Hong Kong’s Disneyland has never turned a profit since it opened in 2005 despite being popular with mainland Chinese visitors. The park is the smallest Disney property, which many blame for its poor performance.
Asia also has its share of abandoned amusement parks, many of which suffered because of lack of investment.
Part of the problem is that some developers want to do it on the cheap. Sometimes that means they want to clone famous existing parks even though they don’t have enough money, Mr. Goddard said.
He has been working on and off in China for about 15 years and has had to talk potential clients out of trying to copy Disneyland or Universal Studios.
“You’re never going to be as good as the real thing. You want to do something original and different,” he said.