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Disney signs letter to build Shanghai theme park

Abstract: Walt Disney Co. plans to open a theme park in Shanghai by 2008.

Walt Disney Co., the multinational media group, has signed a non-binding letter of intent with Shanghai authorities to develop a theme park in Shanghai by 2008. Disney built its first Asian theme park in Tokyo, Japan, twenty years ago and is developing another park in Hong Kong.

The new theme park is expected to be located on the outskirts of Shanghai’s Pudong area, where the government has developed a new airport and is building a magnetic high-speed railway. Shanghai has marketed itself aggressively to the world in recent years. It is developing a Forumula One raceway and bidding aggressively to host the 2010 World Expo.

The Shanghai deal is upsetting Hong Kong authorities who are worried about its impact on the Hong Kong park, due to open in 2006. The Hong Kong government is contributing almost US$2 billion to the park and associated infrastructure, including the cost of building an exclusive rail link to the park. Disney will invest only US$314 in the park in return for a 43 % stake and management fees. 

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