China OKs Shanghai Disney
Theme park deal green-lighted after decades of talks
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2009 4:40 AM CST
Villagers watch journalists sending reports from an empty field which is to become the site of a Disney theme park in Shanghai.    (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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(Newser) – The Magic Kingdom is coming to the Middle Kingdom after nearly 20 years of negotiations, Disney announced yesterday. The massive Disneyland-style theme park to be built in Shanghai will dwarf the one in semi-autonomous Hong Kong, and will eventually rival the size of Florida's Disney World. Analysts believe the $3.5 billion park will be one of the biggest-ever foreign investments in China, the New York Times reports.

Analysts say it's unclear why the Beijing government has chosen now to green-light the project, although the tens of thousands of jobs that will be created likely played a role. Allowing a foreign—and very American—entertainment brand such a big foothold in China is seen as a landmark development. "It’s a signal that now they will tolerate a certain kind of Western investment,” one expert said.