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Developing Economies

Learning English The Mickey Mouse Way

Mickey Mouse in his Chinese finery at Hong Kong Disneyland DAVID ROARK/DISNEY hide caption

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Disney has come up with another way to extend its brand in China: opening language schools across the country.

The company told the Financial Times it sees its fledgling language schools— it has 11 in Shanghai and Beijing— as a way to garner $100 million in pre-tax profits over the next five years. It hopes to open almost 150 schools.

English — as taught by Disney — involves a curriculum peppered with Mickey Mouse, the Little Mermaid, and other Disney characters.

The move comes as Disney constructs a theme park in Shanghai, the company's second in China after Hong Kong.

The schools take kids as young as one and cost $2,200 a year for two hours' instruction a week.

China's growing middle class is a key market for lots of American and European companies looking for global growth.

Next up for Disney is another developing country with a rising middle class: Brazil.