Shanghai-Disney deal gets pricey

09:33, January 07, 2011      

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Minnie Mouse sits next to a road near the Shanghai Disneyland construction site. Photo: CFP

Mickey Mouse and Company are coming to Shanghai, but they're going to have to contend with a bit of debate over the exorbitant cost of a Disneyland that is predicted to cost more than the World Expo.

Citing the Shanghai government, the 21st Century Business Herald reported Thursday that the total cost of the 107-square-kilometer project - which began construction in November and will finish in 2015 - will exceed 100 billion yuan ($15 billion).

The core area of the theme park, covering seven square kilometers, costing about 25 billion yuan, the newspaper added.

However, a Shanghai-based investment fund manager, who is working closely on the project, told the Global Times on condition of anonymity that the reported budget is a very conservative estimate.

"Based on the experience of other Disney parks, it is safe to say that the project requires a lot of financing, and a one-time investment may not be enough," he said.

According to the Herald, developing the park's 13.6-square-kilometer supporting area will require about 40 billion yuan, and most of that cost will be covered by the Shanghai government.

If the reported budget is true, the park's 100-billion-yuan price tag will be significantly larger than the 23.6 billion yuan spent on infrastructure for the World Expo.

The massive park will be located in the Chuansha area of Pudong district.
Dong Qinfa, deputy director of the Pudong New Area's Financial Services Bureau, told the Global Times that the theme park is going to be the most important project in Shanghai since the World Expo, and it will propel the city into a period of economic growth.

Construction of the park is also in line with Shanghai's 2009-2012 Planning for Tertiary Sector Development, which aims at a 12 percent growth, or an increase of 1 trillion yuan, in the city's services industry.

Hua Jingbo, 25, from Shanghai, told the Global Times "it is really exciting to see Disneyland coming to the footstep of my home. It will definitely help Chuansha, as well as the whole city, open up and develop further."

Some analysts suggest that the park will benefit many other sectors in the city, such as employment, tourism, real estate, advertising and manufacturing.

However, as the second Disneyland in China, many people fear that the Shanghai resort will suffer the same fate its counterpart in Hong Kong, which has been operating below expectations since it opened.

By Zhu Jialei, Liu Shengnan in Shanghai and Yu Miao, Global Times
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