Among the American companies most at risk of collateral damage from trade war tensions or the threat of consumer boycotts in China, high up on the list would be Disney.
Not only is Disney increasingly dependent on the Chinese box office (see page 16 for more on the success of its latest Marvel hit Venom), it has also made a major financial commitment to the country through its newest theme park in Shanghai.
But if Disney’s boss is worried about the side effects of Donald Trump’s tariff policy, he isn’t showing it publicly. During a recent earnings call Bob Iger focused more on the rising visitor numbers at Shanghai Disney – in part driven by the opening of its Disney Toy Story Park in April – expressing confidence in the park’s future. A six-year $1.4 billion expansion has been agreed for its Hong Kong park too – which again is mostly reliant on mainland tourists.
In fact, the company has strongly hinted that another Disney park could soon be built in China, reports the Beijing Business Today. A location near Beijing is said to be favoured (rival Universal Studios is due to open one of its own theme parks in the capital by 2020).
The Chinese authorities also seem to be supportive of Disney’s prospects. Earlier this month the country’s antitrust body approved – without conditions – the US media giant’s $71.3 billion acquisition of studio 20th Century Fox. Reuters said that meant that the merger had cleared its last major hurdle.