SHANGHAI, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Authorities in Shanghai have started preparing a site for a Disneyland theme park, although central authorities have not yet reached any agreement with Walt Disney Co. (DIS.N: Quote
), an official newspaper said on Wednesday.
The amusement park, planned for construction in the outskirts of Shanghai's Pudong New District, would cover an area of 4.25 square kilometres (1.641 sq mile), China Securities Journal reported, citing sources.
Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger told CNBC on Wednesday that the company has been long interested in Shanghai for a theme park but had nothing further to add about whether plans had been finalized.
Iger said the nearly year-old Hong Kong Disneyland park "is a major brand builder for the company in China."
"If we build at another area in China it won't affect Hong Kong," Iger told the network.
The Shanghai Disneyland, which would be the first Disney theme park on the Chinese mainland, is expected to open when the city hosts the World Expo in 2010, the report said.
But authorities in Beijing have still to decide whether to give permission for construction of the park, a spokesperson for the Shanghai municipal government said.
Shanghai's mayor in March said the city was eager to host Disney, after the $1.8 billion Disneyland Hong Kong opened in 2005, while China's capital city Beijing also wants one. (Additional reporting by Gina Keating in Los Angeles, editing by Dave Zimmerman)