Treaty of Nanking

Shanghai refuses to comment on Disney

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 December, 2006, 12:00am

Reports say theme park in doubt after pension scandal

Shanghai's city government declined to confirm a media report yesterday that Walt Disney was exploring other locations besides Shanghai for a mainland theme park, saying the decision was up to the central government.

The US entertainment giant had been exploring the possibility of opening a park in Shanghai for more than a year, Reuters reported yesterday, quoting city government officials.

Quoting sources, the report said the chances of Beijing approving the project had shrunk since Shanghai's Communist Party boss Chen Liangyu was implicated in a big corruption investigation in September, leading Disney to also consider other options.

'It's hard for Shanghai to win approval from the central government at the moment,' a government source with knowledge of the issue told the agency.

When contacted yesterday, a Shanghai government press office spokeswoman said: 'We have no idea about this report. Any big projects, including theme parks, should get approval from the central government. Shanghai has not changed its hope of building a Disney park and is trying to win the project. But we will comply with central government arrangements.'

Alannah Goss, director of corporate communications with the Walt Disney Company in Hong Kong, also declined to confirm the media report.

'We have absolutely no comment on this. We have not reached any agreement with Shanghai to build a second destination resort in China. Our focus is purely on the successful operation of the first theme park in China, which is in Hong Kong Disneyland. That's all we're focusing on,' Ms Goss said.

'China is a priority for the entire company. We have a continuing dialogue about a lot of Disney initiatives, including television, motion pictures and consumer products, of which theme parks make up only a part.'

Asked whether the company still hoped to build a theme park in Shanghai or other mainland cities, she said 'no comment'.