SHANGHAI: Walt Disney Co yesterday moved to quell speculation that it is on the verge of reaching a deal with the government over a proposal for a Disneyland theme park in Shanghai.
Rumours of an impending agreement reached fever pitch on Tuesday after Robert Iger, Disney's president and CEO, was quoted on Hong Kong Cable TV as saying talks with the Chinese Government were "ongoing."
On Wall Street, Disney stock climbed almost 7 per cent by the market's close on Tuesday, its highest price in six months, but company spokeswoman Allanah Goss was quick to dispel any ideas that an agreement was imminent.
"There is nothing new to report on the progress of Shanghai discussions," she said. "The Walt Disney Co has not reached an agreement with Shanghai to build a second theme park in China. If we were to reach an agreement for a second park in China, it would not open before 2010.
"China is a priority for the entire company and we have a continuing dialogue about a variety of Disney initiatives, including television, motion pictures and consumer products, of which theme parks are only a part."
The Shanghai municipal government yesterday refused to comment on whether negotiations were taking place.
Although stories about a Shanghai Disneyland have been circulating since 2003, all sides have remained tight-lipped about concrete progress one reason Iger's comment sparked such a storm.
Since the opening of Disneyland Hong Kong last September, speculation on the company's plans for Shanghai has intensified, but both the company and Hong Kong's Economic Development and Labour Bureau agree that no rival Disneyland will open on the Chinese mainland until at least 2010.
At the time the Hong Kong park opened, China Radio International reported Shanghai Disneyland would open in 2012 and identified a 500-hectare site in Pudong's Chuansha Town as having been earmarked for the development.