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Work on Shanghai Disneyland starts

04-09-2011 09:01 BJT

SHANGHAI, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Construction work on the Shanghai Disney resort project began Friday, after a launching ceremony in the Pudong New Area of Shanghai in the morning.

Yu Zhengsheng (2nd R), head of Shanghai municipal Committee of the
Communist Party of China, Robert Iger (2nd L), president and CEO
of the Walt Disney Company based in the United States, attend the
ceremony marking the start of construction work on the Shanghai
Disneyland in Shanghai, east China, April 8, 2011. Construction
work on the Shanghai Disney resort project began Friday. The
Shanghai Disneyland theme park is scheduled for completion in five
years. Supporting projects, including two hotels and retail and
catering facilities, will also be built at an estimated cost of 4.5
billion yuan. (Xinhua/Ren Long)

Yu Zhengsheng, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Secretary of CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee, announced the commencement of the construction work during the ceremony.

According to Robert Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company based in the United States, who also attended the ceremony, the planned castle for the Disney resort will be higher and bigger than any others at Disneylands around the world.

The ceremony began with traditional Chinese drumming, followed by a performance by a Chinese children choir and 20 Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves -- all dressed in Chinese costumes. Singers from China and the United States gathered together in the song "Just One Dream," which was arranged specifically for the ceremony.

Covering an area of 1.16 square kilometers, the theme park inside the 3.9-sq-km Shanghai Disney resort, will be the world's sixth Disney amusement park and the first one on the Chinese mainland. It will also be the third of its kind in Asia, after already opened Disney parks in Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Investment in the Shanghai theme park is estimated at 24.5 billion yuan (3.7 billion U.S. dollars).

Shanghai Shendi Group, which was registered in August 2010, joined hands with Walt Disney Co. to undertake the development, construction, investment, operation and management of the Disney theme park and related facilities.

They have established three joint-venture companies:

-- Shanghai International Theme Park Co., Ltd., which is in charge of the theme park, with the Chinese side holding 57 percent of the stake, and the American side, the remaining 43 percent.

-- Shanghai Theme Park Associated Facility Co., Ltd., which is responsible for the supporting facilities, with the Chinese side holding 57 percent of the stake, and the American side, the other 43 percent.

-- Shanghai International Theme Park and Resort Zone Management Co., Ltd. are responsible for operations management of the project. The Chinese side, holding 30 percent of the management company, is entitled to appoint members of the board, supervisors, vice general manager and other senior executives to the company.

Both the Chinese and American sides have invested money into the project. No land-use or intellectual property rights are used as stakes in the project.

Shanghai Disneyland is scheduled for completion in five years.

Supporting facilities, including two hotels and retail and catering facilities, will also be built at an estimated cost of 4.5 billion yuan.

The site of Shanghai Disneyland is 12 kilometers from Pudong International Airport. The planned 9.2 km metro line 11, will be built for the project.

Xiao Lin, deputy head of the municipal Development and Reform Commission, said that the Disney project, which is one of the biggest investment projects in service industry on the Chinese mainland over the past 30 years, will facilitate the formation of Shanghai's new industrial structure with the service sector at its core.

According to an analyst report produced by the research institute under the commission, the project is expected to help directly or indirectly drive up more than 100 sectors in Shanghai. Tourism, modern commerce and trade, culture as well as shipping and logistics sectors will benefit most from it.

The Shanghai Disney resort will bring 18 billion yuan in annual revenue to the city's tourism sector, and 6 billion yuan to the modern commerce and trade sector, the report says.

Robert Iger showed confidence in both Shanghai and Hong Kong Disney projects. He said that given the country's huge population and vast territory, "China is more than capable to have two Disneylands."

You Anshan, head of the research center of Hong Kong and Macao affairs under the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said that in the future, the Hong Kong Disneyland will mainly target Southeast Asian markets, while the Shanghai resort will explore mainland markets, the northern regions in particular.

According to Prof. Ding Chun with the research institute for world economy under the Fudan University in Shanghai, as global cultural products, Disney cartoon images, with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck as representatives, are attractive to people, especially children, all over the world.

He noted that along with improvements in people's living standards on the Chinese mainland, demand for cultural products keeps steadily growing. That is the reason why demand for Disney products has remained stable on the mainland over the past few years.

China has for long taken on a prudent attitude towards possibility for its culture sector to open to the outside world. However, according to You Anshan, to welcome a Disneyland on the mainland reflected the nation's confidence in its own culture.

The agreement for the Shanghai Disney project was signed in November 2010.

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