after redesigns delayed its launch by a year.
The store’s opening comes one day after the theme park’s iconic central attraction, the Enchanted Storybook Castle, was topped out with China's national flower, installed at its highest point. An unnamed government official from Pudong region, where the store is located, said that the resort was expected to become one of Disney’s six largest theme parks in the world, tapping into the growing affluence of mainland China, according to the South China Morning Post.
The products on offer at the store will be more expensive than elsewhere with prices going up to 50 yuan ($8) higher than Disney Resort outlets in Hong Kong and Tokyo, according to Shanghaiist.
The entertainment giant had expressed interest in building a Disney franchise on the Chinese mainland in the 1990s, but China’s State Council did not approve the project until 2009, citing concerns about the influence of American culture, according to Agence France-Presse.