LAST Christmas, I had a chance to visit Shanghai, and among other things visit Shanghai Disneyland to take a look.
This is the third Disney in Asia, after Tokyo and Hong Kong. It opened six months ago, but it is likely many people in Asia did not even know because there was not that much publicity, unlike when the parks in Tokyo and Hong Kong opened. Now I know why.
The facility is huge, much bigger than Hong Kong. The reason they did not publicize is because Hong Kong Disneyland is really opened for the Asian market. The domestic market alone cannot sustain it, and the theme park really needs overseas tourists to visit it.
Shanghai Disney? It was teeming with Chinese tourists, and it goes the same with many attractions. They don’t even need overseas tourists.
China has millions of affluent people now, and we should all take the opportunity to tap this market.
I went around a Shanghai supermarket, looking for things made in Philippines, and out of the tens of thousands of things, I found only three – fresh red bananas, banana chips, and dried mangoes. We need to develop and work on more products to succeed there.
We should also tap the China overseas tourist market, not only because they are many, but from many stories, they are also the biggest spenders. Last year, it was estimated that over 130 million Chinese tourists went overseas spent well over $110 billion. Thailand got over eight million, South Korea over six million and Japan over five million. There is no reason we are only getting less than 500,000. Note of course, that Thailand gives visa on arrival to Chinese tourists for up to 90 days.
I would like also to share a really cool different way of a startup that I saw. In shanghai, as well as many Chinese cities, the roads are bike friendly. Of course, 40 years ago, almost everybody traveled by bike. But even now, with the prevalence of buses, trains, and cars, a bike can still be the most healthy and convenient way to travel short distances.
A new startup sees that there are many specially marked bikes on the road that obviously belongs to one company. Upon closer inspection, you will see that it is locked, and the bike has a QR code.
You can download an app on your smartphone and sign up for membership for the company. Once they confirm your credibility, you can use the app to scan the QR code, and once they know that bike, and you want to use it, they will unlock it remotely for you for 1 yuan (the equivalent of P7). Then you can take the bike anywhere, and then when you reach the destination, lock the bike, and just leave it there – ready for someone else to use.