Walt Disney plans to open its new 34 billion yuan (HK$42.6 billion) theme park in Shanghai in the first half of next year, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger plans to update investors on the park’s progress during a quarterly earnings conference call on Tuesday, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

Iger said in November that the company planned to announce the opening date early this year.

Disney, the world’s largest theme-park operator, was targeting a late 2015 debut, Iger said last May, while Shanghai’s mayor Yang Xiong said at a January 29 briefing that basic construction for the project would be completed by this year.

The park, Disney’s first on mainland China, is a joint venture between Disney, based in Burbank, California, and Shanghai Shendi Group, a local consortium that owns 57 per cent.

A Walt Disney spokeswoman had no comment on the opening date. Calls to Shendi’s office were not answered.

The scope of the Shanghai project was expanded last April when Iger announced US$800 million in additional attractions.

He attributed the increase in capacity to an improved outlook for China’s tourism market.

Some 330 million potential customers live within a 480-km radius of the site, Disney said.

“Shanghai Disneyland represents our best international growth initiative in a long time,” Iger said on a conference call in November… see more

source: scmp