Asia Pacific Journal of Management

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 667–681 | Cite as

Disney’s successful adaptation in Hong Kong: A glocalization perspective

  • Jonathan MatusitzEmail author


This paper applies the principles of glocalization theory to Disney’s successful adaptation in Hong Kong. Glocalization refers to the interface of the global and the local. After Hong Kong Disneyland’s lack of success within a year of its opening in 2005, Disney executives attempted to cater to the local Chinese context. From a glocalization perspective, four major changes were made: (1) reduction of prices; (2) adaptation to local visitors’ customs; (3) change of décors and settings; and (4) adaptation of labor practices. Ever since, Hong Kong Disneyland has proved successful: park attendance and revenues from growth have increased.


Adaptation Business China Culture Disney Globalization Glocalization 


  1. A Chinese Makeover for Mickey and Minnie. 2008. New York Times, 2175: 2.Google Scholar
  2. Adekola, A., & Sergi, B. S. 2007. Global business management. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  3. Aliet, J. 2007. Convergence and glocalization—Not counter-penetration and domestication: A response to Prof. Ali Mazrui. Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, 6(1): 1–14.Google Scholar
  4. Andrews, D. L., & Ritzer, G. 2007. The grobal in the sporting glocal. Global Networks, 7(2): 135–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Appadurai, A. 1996. Modernity at large: Cultural dimensions of globalization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  6. Archer, K. 2008. Cultures of globalization: Coherence, hybridity, contestation. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Ball, S., Horner, S., & Nield, K. 2007. Contemporary hospitality and tourism management issues in China and India: Today’s dragons and tigers. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann.Google Scholar
  8. Barrier, M. 2008. The animated man: A life of Walt Disney. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  9. Bartlett, C. A., & Ghoshal, S. 1989. Managing across borders: The transnational solution. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  10. Bartlett, C. A., & Ghoshal, S. 1997. Transnational management: Text, cases, and readings in cross-border management. Boston: Irwin.Google Scholar
  11. Bloomgarden, K. 2007. Trust: The secret weapon of effective business leaders. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  12. Brannen, M. Y. 2004. When Mickey loses face: Recontextualization, semantic fit, and the semiotics of foreignness. Academy of Management Review, 29(4): 593–616.Google Scholar
  13. Bryman, A. 2006. Global implications of McDonaldization and Disneyization. In G. Ritzer (Ed.). McDonaldization: The reader: 319–325. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge.Google Scholar
  14. Cheney, G., Christensen, L. T., Zorn, T. E. Jr., & Ganesh, S. 2004. Organizational communication in an age of globalization: Issues, reflections, practices. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland.Google Scholar
  15. Clandinin, D. J. 2006. Handbook of narrative inquiry: Mapping a methodology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  16. de Nuve, T. 2007. The glocal and the singuniversal. Third Text, 21(6): 681–688.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Demossier, M. 2007. European puzzle: The political structuring of cultural identities at a time of transition. New York: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  18. Doz, Y., Santos, J., & Williamson, P. 2001. From global to metanational: Competing globally in the knowledge economy. Cambridge: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  19. Einhorn, B. 2006. Disney’s mobbed kingdom. Business Week Online, Feb. 6: 1.Google Scholar
  20. Epstein, J., & Shapiro, E. 2007. Queens in the kingdom: The ultimate gay and lesbian guide to the Disney theme parks. Jackson, TN: Avalon Travel.Google Scholar
  21. Eric, Z. 2007. Glocalisation, art exhibitions and the Balkans. Third Text, 21(2): 207–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fenster, B. 2007. The big book of duh: A bathroom book. Riverside, NJ: Andrews McMeel.Google Scholar
  23. Fowler, G. A. 2006. Disney and the Great Wall. Wall Street Journal—Eastern Edition, 247(33): B1–B2.Google Scholar
  24. Fowler, G. A., & Marr, M. 2006. Disney and the Great Wall: Hong Kong’s magic kingdom struggles to attract Chinese who don’t understand park. Wall Street Journal, 153: B1.Google Scholar
  25. Friedman, T. L. 2005. The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.Google Scholar
  26. Fyall, A., Leask, A., Garrod, B., & Wanhill, S. 2008. Managing visitor attractions. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann.Google Scholar
  27. Geist-Martin, P., Ray, E. B., & Sharf, B. 2003. Communicating health: Personal, cultural, and political complexities. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  28. Guy, M. E., Newman, M. A., & Mastracci, S. H. 2008. Emotional labor: Putting the service in public service. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  29. Hills, J., & Welford, R. 2006. Dilemmas or debacles? A case study of Disney in Hong Kong. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 13: 47–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Holson, L. M. 2005. The feng shui kingdom. New York Times, 154(53195): C1–C2.Google Scholar
  31. Holton, R. 1998. Globalization and the nation–state. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  32. Hong Kong Disneyland May Miss Lenders’ Target 2007. Wall Street Journal—Eastern Edition, 249(149): B4.Google Scholar
  33. Huang, S., & Hsu, C. H. C. 2005. Mainland Chinese residents’ perceptions and motivations of visiting Hong Kong: Evidence from focus group interviews. Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, 10(2): 191–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hymer, S. 1976. The international operations of national firms. Cambridge: MIT.Google Scholar
  35. Kindleberger, C. 1969. American business abroad. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Kogut, B. 1989. Research notes and communications: A note on global strategies. Strategic Management Journal, 10: 383–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kogut, B., & Zander, U. 1992. Knowledge of the firm, combinative capabilities, and the replication of technology. Organization Science, 3: 383–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kogut, B., & Zander, U. 1993. Knowledged of the firm and the evolutionary theory of the multinational corporation. Journal of International Business Studies, 24(4): 625–645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kostova, T. 1999. Transnational transfer of strategic organizational practices: A contextual perspective. Academy of Management Review, 24: 308–324.Google Scholar
  40. Kostova, T., & Roth, K. 2002. Adoption of an organizational practice by subsidiaries of multinational corporations: Institutional and relational effects. Academy of Management Journal, 45: 215–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kostova, T., & Roth, K. 2003. Social capital in multinational corporations and a micro–macro model of its formation. Academy of Management Review, 28: 297–317.Google Scholar
  42. Kraidy, M. M. 2001. From imperialism to glocalization: A theoretical framework for the Information Age. In B. Ebo (Ed.). Cyberimperialism? Global relations in the new electronic frontier: 27–42. Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar
  43. Kraidy, M. M. 2002. Hybridity in cultural globalization. Communication Theory, 12(3): 316–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kwok, V. W. Y. 2007. Disneyland still not drawing ’em in Hong Kong. Forbes, 125: 10–17.Google Scholar
  45. Lau, N., & Chen, B. 2009. Ocean Park hikes ticket prices 20 percent. The Standard, Jul. 2: A1.Google Scholar
  46. Lee, C. C. 2003. Media business strategies in the global era: From a “connectivity” perspective. Mass Communication Research, 75: 1–36.Google Scholar
  47. Lee, E. W. Y., & Haque, M. S. 2006. The new public management reform and governance in Asian NICs: A comparison of Hong Kong and Singapore. Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions, 19(4): 605–626.Google Scholar
  48. Lee, J. A., Garbarino, E., & Lerman, D. 2007. How cultural differences in uncertainty avoidance affect product perceptions. International Marketing Review, 24(3): 330–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Marr, M. 2007. The Magic Kingdom looks to hit the road. Wall Street Journal—Eastern Edition, 249(32): B1–B8.Google Scholar
  50. Marr, M., & Fowler, G. A. 2005. Why intrepid mouse looks to Asia for growth. Wall Street Journal—Eastern Edition, 245(117): B1–B7.Google Scholar
  51. Marr, M., & Fowler, G. A. 2007. Disney rewrites script to win fans in India. Wall Street Journal—Eastern Edition, 249(135): A1–A10.Google Scholar
  52. Martin, D. 2007. Rebuilding brand America: What we must do to restore our reputation and safeguard the future of American business abroad. New York: AMACOM.Google Scholar
  53. Maynard, M., & Tian, Y. 2004. Between global and glocal: Content analysis of the Chinese Web Sites of the 100 top global brands. Public Relations Review, 30(3): 285–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. McKercher, B., Wong, C., & Lau, G. 2006. How tourists consume a destination. Journal of Business Research, 59(5): 647–652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. McPhail, T. L. 2006. Global communication: Theories, stakeholders, and trends. Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  56. Mooney, A., & Evans, B. 2007. Globalization: The key concepts. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  57. Ng, J., & Orwall, B. 2007. Hong Kong Disneyland seeks new magic. Wall Street Journal—Eastern Edition, 250(144): A18.Google Scholar
  58. Page, S. 2006. Tourism management: Managing for change. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann.Google Scholar
  59. Prahalad, C. K., & Doz, Y. 1987. The multinational mission. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  60. Prices and Earnings. 2009. Zurich, Switzerland: UBS AG.Google Scholar
  61. Reiber, B. 2007. Frommer’s Hong Kong. New York: Frommer’s.Google Scholar
  62. Ritzer, G. 2007. The globalization of nothing 2. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge.Google Scholar
  63. Robertson, R. 1992. Globalization: Social theory and global culture. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  64. Robertson, R. 1994. Globalisation or glocalisation?. Journal of International Communication, 1(1): 33–52.Google Scholar
  65. Robertson, R. 1995. Glocalization: Time–space and homogeneity–heterogeneity. In M. Featherstone, S. Lash & R. Robertson (Eds.). Global modernities: 25–44. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  66. Robertson, R. 2001. Globalization theory 2000+: Major problematic. In G. Ritzer & B. Smart (Eds.). Handbook of social theory: 458–471. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  67. Robertson, R. 2007. Glocalization. In R. Robertson & J. A. Scholte (Eds.). Encyclopedia of globalization: 524–552. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  68. Rugman, A., & Hodgetts, R. 2001. The end of global strategy. European Management Journal, 19(4): 333–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Sardar, Z., & Masood, E. 2006. How do you know? Reading Ziauddin Sardar on Islam, science and cultural relations. London: Pluto.Google Scholar
  70. Schiller, H. 1971. Mass communication and the American empire. Boston: Beacon.Google Scholar
  71. Schmidt, W. V., Conaway, R. N., Easton, S. S., & Wardrope, W. J. 2007. Communicating globally: Intercultural communication and international business. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  72. Studer, S., Tsang, S., Welford, R., & Hills, P. 2008. SMEs and voluntary environmental initiatives: A study of stakeholders’ perspectives in Hong Kong. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 51(2): 285–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Svensson, G. 2001. “Glocalization” of business activities: A “glocal strategy” approach. Management Decision, 39(1): 6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Swyngedouw, E. 1997. Neither global nor local: “Glocalization” and the politics of scale. In K. R. Cox (Ed.). Spaces of globalization: Reassuring the power of the local: 115–136. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  75. Tschang, C. C. 2007. Middle kingdom mouse riles Disney. Business Week Online, May 16: 21.Google Scholar
  76. Ulrich, D., & Smallwood, N. 2006. How leaders build value: Using people, organization, and other intangibles to get bottom-line results. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  77. Van Maanen, J. 1991. The smile factory: Work at Disney. In P. J. Frost, L. F. Moore, M. R. Louis, C. C. Lundberg & J. Martin (Eds.). Reframing organizational culture: 58–76. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  78. Waters, M. 1995. Globalization. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  79. Wiseman, P. 2005. Miscues mar opening of Hong Kong Disney. USA Today, 07347: A1.Google Scholar
  80. Wong, Y. Y. 2000. The coming challenge: An entrepreneurial pathway for the 21st century. In A. Mahizhnan & L. T. Yuan (Eds.). Singapore: re-engineering success: 152–162. Singapore: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  81. Year of the Mouse. 2005. Economist, 376(8443): 58.Google Scholar
  82. Zaheer, S. 2002. The liability of foreignness, redux: A commentary. Journal of International Management, 8: 351–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Zhang, J. 2007. Disneyland: Hong Kong’s newest cash cow. China Today, 56(7): 28–30.Google Scholar
  84. Zhibin Gu, G., & Ratliff, W. 2006. China and the new world order: How entrepreneurship, globalization, and borderless business are reshaping China and the world. Palo Alto, CA: Fultus.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nicholson School of CommunicationUniversity of Central FloridaLake MaryUSA

Personalised recommendations