Shanghai and the Walt Disney Company are close to agreement about a theme park in the city, with a formal announcement possible about the time of the Olympics, a Hong Kong newspaper said yesterday, but the report could not be confirmed. The Beijing-backed Wen Wei Po claimed that the Disney park - the first on the mainland and the third in Asia after Tokyo and Hong Kong - would open no earlier than 2012, missing the original goal of opening in time for the World Expo in Shanghai in 2010. The report quoted local government sources. Calls to the Shanghai government news office went unanswered yesterday. In March, Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng said the city had applied to the National Development and Reform Commission to build a park. Talks have gone on for about a decade and Shanghai has repeatedly said any decision would depend on the central government. The report said the new park would be in Chuansha town in Pudong district. At 10 sq km, the park would be eight times as large as the original Hong Kong park, though it would be built in stages, the newspaper said. Total investment was put at 40 billion yuan (HK$45.49 billion). One official who took part in the negotiations was quoted as saying Disney had suggested a model under which the Shanghai government supplied the land and most of the funds for construction and would hold a majority stake. Disney would be in charge of daily operations and would receive an annual payment for use of the brand, as well as a share of the operating revenue, the official was quoted as saying. In Hong Kong, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Frederick Ma Si-hang said yesterday that the government had not been told formally of the Shanghai plan. But he predicted that Hong Kong Disneyland would not be threatened if Shanghai built a theme park. 'As a brand-building project, Disneyland in Hong Kong could benefit, as mainlanders will be given more opportunities to meet Mickey Mouse,' he said. 'We should not think that tourists will not come to Hong Kong Disneyland because of the Shanghai park. I believe the two parks will have different attractions.'