China’s planning agency has approved plans for a Disney theme park in Shanghai, the Walt Disney Co said yesterday, a major step toward setting a deal for the long awaited project.
The approval by the National Development and Reform Commission will allow Shanghai and Disney to work on final details for the amusement park, to be located in the eastern Pudong district.
“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,” Robert Iger, president and CEO of company, said in a statement.
It said the initial phase of the project would include a “Magic Kingdom-style theme park with characteristics tailored to the Shanghai region.” Amenities will be consistent with other Disney resorts in the world, it said.
Disney has gradually expanded its presence in China after opening a theme park in Hong Kong in 2005 and now has offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.
The Hong Kong government, which owns a majority stake in Hong Kong Disneyland, tried to downplay the prospect that the new Shanghai park would draw visitors away.
“Our country has 1.3 billion people. We can see that our country’s economic development has created a very big market. It can easily accommodate two Disneylands,” Hong Kong Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Rita Lau (劉吳惠蘭) said yesterday.