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.