The planned Disneyland theme park in Shanghai might start much smaller than thought as the project will be built in phases, according to Mayor Han Zheng . By dividing the project into several stages, officials hoped to reduce the commercial risk and avoid an extreme impact on Hong Kong's theme park, analysts said. The proposals submitted to the central government by the Shanghai municipal government were undergoing a feasibility study, Mr Han told the South China Morning Post yesterday on the sidelines of the National People's Congress session. Earlier reports had suggested the park would be 4.7 times the size of Hong Kong's Disneyland. When asked about the planned size, Mr Han said: 'We will develop it phase by phase. In regard to the amount of money the project needs, everything depends on the result of a feasibility study. 'Hong Kong's Disneyland theme park is also being developed phase by phase.' On Thursday, Mr Han put an end to six years of rumour by revealing that the city had at last applied to the National Development and Reform Commission to build the park. With the feasibility study in progress, the municipal government had not received any official responses from central agencies, he added. Analysts said a big project such as Disneyland would require formal approval from at least a dozen ministries and agencies in Beijing, with the reform commission, the top economic planning agency, playing a crucial role in approving such a huge undertaking. If approved, Shanghai's park would become Disney's third in Asia after Japan's, which opened in 1983, and Hong Kong's, which opened in 2005. Rumours have swirled around potential locations in Shanghai since 2002, when the Walt Disney Company signed a statement of intent to build a Disneyland on the mainland. It later set up a venture with the city's Lujiazui Group to develop a site that was said to be about 4.7 times the size of Hong Kong's Disneyland. However, the project was put on hold after then-Shanghai party chief Chen Liangyu was implicated in a 2006 corruption scandal involving social security funds. More recently, Hong Kong had voiced concerns that a second Disneyland would hurt its park, which attracted only 4 million visitors in its second year - a decline of 23 per cent from the first year and well short of attendance targets. Hong Kong Disneyland announced on January 21 that it would add two new 'lands' designed to appeal more to adults.