Disneyland Gets Approval for Shanghai Park

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SHANGHAI, Nov. 5 – The Shanghai municipal government has confirmed reports that the central government has finally approved the Shanghai Disneyland Project.

The Shanghai Disneyland park, which has been on the drawing board for the past twelve years, had originally been passed over in preference to Hong Kong. The new Disneyland is scheduled to open in 2014, and is expected to cover seven square kilometers, costing US$3.66 billion.

China Daily reported that several state-owned firms in Shanghai would form a joint venture with Walt Disney to invest in the project, with the SOEs collectively taking a 60 per cent stake in the venture. The site is between Pudong airport and the Luijiazhui area.

Disney president and CEO Robert Iger said in a statement that China was one of the most dynamic, exciting and important countries in the world, and the approval marked “a very significant milestone” for the Walt Disney Company in China’s mainland. The Shanghai park will join Hong Kong Disneyland to become Disney’s second in China and third in Asia, including Tokyo’s Disneyland. The move is seen in part as a nod to U.S. President Barack Obama who will bring a large U.S. trade delegation to China when he visits for the first time in mid-November.

Disney have long had a presence in mainland China, however until now this has been mainly in introducing characters to the Chinese population via branding, TV serials and a spin off division in animation. Disney currently has a twelve hour a week exposure in China through their “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” program, which is available in Chinese on selected pay TV channels on the mainland.

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