China OKs Disney park in Shanghai

Project expected to be completed in 2014

BEIJING — Disney’s plans to build mainland China’s first Disneyland in Shanghai were given a big boost with the announcement Wednesday that the project had been given the go-ahead from Beijing.

The central government’s approval allows Disney and its Shanghai partners to move forward toward a final agreement to build and operate the park in China’s biggest city and begin preliminary development work in the city’s Pudong region, Disney said in a statement.

“China is one of the most dynamic, exciting and important countries in the world, and this approval marks a very significant milestone for the Walt Disney Company in mainland China,” prexy Robert Iger said.

While no figure was given in the statement, officials in Pudong, a newly developed area on the east bank of Shanghai’s Huangpu River, have said investment in the theme park could reach tens of billions of yuan. Some reports have set it at $3.5 billion.

Disney has a theme park on Lantau Island, which it operates with the Hong Kong government, and it also has Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan.

The project is expected to be built by 2014. State media has reported previously that Shanghai Disneyland would be eight times the size of the park in Hong Kong and include hotels and shopping areas.

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