Beijing, Jan 13: Entertainment giant Walt Disney's long-awaited USD 5.5 billion theme park Shanghai Disney Resort, the first in mainland China, will officially open on June 16, the company announced today. The 963-acre park will open after more than a decade of planning and will host a spectacular welcoming ceremony for the first group of tourists.
The opening will come amid a slowdown in China's economic growth which has led to massive losses around the world.
The ceremony is part of a multi-day grand opening celebration, state-run a newsagency said. Construction of the resort, the sixth of its kind worldwide, started in 2011 with an investment of 34 billion yuan (about USD 5.5 billion).
The park will feature attractions unseen in five other Disney resorts worldwide, including the ones based on Marvel comics and Star Wars and others inspired by Chinese culture, according to a previous plan.
The park, first in mainland China as there is already one in Hong Kong opened in 2005, is jointly owned by state-backed consortium Shanghai Shendi (57 per cent) and Walt Disney Co (43 per cent).
Disney wanted to build a park in Shanghai since the 1990s. In 2002, it signed a letter of intent with the local government with the goal of a 2008 opening.
Construction began in April 2011. Chinese and Hollywood companies have been forming partnerships and striking deals at an increasing rate recently, as studios rush to establish their brands in the world's most populous nation.
China's Wanda Group yesterday bought US film studio Legendary Entertainment, producer of hits like "Jurassic World" and "Godzilla", for a whopping USD 3.5 billion, turning its billionaire chairman Wang Jianlin into a Hollywood movie mogul.
Chinese government views entertainment as an important piece of soft power. Theme parks are Disney's second largest business after television.