Disney’s in drive over Shanghai park

New Disneyland not to be built before 2010

BEIJING — Walt Disney has confirmed it is in talks with the Chinese government about building mainland China’s first Disneyland theme park in Shanghai, but repeated that there will be no park before 2010.

“On theme parks, we have ongoing discussions — ongoing and ongoing and ongoing — with the Chinese government about a park in Shanghai,” Disney prexy Bob Iger was quoted as saying on Hong Kong’s Cable TV.

There was no indication of any timetable on the new theme park for Shanghai, China’s biggest city and business hub. Iger said Shanghai’s big population and rapid economic development made it an attractive option.

A spokesman for Shanghai’s city government said that “since building a Disney theme park is an international project, we ultimately will have to get central government approval.”

Disney in Hong Kong said in a statement that there was nothing new to report on the progress of Shanghai discussions and no deal had been reached yet to build the park.

“If we were to reach an agreement for a second park in China, it would not open before 2010. China is a priority for the entire company, and we have a continuing dialogue about a variety of Disney initiatives, including television, motion pictures and consumer products, of which theme parks are only a part,” the statement said.

Disney opened its first theme park in China in Hong Kong last September, and the Disneyland on Lantau Island helped give Disney’s financial results a boost last year. Disney is unlikely to build a second one in China for several years as the Hong Kong park needs time to establish itself.

Last month, Disney shot down speculation that the capital, Beijing, could gain an advantage on rival Shanghai in hosting the first Disneyland on the mainland.

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