Mamma Mia! Made in China — Challenges in Developing the Musical Industry

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This case was prepared by Associate Professor Terence Tsai of China Europe International Business School, Shanghai, China, and Assistant Professor Shubo Liu of the Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing, China, as a basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either an effective or ineffective handling of an administrative or business situation.

This case is about how United Asia Live Entertainment Co. Ltd. (United Asia), a real Chinese production and marketing company and a commercial arm of the Ministry of Culture, localized a popular global product, Mamma Mia!, to compete with other international and local firms during the period when the Government was pushing the reform of the cultural industry.

Mamma Mia! is the first-ever Western musical without roots in the Chinese culture, being presented in Chinese (Mandarin) by an entire Chinese cast in China. United Asia staged the translated version with the creative team of the original musical. This case describes how United Asia faced and overcame many obstacles, including talent shortage, uncertain customer expectations and immature industrial clusters while it was preparing for the first show. The production turned out to be a big success. Although United Asia planned to launch more Western musicals in Chinese, the company aspired to go beyond introducing only copyrighted musicals and to create original musicals. This case leads to the reflection and discussion on what the company, as a groundbreaker in China’s new musical industry, should do next and how to sustain its competitive advantages.


Author Community

[Tsai, Terence] China Europe International Business School, No. 699, Hongfeng Road, Shanghai, 201206, P.R. China

[Liu, Shubo] Department of Strategy, Business School, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing, China

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