China’s Wanda Group has hired Andrew Kam as Vice President of their cultural industry group which includes their theme parks and city projects. Previously Kam was Managing Director of Hong Kong Disneyland between 2007 and 2016 until he resigned for personal reasons amid slumping attendance and poor fiscal performance. He was replaced by Sam Lau.
This move comes after competition between Wanda Group and Disney heats up. Wanda’s chairman Wang Jianlin has openly criticized Shanghai Disneyland due to its location and high ticket price. Previously, unlicensed Disney characters such as Captain America were seen at a Wanda development.
There have been questions regarding the performance of Shanghai Disneyland with financial analysts predicting less than projected attendance with Disney pointing to the park’s success in the first 100 days and positive guest reaction.
Interestingly, Wanda also owns AMC Theaters which has long had flagship locations at Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort.