On Friday, Disney broke ground on a $4.4 billion endeavor – a new theme park in Shanghai.
Expected to be complete in 2015, the park's flagship will be a Magic Kingdom-style park starring the iconic castle. The New York Times reports that Disney is being strikingly mum about their plans, fearing the infamous Chinese knockoffs. When they unveiled Hong Kong Disneyland in 2005, counterfeit parks with eerily similar rides popped up.
But upon completion, Disney hopes its influence takes off in China. A whopping 330 million people live within a three-hour trip of the upcoming attraction – more than the entire population of the United States. The park will be a vehicle to drive Disney interest – code for merchandise – in the world's most populous country. But Disney will cater to the wishes of the people, meaning there will be no iconic Main Street entrance, but rather a tame Chinese-style influence in a lush tree-lined entrance.