ENTERTAINMENT

Disney to apply for Shanghai theme park

Walt Disney Co. confirmed it is working on plans to build a new theme park in Shanghai. According to Chinese media, Beijing authorities are about to approve the project after a decade of talks with the US entertainment giant.

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AFP - The Walt Disney Co. entertainment giant said Monday it is preparing to submit plans to the Chinese government to build a theme park in Shanghai, but stressed no deal had been agreed with Beijing.

After months of denying Chinese media reports that a deal was imminent, Disney acknowledged it had worked on a joint application report with the Shanghai municipal government, but said it was still in the proposal stages.

"No deal has been agreed to, no project has been approved," Disney spokeswoman Leslie Goodman said in an e-mailed statement.

Disney has been in talks with Chinese officials for a decade about building a theme park in China's economic hub and largest city.

"As part of this lengthy process, we worked on a joint application report with the Shanghai government which will be submitted to the central government for review," Goodman said.

Disney declined to say whether the application had been completed or when it might be submitted to the central government.

Previous Chinese media reports had said the proposed park could be built on a 10-square-kilometre (3.9-square-mile) site near Shanghai's Pudong airport.

Beijing would provide the land in exchange for a stake in the park, but Disney would manage the facility, according to previous media reports.

The reports said Disney's Shanghai theme park could be eight times the size of its park in Hong Kong, which is 57-percent government owned.

Disney's Hong Kong park has been struggling to meet visitor targets since it opened in 2005.

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