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Citizen Diplomacy

The Year of the Mouse

Capitalizing on some astrological good fortune, Disney will mark China's Year of the Rat, which begins on Feb. 7, by suiting up its own house rodents, Mickey and Minnie, in special red Chinese New Year outfits.China_mickey 

It's all part of Disney's effort to glocalize its Hong Kong park.  According to the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), last summer, Disney executives took a page from P&G's playbook by conducting research in the homes of Chinese consumers to get a handle on their lifestyle habits as busy families.

"We are working as the 'Chinese' Walt Disney Company -- ensuring that all the people who work in Disney understand the Chinese consumer to forge a deeper emotional connection with the brand," says the park's managing director. 

Now, in addition to Mickie and Minnie's makeover, vendors hawk deep-fried dumplings and turnip cakes, the Main Street parade features a dragon dance with bird, flower and fish puppets, all set to traditional Chinese music. And the gods of wealth, longevity and happiness -- all major figures in Chinese New Year celebrations -- join the regular Disneyland gang. 

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