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  1. #1

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    Shanghai Daily Reports "Disney breaks ground on Shanghai park" (4/8/2011)

    THE Walt Disney Co and its Chinese partner held a ground-breaking ceremony this morning for its Shanghai Disneyland theme park, the first on China's mainland.

    Disney has agreed to take a 43 percent stake in the project while Shanghai Shendi Group, representing companies under the local government, would own the remaining 57 percent, the United States entertainment giant said in a statement today.

    The Shanghai Disney Resort will be located on a 963 acre (3.9 square kilometer) site in Pudong, Shanghai, with additional room to expand in the future, the statement said.

    At opening, the resort will include Shanghai Disneyland, two themed hotels, a large retail, dining and entertainment venue, recreational facilities, a lake and associated parking and transportation hubs, it added.

    The initial investments in the project are about 24.5 billion yuan (US$3.7 billion) to build the theme park and an additional 4.5 billion yuan to build the other aspects of the resort, including the hotels and the retail, dining and entertainment area, the statement said.

    A joint venture management company will be formed with Disney having a 70 percent stake and Shendi Group owning a 30 percent stake. The management company will be responsible for creating, developing and operating the resort.

    The United States entertainment giant and Shanghai Shendi Group will host a press conference late in the morning to disclose more details of the local Disneyland project, according to the two companies.

    Shanghai Disneyland will be the third Disney theme park in Asia, following those in Tokyo and Hong Kong. Disney has long sought to make presence in Shanghai, an affluent city of more than 22 million people that is ringed by the Yangtze River Delta region, home to tens of millions more potential visitors.

    The Shanghai government also regards the project as a vital element in its bid to make the city a world-class tourist destination within five years. The first phase of the Shanghai project is expected to attract 7.3 million visitors a year when it opens in 2015, according to the local government.

    The Shanghai theme park, in the southeast of the city, is about 21 kilometers from People's Square, 18km from Lujiazui, 12km from Pudong International Airport and 30km from the Hongqiao transport hub.

    Negotiations began in the late 1990s, and momentum increased in 2009 when California-based Disney and the Shanghai government reached an initial framework agreement.

    Some market observers said that the Shanghai Disney park may siphon visitors from the Hong Kong resort. Although Hong Kong Disneyland launched to great fanfare, the Hong Kong park has been struggling to lure as many visitors as hoped.

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