Developers plan Shanghai theme park

Plans for a Disneyland in Shanghai, shelved after a corruption scandal involving the city’s top Communist Party leaders, have been revived, with developers applying to the Chinese government to build a theme park.

Speaking on the sidelines of China’s annual parliament, the National People’s Congress, Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng confirmed an application had been made to the central government’s planning agency in Beijing to go ahead with Asia’s third Disneyland.

While a spokeswoman for Disney said there was no deal, political will from the Chinese side is clearly strong.

“We have applied to the National Development and Reform Commission, but so far we have not received any notice of approval,” Han told reporters on the sidelines of the NPC.

No notice of approval had yet been given, and no specific site had been chosen, although the city’s booming Pudong district is expected to be the site, and media reports say the park will be ready by 2020.

Disney spokeswoman Alannah Hall-Smith said there were no changes in the situation from their side.

“We do not have any updates. There is no deal and no announcement,” she said.

Original plans to bring Disneyland to China’s financial capital were put on hold when the city’s Communist Party boss, Chen Liangyu, was implicated in a major corruption investigation in 2006.

In 2002, Walt Disney Co. signed a statement of intent to build a Disney theme park on the mainland and then set up a venture with Shanghai’s Lujiazui Group to develop the site, which would be about 4.7 times the size of Hong Kong’s Disneyland. However, that plan was shelved as there were fears that it could badly affect the Hong Kong park, which relies on a big mainland aud for revenues.

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