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Disneyland in Pudong a 'done deal'
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Years of negotiations between the Shanghai government and Walt Disney Co appear to have clinched a deal for a huge Disneyland to be built in Pudong.

The official announcement is expected to be made after the Beijing Olympics in August.

An exclusive report published by the Hong Kong-based Wen Wei Po newspaper yesterday said the park will cover about 10 square kilometers of land - about eight times the size of Hong Kong Disneyland.

It will be near Pudong's Chuansha Town, about 20 minutes' drive from Pudong International Airport.

Earlier media reports had said the Shanghai government preferred it to be built on the city's island county Chongming.

Yesterday's report quoted unnamed people involved in the discussion, saying Shanghai Disneyland won't follow the Hong Kong model, in which the Hong Kong government leased the land to Disney.

The Shanghai government will provide the land, finance construction, and own the majority stake in the park, the report said.

Management rights will be given to Disney, which will also get royalties and a percentage of operational income.

The report said the park will open "at the earliest possible time" in 2012, when about one-third of the park will be completed.

"Considering inflation, the budget to build the park, excluding the land cost, should rise to about 40 billion yuan (US$5.7 billion), from the earlier estimate of 30 billion yuan," an unnamed "expert involved in the appraisal of the project" was quoted as saying.

In March, Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng said the local government had applied to the central government to build a Disneyland.

It would be the third Disneyland in Asia after Japan and Hong Kong.

Walt Disney Co signed a statement of intent to build a Disneyland on the Chinese mainland in 2002, and then set up a venture to develop it.

The plan was put on hold because of concerns that the Hong Kong park, opened in 2005, would suffer.

(Shanghai Daily June 29, 2008)

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