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China approves construction of new Disneyland theme park

By Alisa Driscoll     Nov 5, 2009 in Business
The new park in Shanghai is estimated to cost roughly $3.6 billion to develop. Disney officials hope to crack the proven difficult Chinese pop culture arena.
After several years of endless negotiations, Disney finally got approval from the Chinese government to build one of its world-renowned theme parks in Shanghai on November 4. This marks a significant step for Western media and entertainment companies looking to tap into a difficult Chinese pop culture market.
According to Reuters, the delay in approval was caused by the Chinese government's hesitation to allow too much foreign influence in terms of its lifestyle and popular culture.
Disney relatively recently opened one of its theme parks in Hong Kong in 2005, but has struggled with low attendance numbers and chronic financial losses. Officials hope that by placing the new park in Shanghai, which is located in China's main financial district to which tourists and business people flock to every year, this park will be more successful on all levels. The city is also home to a population of roughly 19 million people which Disney thinks will ensure a steady number of local attendees.
Despite the recent approval by the central Chinese government, several important details like ownership structure and local partners must be discussed between the Shanghai local government and Disney officials. Talks are still ongoing on these matters and further details are expected to be announced as they come up.
Some residents of Shanghai are pleased with the development, hoping that by bringing in an international name like Disney to the region, their businesses will improve as a result. Others are weary of the possibility of Disney taking over their homes in order to construct the park. One unnamed source was quoted as saying "if they want to demolish this place, those who have to move will have to move. There's no choice."
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