The Chinese government has approved a Disney park in Shanghai, China’s largest city. This will be Disney’s sixth park. It is expected to open in five to six years.
The initial theme park—not including hotels and other infrastructure—will cost around $4 billion. If plans to build shopping areas and other resorts on the site about 20 miles from Shanghai proper are successful, the complex will rival Disney World in Orlando, Fla., Host to about 45 million visitors annually. The deal has far-reaching implications for China.
Not only does the deal pave the way for one of the largest foreign investments in China, it is also a sign that the government is willing to allow a greater presence of foreign culture in the country. The government has traditionally tried hard to limit the extent of foreign culture. For example, every year, only 20 non-Chinese movies are allowed to be shown in theaters.
The idea of a Disney park in Shanghai has been in the works among Chinese leaders for almost 20 years. In 1990, Zhu Rongyi, former Shanghai mayor and Chinese premier, visited Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.
In 2005, a Disney park opened in Hong Kong, but special permission is required for mainland Chinese to go there. That, along with public relations problems and criticisms that the park is too small has dented the park’s reputation.
Roughly 2,000 families that live in the rural land that is to become Shanghai’s Disneyland will have to relocate.
NPR's Morning Edition
Disney: China Approves Shanghai Theme Park
by Louisa Lim
November 4, 2009
The New York Times
China Approves Disney Theme Park in Shanghai
By Brooks Barnes
November 3, 2009
The Wall Street Journal
Beijing Backs Disney Shanghai Park
By Ethan Smith and James T. Areddy
November 3, 2009
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