SEOUL (AFX) - US movie studio MGM Inc is seeking to build its first ever overseas theme park in South Korea's southern city of Busan, the company's publicity agent and Busan City officials said.

MGM and Busan City plan to jointly build the 'MGM Studio Park', with Busan City providing the land -- one mln square meters -- and infrastructure, the company's publicity agent said here.

'It is MGM's first overseas theme park and will be the model of a future theme park,' the agent said, adding that MGM film content and South Korean IT technology will be combined for the project.

The first phase will require some 600 mln usd by 2010, including the park, a hotel and other facilities, it said, adding that a memorandum of understanding on the deal would be signed here Wednesday.

But Yoon Jong-Suk, a manager of Busan City Hall, said MGM and Busan City had not yet agreed upon details of the contract, including land price.

'We have selected MGM as the preferred bidder to build a theme park on one mln square meters of land,' Yoon told Agence France-Presse, adding that a main contract would be signed within a year.

The theme park will be a part of a tourism complex Busan is building in the eastern part of the city.

'MGM has opted for Busan over rivals including Seoul and Jeju island,' he said, noting that Disney has a theme park in Tokyo and is apparently planning one in Shanghai after building a park in Hong Kong while Universal Studios has its own in Osaka.

South Korea's Lotte Group also operates a sprawling in-door theme park in eastern Seoul.

MGM plans to set up a movie studio in the Busan park so that visitors may witness the making of films, Yoon said.

For MGM, which operates a movie theme park in Disneyland in Orlando, Florida, a Busan theme park will be a first overseas movie theme park, the agent said.
Source : Forbes