BEIJING, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Walt Disney Co. denied Thursday a report in a Chinese newspaper, which claimed that the company had agreed with Shanghai to build the Chinese mainland's first Disneyland.
"The report is not true and no agreement has been reached," said an assistant to senior manager Tiffany Huang at the Shanghai-based Walt Disney Co. of China.
A report published on Thursday by the Shanghai Securities News quoted unidentified sources, who were said to be policy experts who had been involved in the Disneyland project for years, as saying that the company and the Shanghai government had signed an agreement for a theme park.
The report also said that the project would open in 2013. It would also, according to the newspaper, involve Shanghai Lujiazui Group Company and the Waigaoqiao Group Company.
A spokeswoman with the Shanghai municipal government told Xinhua: "No further progress has been made, and such a big project has to wait for the central government's approval."
Rumors about the project emerged in 2002, and negotiations reportedly went through multiple tough rounds.
Earlier reports said the Disneyland would be located in the southeast suburbs of Shanghai's Pudong area, which is only 20 minutes' drive from the Shanghai Pudong International Airport.
According to the China Daily website, 10 sq km of land has been set aside for the park, which is estimated to cost 40 billion yuan (about 5.9 billion U.S. dollars).