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Shanghai-Disney deal reached

Local authorities and the Walt Disney Company have reached an agreement on major issues behind the building of the first Disneyland theme park on the Chinese mainland, Shanghai mayor Han Zheng said over the weekend.

 

"The municipal government started thinking of a Shanghai Disneyland more than a decade ago," Han said at a press conference after the closing ceremony of the annual session of the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress on Saturday.

 

"A team from Shanghai has been in contact with Disney since then and constant and pragmatic discussions have been held," he said.

 

"An agreement was reached recently. But the State Council has the final say on the project and we will make arrangements according to its decision," Han said.

 

Rumors of a Disney theme park in Shanghai have been circulating for years but neither of the two sides had confirmed it until recently.

 

On Jan 9, Disney told The Wall Street Journal in an e-mail it had worked on a joint application report with the Shanghai government, which would soon be submitted to the central government for review.

 

The $3.59 billion park is slated to be built by 2014 and will be sited on the east bank of Shanghai's Huangpu River, bordering Pudong district's Chuansha town and Nanhui district, the journal cited unidentified sources close to the project as saying.

 

Previous reports said 10 sq km of land has been set aside for the park. Its first phase will reportedly include a theme park, a hotel and a shopping center, covering an area of 1.5 sq km.

 

The mayor also said at the press conference that an ongoing project to extend the city's maglev rail was making headway.

 

"The project is expected to connect the city's two airports and will serve not only Shanghai, but also the whole Yangtze River Delta region and the country," Han said.

 

"We have been listening to opinions from experts. Professionals from around the country are still comparing the available plans once they reach a conclusion, we will focus on feedback from the public," he said.

 

(China Daily January 19, 2009)