Plans have been initiated for a Shanghai Disney theme park. It was reported in the Hong Kong Economic Times that Shanghai's government signed a letter of intent with Walt Disney Co. The news has prompted concerns that the park would rival Hong Kong Disneyland, currently under construction and hoped to be finished by 2005.

Disney's Hong Kong spokeswoman could not confirm or deny the report, but she commented: 'Right now our priority is to successfully open Hong Kong Disneyland in 2005/2006. We have made no definitive decision or comment at this time. We have always stated that two parks in China is a possibility in future.'

Beijing authorities have assured that the Disney park in Shanghai will not open before Hong Kong's. The corporation's proposals are presently at the discussion stage, and the theme park will not become a reality until 2006 at the earliest.

If the Shanghai park is completed, the Chinese coastal city will hold the third Disney theme park in Asia, after attractions in Hong Kong and Tokyo. The parks are expected to be a massive boost to the economy, attracting tourists from China and beyond.