Hong Kong govt says may sell controlling stake in local Disneyland
11.02.2005, 03:50 AM

HONG KONG (AFX) - The government may sell its controlling stake in the territory's recently opened Disneyland theme park, Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury Fred Ma told legislators.

Ma said the government's 57-pct stake in the 3 bln usd resort could be sold off in keeping with the administration's belief that the private sector is best suited to run major businesses.

'In the long run, the government may consider in the light of the 'Big Market, Small Government' principle to divest its shareholdings in the company at an appropriate time when it is in the overall economic interests of Hong Kong to do so,' Ma told legislators.

The territory's leaders were criticized in 1999 when they decided to foot most of the bill for Walt Disney Co's first resort in China.

Disney hopes the park, which opened in September, will help it promote its brand in China's growing lucrative market.

Similarly, the government here hopes it will attract more mainland tourists to the former British colony.

Disney has refused to say how successful the resort has been so far and will not publish attendance figures. But media reports suggest it has not proved as popular as hoped and rarely attracts its 30,000 daily capacity.

It has also been troubled by a series of snags since opening, including staff complaints of management mistreatment and customer gripes that the park is too small.