ECA Team

Christian Aaen
Principal

Hong Kong | Los Angeles

Christian Aaen is a founding Principal of Entertainment + Culture Advisors (ECA), specializing in entertainment development, attraction destination projects and leisure and tourism economics. Prior to co-founding ECA, Mr. Aaen opened the legacy ERA (now AECOM Economics) Hong Kong office as the Managing Principal in January 2009. As Regional Director, Mr. Aaen was responsible for the entertainment and leisure practice in Asia, including China.

Mr. Aaen has participated in a broad range of themed entertainment facilities and cultural development projects worldwide. Mr. Aaen brings a wide background of experience to ECA’s assignments through his involvement in a variety of consulting assignments in the recreation area as well as his direct strategic planning experience in international attraction, theme park and cultural development. Mr. Aaen has consulted for clients in Asia, Australia, Europe, Middle East, Mexico and Latin America and throughout North America. Mr. Aaen has conducted feasibility studies and provided advisory services for key international clients such as Universal Studios, LEGOLAND Parks (Merlin Entertainments), MGM Studios, Village Roadshow, Khazanah Nasional/TAR, Sanrio, HIT Entertainment, OCT Group, Ocean Park (Hong Kong), KidZania, Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Genting Group, among others. Mr. Aaen has extensive experience throughout Asia with projects in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Vietnam, India, and Thailand, among others.

Mr. Aaen has a Bachelor of Arts (B.Sc), Economics and Business Administration, Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Denmark as well as a Master of Science (M.Sc.) with distinction, International Marketing and Management (IMM), Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Denmark. Mr. Aaen also participated in the MBA-program, Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management, S.C. Johnson School of Graduate Management, Cornell University, New York as part of the master’s degree program.

Ray Braun
Principal

Los Angeles

Raymond Braun is a founding Principal of Entertainment + Culture Advisors (ECA), specializing in entertainment development projects, recreation and tourism economics, and attraction development potential. Prior to forming ECA, Mr. Braun was the head of the Entertainment Practice at Economics Research Associates (ERA).

Clients in the theme park industry include major operating companies such as the Walt Disney Company, Sea World, Universal Studios, and Merlin Entertainments. Mr. Braun has helped plan major cultural attractions including the J.P. Getty Center in Los Angeles; the Rose Center at the American Museum of Natural History in New York; the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco; and the Henry Ford in Dearborn.

Internationally, Mr. Braun has in depth experience in Europe, Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, India, Australia, Canada and Mexico. Major projects have included market planning and attendance analysis for Universal Studios, multiple locations; consulting with Merlin regarding LEGO theme park development opportunities; economic planning for recreation and commercial development in Beijing; movie studio and related theme park in Australia, Warner Bros. Movie World; global location research for KidZania; theme park in Southern Malaysia for Khazanah Nasional; and resort projects throughout Mexico.

Matthew Earnest
Principal

Los Angeles

Matthew Earnest is a founding Principal of Entertainment + Culture Advisors, specializing in market and financial analysis of large scale entertainment developments. Prior to forming ECA, Mr. Earnest was a senior member of the Entertainment Practice at Economics Research Associates (now Economics at AECOM) and Regional Director, managing the Los Angeles and San Francisco offices.

Clients and project sponsors include media and consumer product companies focused on location based entertainment, attraction operators, real estate developers, private investors, financial institutions, non-profit organizations, and public agencies. As a leader in ECA’s global practice, project work has included assignments in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, United Arab Emirates, Czech Republic, Mexico, and across the United States.

Prior to forming ECA, Mr. Earnest was a senior member of the Entertainment Practice at Economics Research Associates (now Economics at AECOM) and Regional Director, managing the Los Angeles and San Francisco offices for Economics at AECOM. Before joining the Entertainment Practice Group at Economics Research Associates, Mr. Earnest was an independent consultant specializing in analysis of branded attractions and entertainment retail development. Clients included private equity, non-profits, and a multi-national consumer products company. For his clients, Mr. Earnest provided financial analysis, attendance estimates, program strategies, and operational feasibility.

Mr. Earnest holds a B.S. from Stanford University and M.B.A. from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), and the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).

Ed Shaw
Principal

Los Angeles

Edward Shaw is a Principal with Entertainment + Culture Advisors (ECA) and manages economic and business planning analyses for public and private clients in the destination and entertainment development industry.

Mr. Shaw advises on land use options and overall project feasibility while delivering customized market demand, program, financial and economic impact assessments. His clients have included entertainment and attraction companies, major and minor league professional sports franchises, resort developers, stadium and venue developers, and municipalities throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Prior to ECA, Mr. Shaw was a Senior Associate with AECOM where he was a leading member of the Sports + Venues economics practice. Mr. Shaw joined AECOM as part of its acquisition of Economics Research Associates (ERA) where he was a member of the Entertainment and Recreation Practice Group. Project work included assessments of major destination attractions, theme parks, stadiums, arenas, multi-sport venues, golf courses, resorts, waterparks, entertainment anchored retail, and museums.

Specific project experience and clients include: Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Malaysia); Universal Studios (Global); LEGOLAND (Malaysia and Florida) and Merlin Entertainments Group (Global); Providence Park (Portland, Oregon, USA); Los Angeles NFL Stadium and Surrounding Development (City of Industry, California, USA); HGS Falls Tourism Strategy (Huangguoshu, Guizhou, China); 2018/2022 United States FIFA World Cup Bid; Camelback Ranch Los Angeles Dodgers/Chicago White Sox Spring Training Stadium (Glendale, Arizona, USA); Rio Tinto Stadium (Sandy, Utah, USA); College Football Hall of Fame (Atlanta, Georgia, USA); Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego, CA, USA); KidZania (Global); among others.

Mr. Shaw holds a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Yale University and an M.S. in Finance and Development from the New York University (NYU) Tisch Center for Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Management.

Affiliations
International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA)
Themed Entertainment Association (TEA)

Industry Presentation/Lectures
The Impact of Professional Sports Stadium & Arena Facilities on Local Economies, Testimony provided to California State Assembly Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media Oversight Hearing, 2010

Large Scale Entertainment Development, Guest Lectures for Analysis of Urban Real Estate Markets Class at University of Southern California, 2010-2013

Economic Insights Across Markets and Products, Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) Summit, 2012-2013

Urban Land Institute (ULI) Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) Program for Los Angeles Convention Center, 2013

Janice Li
Regional Director

Hong Kong

Janice Li is a Regional Director with Entertainment + Culture Advisors (ECA) and has extensive experience advising on a diverse array of land-use projects including entertainment and cultural attractions, tourism development, resorts, new town planning, retail and other real estate development. In particular, she has participated in a broad range of themed entertainment facilities and cultural development projects, conducting market and financial feasibility studies for private and public sector clients including major international theme park and attraction operators. Ms. Li has undertaken research and consulting studies throughout Asia and North America, with significant project experience in Mainland China and Southeast Asia.

Ms. Li previously worked at AECOM Economics (formerly Economics Research Associates / ERA) in both San Francisco and Hong Kong. She was a core member of the Entertainment and Leisure practice in Asia, and her areas of expertise include market assessment, attendance projection, financial analysis and business planning. Prior to joining ERA Hong Kong, Ms. Li had several years of experience working in the strategic planning divisions of several listed companies in US as well as in the finance industry in Hong Kong, where she was primarily engaged in market research, financial modeling and strategy development.

Ms. Li received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Master of Science from Stanford University. Raised in Hong Kong, she reads and writes Chinese, and is fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.

Edmond Chih
Director

Los Angeles

Edmond Chih is a Director with Entertainment + Culture Advisors (ECA), specializing in market assessment, attendance forecasting, and financial analysis for entertainment and cultural developments. Prior to joining ECA, Mr. Chih was an Associate with AECOM Economics (formerly Economics Research Associates) where he conducted economic feasibility studies on a variety of leisure and attraction products, including theme parks, museums, aquariums, and casino resorts. Past clients include municipalities, cultural institutions, and various private-sector developers and operators throughout North America, South America, and Asia.

Mr. Chih holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley.

Rae Ye
Associate

Los Angeles

Rae Ye is an Associate with Entertainment + Culture Advisors (ECA) based in Los Angeles. She conducts research and analysis on case studies and industry benchmarks, available market assessment, demand modeling and financial analysis for entertainment and cultural attractions. Project types have included theme parks, waterparks, and retail-anchored attractions throughout China, as well as live entertainment venues and other types of attractions within urban and resort anchored destinations.

Prior to ECA, Ms. Ye worked for Walt Disney World in Orlando and several luxury travel agencies in New York City. Ms. Ye holds a Bachelor of Management degree in Information Management & Systems from East China University of Science and Technology and a Master of Science degree in Tourism and Travel Services Management from New York University (NYU) Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management. Born and raised in Mainland China, she is fluent in Mandarin and English.

Tiffany Yiu
Senior Analyst

Hong Kong

Tiffany Yiu is a Senior Analyst with Entertainment + Culture Advisors (ECA) based in Hong Kong. She conducts research and analysis on available and competitive market assessment, case studies and industry benchmarks, demand modeling, and other aspects of project business planning for entertainment and cultural attractions. Project types include theme parks, water parks, urban mixed-use developments including indoor attractions, entertainment, and cultural/show components, and tourism/resort destination developments throughout China and Asia.

Prior to ECA, Ms. Yiu worked on business development and IP licensing for cultural and entertainment projects in Mainland China. Ms. Yiu holds a Bachelor degree in Economics and Mathematics from Emory University. Born and raised in Hangzhou, she is fluent in Mandarin, English, and Cantonese.

Rosa Xie
Senior Analyst

Los Angeles

Rosa Xie is a Senior Analyst with Entertainment + Culture Advisors (ECA) based in Los Angeles. She is responsible for conducting research and analysis on industry benchmarks and case studies, available market assessment, demand modeling and financial analysis for entertainment and cultural attractions. Project types have included theme parks, waterparks, location-based entertainment, live performing venues, and observation decks as well as other entertainment and cultural attractions within urban and mixed-use retail and resort destinations.

Prior to ECA, Ms. Xie worked for Disney Parks & Resorts in California, where she was primarily engaged in quantitative and market research in support of different park functions. Ms. Xie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Tourism Management from Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Master of Science from Brown University. Raised in Mainland China, she is fluent in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese.

Rachel Lu
Senior Analyst

Hong Kong

Rachel Lu is a Senior Analyst with Entertainment + Culture Advisors (ECA) based in Hong Kong. She is responsible for supporting the team in conducting research and analysis for available and competitive market assessment, case studies, industry benchmarks, demand modeling, and other aspects of project business planning for entertainment and cultural attractions.

Prior to joining ECA in June 2019, she was an analyst at Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels & Hospitality Group for three years, where she has undertaken various hotel valuation assignments as well as feasibility and market studies across China and the rest of Asia.

Rachel received her Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell School of Hotel Administration. She graduated with a minor in Real Estate and achieved Graduation with Distinction status. She is fluent in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese.

Selected Project Experience 
Market study and feasibility experience includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Proposed mixed-use commercial development (hotel portion) in Kai Tak
  • Proposed mixed-use commercial development (hotel portion) in Macau
  • Proposed hotel project in Hengqin, Zhuhai, China
  • Proposed hotel by a disclosed major Chinese developer in Tokyo, Japan
  • Market study for midscale and economy hotels in Bangkok, Thailand

Valuation experience includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Mandarin Oriental Hotel Hong Kong
  • Wynn Palace (Hotel portion)
  • Grand Hotel Beijing
  • Pan Pacific Suzhou
  • Amanwella, Sri Lanka

Sandy Hanagami
Finance Director

Los Angeles

Sandra Hanagami is the Finance Director of Entertainment + Culture Advisors (ECA). Prior to joining ECA, Ms. Hanagami was the Controller for Economics Research Associates (ERA), an economic consulting firm with over $28 million in annual revenue. With extensive experience in finance and accounting, Ms. Hanagami became the Finance Director for the Economics Practice at AECOM after its acquisition of Economics Research Associates (ERA) in 2007.

Sandra Hanagami graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.