Bloomberg News is reporting that Disney is finding themselves in a battle with China’s Wanda Group and their chief executive Wang Jianlin.
Wanda Group opened the first of 15-20 planned parks this weekend, the Wanda Cultural Tourism City in Nanchang, in the southeastern Jiangxi province. When it opened, visitors found characters dressed as Disney characters such as Snow White and Captain America.
Responding to this Disney said, “We vigorously protect our intellectual property and will take action to address infringement. Our characters and stories have delighted generations, these illegal and substandard imitations unfortunately disappoint all who expect more.”
In a follow-up statement, Disney mentioned their relationship with Wanda’s film division but continued by saying, “We are perplexed that [Wanda’s chief executive Wang Jianlin] would choose to do public battle with us, or attempt to undermine our business in any way.”
For its part, Wanda denied any direct involvement. “The non-Wanda characters were operated by individual stores within Wanda Mall. They do not represent Wanda,” Wanda said in an statement Sunday in response to Bloomberg’s queries.
Disney’s own theme park in mainland China will open in Shanghai June 16, 2016.