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Hello folks! Mickey and Minnie come to town to launch the Magic Kingdom

JOBS: Opportunity for students to earn valuable experience Shanghai Disneyland will offer another job opportunity for university students when it opens in 2015, with a number of openings and internships targeting young people with good English skills. However, the opening of the park is not expected to have a major influence on the local job market, although the number of jobs available is not yet known, but employers may find themselves in competition with Disney for job hunters familiar with quality service, experts said yesterday. About 40 percent of Disneyland's employees will be maintenance workers, such as security guards and cleaners, with 50 percent employed in services, while only 10 percent will take high-level management posts, according to Briton Mark Hall, a human resources expert with nearly 20 years of experience. "Finding people who know services will be the challenge," said Hall, who said the percentages were based on the examples of Tokyo and Hong Kong parks. "Maybe Disney can steal localtalents from the city's top hotels," he said. He reckoned that experienced management from Disney's theme parks around the world might be called in to help in Shanghai's initial operation. Students from art schools are expected to form a large number of service providers, as the amusement park's various performances and parades need young people who can sing and dance. Hall, general manager of Kelly Services China's Professional Technical Division, said he didn't think many new graduates would see their future at Disney-land and also wouldn't be willing to take maintenance or services jobs. As the theme park is famous for its quality of service, people serving on inter-national cruise ships would be one of the areas for recruitment, said Hall. Maintenance workers would prove easy to recruit, he said, with a foreign manager taking charge of the process. Feng Lijuan, chief HR analyst with 51job.com, a Nasdaq-listed headhunting firm, said that while Disneyland might not have a huge impact on the local job ! market, it would become an international communication platform for students with part-time jobs and internships offering them valuable experience. "Employers would be in favor of students having certain working experience with Disneyland, because they could be more globalized talents," Feng said. College students who worked at World Expo 2010 enjoyed a more positive market during their job-hunting process, Feng said. In addition to the theme park itself, more job opportunities will increasingly be created in businesses nearby, including real estate development, accommodation, catering and transport, as Disneyland is far from downtown. "But it will only last for a short period," according to Feng, who said that when the surrounding area, now a rural area, eventually functioned like a city, the number of jobs would remain stable. Property: Park helps put land at a premium Disneyland may be a fantasy land for youngsters, but to savvy investors, the first Disney park on China's mainland is about land in a very real sense. Commercial property prices in Shanghai are likely to increase now that the ground-breaking ceremony for the world's sixth and Asia's third Disneyland has been completed, analysts said yesterday. Home prices in the vicinity of the 1.16 square kilometer theme park site have already more than doubled in the past two years. "The area became popular for residents as the government built a Metro line there and improved the environment after the Disneyland project was approved in 2009," said Song Huiyong, research head at Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Ltd. "But Disneyland itself is not the attraction for home buyers." Several residential projects in Chuansha in the Pudong New Area, where Disneyland is located, have seen prices jump from around 9,000 yuan (US$1,377) per square meter in 2009 to nearly 20,000 yuan, according to Soufun.com, a real estate Internet portal. There were signs last year the boom was easing. Song said a surge in prices was normal for residential projects along new Metro l! ines, bu t property speculation near the Disneyland site had peaked. Sky Xue, an analyst with China Real Estate Information Corp, agreed. "Home prices in the area may still outperform the city average, but only very slightly," he said. Meanwhile, prices for commercial real estate are expected to grow as the theme park, scheduled to open in five years' time, takes shape. The city is predicting 7.3 million domestic and foreign visitors will come to the park each year. "There will be a large demand for shopping areas once the park starts operating," said Song. He also said that hotels and recreational facilities may also expand, but it was too early to gauge just how much diversion outside the park would be in demand. "Demand for hotels would be limited because that area is suitable neither for exhibitions nor business trips," Song said. Data with Soufun.com shows that the price of retail space in shopping malls in the area has already risen 50 percent to 30,000 yuan per square meter since 2009. Markets: Kingdom can spell profits SPECULATORS in the stock market are always searching for the next hot trend, and what better than the magic of the Magic Kingdom to tantalize the pundits. Yesterday, ground for the first Disneyland on China's mainland and third in Asia was broken on a site in eastern Shanghai, marking the start of the first phase of the long-awaited project. The theme park will cost 24.5 billion yuan (US$3.7 billion). Hotels, additional entertainment and retail facilities will be built at a cost of 4.5 billion yuan. The 1.16 square kilometer theme park site is about 25 kilometers from the "Wall Street" district of Shanghai, where enthusiasm is running high. Like Donald Duck's uncle, Scrooge McDuck, investors are eagerly anticipating possible windfalls. "Disneyland is attracting a lot of investor attention because who doesn't like fairy tales with happy endings?" said Han Qicheng, an analyst with Guotai Jun'an Securities. "However, investors still need to focus more on companies' earnings rather than the new! s itself if they want to realize the happy ending and ride on the euphoria of the next five years," he added. Shanghai Construction Co was among those worth watching, according to Han. On April 1, when it was announced the official ground-breaking for the park would take place a week later, shares in Shanghai Construction Co surged 8.4 percent. The shares jumped another 6.26 percent this week to close at 19.51 yuan. Aside from controlling about half of the city's cement market, Shanghai Construction also won a 635 million yuan project from Disney to build the 3.9-square-kilometer Shanghai Disneyland resort. City landmarks Han expects further gains for the stock, predicting it could go as high as 26 yuan. Net profit for the builder of city landmarks such as the Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center is expected to increase 20 percent this year to 1.42 billion yuan and hit 2.24 billion yuan in 2013, Han said. Shanghai Pudong Road and Bridge Construction Co could be another big winner. The company has won two Disney-related projects totaling nearly 396 million yuan since last September. But its shares remained almost unmoved this week to close at 21.42 yuan yesterday. Other winners from construction work include listed companies such as Zhonglu Co, Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Co and Shanghai CIMIC Tile Co, according to Wang Mingxu, an analyst with Oriental Securities. Shares in CIMIC, a porcelain and ceramic tile manufacturer, rose 7.03 percent this week to 14.62 yuan, as investors bet that the Shenzhen-listed company would benefit from interior decoration work at Disneyland. The spotlight on the Disney juggernaut isn't confined to construction. There is a whole raft of businesses hanging on the coattails of the park with two obvious sectors being transport and tourism. Shanghai Disneyland is expected to attract about 7.3 million visitors a year when it opens in 2015, city officials have said. Firms such as Shanghai International Airport Co, Shanghai Eastern Airlines, Dazhong Transportation Group Co, Sha! nghai Qi angsheng Holding Co and Shanghai Shentong Metro Co are banking on a flood of new business at airports, in taxis and buses, and on the Metro system as Disney fans flock to town. Shentong stock rose 1.58 percent this week to close at 10.96 yuan yesterday. The company will operate two Metro lines converging at Disneyland. The park is expected to boost daily Metro traffic beyond its current record of 7.6 million passengers. Firms that own hotels, department stores and travel agencies also will be seeking to cash in on Mickey Mouse and his friends. Leading retailers Shanghai Bailian Group Co, Shanghai Yuyuan Tourist Mart Co and Shanghai Friendship Group Inc are all expecting a sales boom, thanks to Disney. Tourism icon Shanghai Dragon Corp has already struck a deal with Walt Disney Co to be the sole producer and marketer of a line of Disney underwear for children. The company now is featuring Disney gear in its 180 retail outlets. Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group Co, operator of the city's most popular tourism icon, is expecting the turnstiles at the Pearl Tower to be rotating faster once Disneyland brings more visitors to town. The company is also involved in advertising and owns Shanghai's only television broadcasting service firm. Investors are relishing the prospect of revenue for the company when Disney rolls out its promotional campaign. Drawing board Despite all the peripheral beneficiaries, the ultimate winners in the Disney sweepstakes may be Shanghai's real estate industry. Shanghai Jielong Industry Corp bought up a lot of land around the new Disney site back when the park was still idling on the drawing board and property prices were low. Analysts expect Jielong will enjoy a sharp earnings increase if Disneyland ever needs land for expansion. Already, the price of housing has shot up to around 20,000 yuan per square meter since Shanghai won approval to build the project in 2009. TravEl: Shaking up the tourism market Shanghai Disneyland will provide a new opportunity for the development of the city's t! ourism b y shaking up the present theme park market and attracting increasing numbers of tourists from all over the country, local experts said yesterday. As the influence of the "Disney" brand is immeasurable, some old theme parks in Shanghai, which are less fashionable and exciting, may find themselves washed out in the fierce competition, said Professor Xia Lingen, a tourism expert at Fudan University. "Theme parks expecting to survive the market will try to improve their entertaining rides and services, which will be helpful to improve the whole market quality." Xia said Disneyland's main market would be the Chinese mainland, especially the Yangtze River Delta region. "People from southern China may come less as many of them may have been to the Disneyland in Hong Kong," he said. "As for foreign guests, I believe that Southeast Asian tourists may come more than people from other parts of the world," Xia said.

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