By Chester Yung
HONG KONG--Hong Kong Disneyland finally turned a profit in 2012 after seven years in operation, fuelled by a jump in the number of visitors to the park.
Hong Kong Disneyland, which is 52%-owned by the Hong Kong government and 48%-owned by Walt Disney Co . (DIS), posted an annual net profit of 109 million Hong Kong dollars (US$14.06 million) for the fiscal year ended 29 September 2012, reversing a net loss of HK$237 million in the previous fiscal year.
The company said it owed the buoyant result to an increase in visitor numbers during the year to 6.7 million from 5.9 million the previous year. The percentage of visitors from China was steady at 45%, but local visitors rose to 33% from 31%.
The theme park has reported a net loss every year for the past seven years in operation, partly due to lower-than-expected visitor figures. Critics have pointed to its size--the smallest of Disney's theme parks--and a lack of attractions that appeal to its key China market as reasons for the company's lackluster performance.
In a bid to boost attendance, the Hong Kong government and Walt Disney Co. in 2009 signed an agreement to expand the theme park, with plans to add a number of major attractions by 2013.
But competition from the Shanghai Disneyland, slated to open by end-2015, could undermine efforts to expand the compact model in Hong Kong. A Hong Kong government spokesman said earlier the park's investors are discussing plans to build new hotels at the Disney resort, adding to the current two, in hopes of drawing more international tourist traffic.
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