Disney Denies Deal for Theme Park in Shanghai

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SHANGHAI, Jan. 9 – The Walt Disney Co. has denied reports that it has agreed to build the mainland’s first Disneyland in Shanghai by 2013.

“The report is not true and no agreement has been reached,” Tiffany Huang, assistant to senior manager, Walt Disney Co. of China told Xinhua.

The Shanghai Securities News said in a previous report that policy experts involved in the Disneyland project claimed that the company and the Shanghai government had already signed an agreement for a theme park involving the Shanghai Lujiazui Group Company and the Waigaoqiao Group Company.

A spokeswoman with the Shanghai municipal government told Xinhua: “No further progress has been made, and such a big project has to wait for the central government’s approval.”

According to Reuters, Walt Disney Co. is looking at other locations in the mainland because of concerns that the central government may not support its plans in Shanghai.

Last September, Shanghai’s Communist Party boss, Chen Liangyu, was embroiled in a corruption investigation that also included other senior city officials and businessmen accused of embezzling pension funds.

The tense political situation could affect the outcome of Beijing’s decision on the Disney project in Shanghai. “It’s hard for Shanghai to win approval from the central government at the moment,” a government source told Reuters.

Past reports claimed that the Disneyland would be built in the city’s Pudong area, located 20 minutes from the Shanghai Pudong International Airport.