Workers' view on indigenization of theme park: A case study in Hong Kong

Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) of People's Republic of China government and the Disney Company entered into a joint private-public (PPP) partnership to form HKDL: Hong Kong Disneyland in 2005. In pursuit of profit HKDL tried to “indigenize” or localize to the community by using a local workforce, consumption, language, and cultural space accommodations. There is much written about indigenization but not from the worker’s perspective. Based on interview data of a small sample of Hong Kong Disneyland workers, this case study investigates the workers’ assessment of whether “indigenization” practices are successful or not. Findings show that workers are ambivalent about indigenization citing negative public relations, and adverse mainland Chinese tourist interactions. The workers feel that true indigenization is complicated by various factors such as perceptions of ethnic and national superiority complexes, ambivalence, and continuing unequal treatment.