Disney CEO meets Chinese president ahead of park opening

World Today

China’s President Xi Jinping, right, talks with CEO of the Walt Disney Company Bob Iger as they meet at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Thursday, May 5, 2016. (Kim Kyung-hoon/Pool Photo via AP)

The head of entertainment giant Disney had a rare official meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, a month before the opening of its $5.5 billion theme park in the country’s financial hub of Shanghai.

Xi told Disney CEO and Chairman Robert A. Iger that it was important for the world’s “strongest” country, referring to the U.S., and the world’s largest developing country to deepen their cooperation and expand it into new areas.

Cooperation between “U.S. firms with Chinese firms, and in particular the Walt Disney Company with Chinese firms, are exactly cases in point of such new cooperation,” Xi said. “And I believe the new cooperation will continue to yield new outcomes.”


At the Great Hall of the People, the ceremonial seat of China’s legislature, Xi congratulated Iger on the planned opening on June 16 of the Shanghai Disney Resort, the company’s first theme park in mainland China.

It is relatively rare for China’s president to meet publicly with private business leaders, but the park is a prestige project for China, reflecting the government’s push to stimulate growth by boosting consumption and services.

Iger said, “What The Walt Disney Company has been able to achieve in China, I think, is a perfect example of cooperation, but it also came after years of understanding, years of building up a deep respect for one another and appreciation for each other’s interests.”

Story by the Associated Press.