Hong Kong Disneyland says no plan for further expansion

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The Independent Online

Hong Kong's Disneyland on Monday dismissed a report that it is mulling a further expansion in a bid to compete with a planned new park in Shanghai.

The Hong Kong Economic Times cited an unnamed source as saying that Disneyland is considering a further enlargement, after it announced a deal in July to expand the venue by almost one quarter.

But a Disneyland spokeswoman said there was no such plan.

"The current position is to implement the extension plan as agreed in July with the development of the three themed areas in phases. There has been no discussion on further expansion," she told AFP.

Under the deal announced in July, Disney would invest 6.2 billion Hong Kong dollars (795 million US) to build 30 new attractions over the next five years.

The government will retain control of the park with a 52 percent ownership stake.

Since its opening in 2005, Hong Kong Disneyland has been desperate to boost the number and quality of its attractions at the three billion US dollar venue as it struggles to attract visitors.

But the park's future became more uncertain after China announced earlier this month that it had given the green light for Disney to build its long-awaited theme park on the Chinese mainland in Shanghai.

There were concerns that both mainland Chinese and overseas tourists would shun the Hong Kong park when the Shanghai venue opens in 2014.

The first phase of construction for Shanghai Disneyland will cover only 116 hectares (1.2 square kilometres), making it smaller than the 126-hectare Hong Kong park and one of the smallest of Disney's franchises.