(Adds confirmation from Beijing government and Beijing Tourism)
SHANGHAI Feb 12 U.S. film giant Universal
Studios is awaiting regulatory approval to build a theme park
costing more than 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) in Beijing, a
Chinese government official said on Thursday.
"Universal has filed an application to build a theme park in
Beijing and the project is being screened by the government," a
spokeswoman with the Beijing city government told Reuters.
The park, to be jointly owned by Universal Studios and
state-owned Beijing Tourism Group, has been listed by Beijing's
city government as one of its key projects for 2009, the official
Shanghai Securities News quoted unnamed sources as saying.
The project is likely to be approved because the authorities
are keen to launch big projects that would boost the slowing
economy, the report said.
But the Beijing government official played down the report
saying there was no guarantee the theme park would get the green
An executive with Beijing Tourism, which owns Beijing Capital
Tourism Co (600258.SS) and China Quanjude (Group) Co (002186.SZ),
told Reuters the firm had set up a team to handle the project,
but declined to elaborate.
Universal Studios was not immediately available to comment.
Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) said last month that it would submit a
proposal to the Chinese government to build a theme park in
Shanghai. That project would cost more than $3 billion, Chinese
media reports said.
Universal Studios is operated by NBC Universal, which is 80
percent owned by General Electric Co (GE.N) and 20 percent by
($1 = 6.83 Yuan)
(Reporting by Fang Yan; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)