Disney is moving forward with plans to build its first ever park in mainland China, a $3.59 billion Shanghai park to open in 2014.
This planned park, hotel and shopping development, co-owned by the Shanghai government and Disney, would be one of the largest foreign investments in China. It's particularly notable considering the global economy is slowing and Disney is still struggling to get Hong Kong Disneyland to really click. The weakening economy may actually help this park move forward-- Disney says the park will create 50,000 new jobs.
This is no surprise -- Disney's been talking about this for years and year -- and it's not final yet. The latest is that Disney and the Shangha government agreed to submit a proposal to the Chinese central government. One piece missing from this proposal: any Disney-owned broadcast channels in China. Not having a Chinese Disney could make it hard to build awareness of Disney's brands and drive consumers to the park franchise. But building a park and getting more exposure on TV could help Disney be the one profiting from its brands, rather than the pirates.
Considering Disney's efforts to fill its U.S. parks despite the economic downturn, the mouse house is surely counting on the recession to end soon.
Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com