SAN FRANCISCO -- A Hong Kong government official deflected
criticism regarding the Chinese territory's share of the funding
for the Hong Kong Disneyland project, to be built on Lantau Island.
Michael Lee, director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office
here, said the $2.88 billion that Hong Kong is investing includes
other tourism endeavors on the island as well as the Disney
Lee rejected assertions from Hong Kong opposition politicians
that the government is investing a disproportionate amount.
He said the $2.88 billion figure includes $1.74 billion the
government will spend to improve Lantau Island's infrastructure, in
addition to the nearly $420 million in equity and $720 million in
loans it is committing to the theme park joint venture, called Hong
Kong International Theme Parks Ltd. (HKITP).
"The supporting infrastructure [$1.74 billion] is what the
government is going to spend anyway to develop Lantau Island," said
As reported, the Walt Disney Co. and the Hong Kong government
earlier this month agreed on the joint venture to develop the theme
park on a 310-acre site in the Penny's Bay area of Lantau Island,
about seven miles from downtown Hong Kong. The deal is subject to
the approval of Hong Kong's legislative and executive councils and
Disney's board of directors.
Under the agreement, Disney will invest $314 million in the
project, for a 43% stake, while Hong Kong's equity investment will
give it a 57% share. Lee added that under the agreement, the Hong
Kong government "can divest, or sell our shares, one year after the
opening of Hong Kong Disneyland." Disney, on the other hand, will
be required to hold a minimum of 1.9 billion shares in the
"Disney cannot cash out on this investment -- ever," Lee
Lee said the theme park will charge between $30 and $35 for
admission and is expected to draw more than 5 million visitors in
its first year, which should rise to about 10 million per year
after 15 years.
About 78% of the traffic is expected to come from Hong Kong,
mainland China and Taiwan, Lee said. U.S. visitors should account
for about 8% of park attendees, Lee said.