Abu Dhabi Media Summit: Walt Disney's Andy Bird Talks 3D Printers, China, Middle East
ABU DHABI – Walt Disney International chairman Andy Bird predicted here Tuesday that there would be a 3D printer in every family home within the next decade.
Speaking on the first day of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, Bird predicted that the technology would “revolutionize” the way the world works.
“Every home in ten years, probably less than that, will have its own 3D printer just as homes now have a 2D or laser printer,” he said at the annual three-day event in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, adding that Disney was already looking at ways to utilize the technology in its theme parks.
"We’ll be working with the technology where you can easily capture the facial features of individual guests in a very fast way, so you can then turn those features and put them onto dolls," he said. "We’ve been doing that with Stars Wars whereby you can buy a Luke Skywalker doll that you can put your face onto."
Bird also discussed how Disney has approached growth opportunities in China and India and looked to the Middle East as a future area for the company to engage creatively.
“What we’ve been striving to do is move from being the Walt Disney Company China to really asking ourselves how do we become the Chinese Walt Disney Company and how do we become the Indian Walt Disney Company,” he said, pointing to efforts to remain relevant culturally to consumers in these markets.
With foreign animation banned from primetime Chinese television and Disney not allowed to launch a Disney channel, Bird said the conglomerate used the licensing business to enter the market. He pointed to the Disney theme park in Hong Kong and another being built in Shanghai, as well as Disney English, a physical English learning institution now with 44 sites across the country.
“We’re trying to still retain the macro brand values, but really focus on the consumer needs in the respective market,” he said, adding that in terms of the Middle East he wanted Disney not just to focus on being regional or country specific, but being language specific.
“We’re really looking at this as much from the Arabic language perspective as we are from a Middle East perspective,” he said. “It would be great to be involved in the creative community and storytelling community in this region, because one of the great things about this part of the world is that it has great stories to tell, and they’re universal and global stories.”