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'Era of blindly following' Mickey Mouse is over, says Chinese billionaire battling Disney

'Era of blindly following' Mickey Mouse is over, says Chinese billionaire battling Disney

If Walt Disney Co. executives thought they were going to open a theme park in mainland China without major opposition, they were wrong.

Only weeks before the launch of the $5.5-billion Shanghai Disney Resort, a Chinese rival has vowed to outperform Disney with local theme parks that offer lower prices and more innovative rides and characters.

"I'm holding that we can win out," said Wang Jianlin, chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group, a Chinese conglomerate that specializes in hotels, malls and department stores. This weekend, the company plans to open a $3.2-billion tourism center in Nanchang, a midsize city in southeastern China.

The...

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