(Yicai Global) Feb. 24 -- The Walt Disney Co. [NYSE:DIS] said it informed the Henan provincial government in central China that it was not involved in the 'Zhengzhou Walt Disney project.'
"We did not invest in the cultural and creative industry park in Zhengzhou, and were not involved in building the park, but we did authorize a third-party to sell copyrighted Disney products at the park," the US-based company said, adding that it signed a memorandum with the Henan government in November 2015, The Paper reported.
Since 2011, more than 667 hectares of land have been purchased for cultural and industrial parks in Zhengzhou in Henan, Hefei in Anhui province, Baotou in Inner Mongolia and Ningbo in Zhejiang province, and developed in what appears to be Disney's name. Investments in the project near CNY30 billion (USD4.4 billion) and "executives of Walt Disney" were involved in most projects, making it difficult to tell if all of the investments were employees' personal matters or the company's operations.
Meng Dekai, who claims to be "director of the Walt Disney International special project," appeared at the signing ceremony for the Walt Disney Zhengzhou project. Meng owns a number of companies whose names begin with 'Di,' the first character in Disney's Chinese name. When asked about his or his companies' connections to the theme park operator, Disney said they could not comment on their employees' personal matters.
Some of Meng's companies which use 'Di' in their name claim to be real estate developers, though official Walt Disney documents mention nothing about real estate other than for the use of theme parks and resorts.
Dimei International Cultural Investment Co., Meng's firm investing in the Walt Disney Zhengzhou project, was forecast to spend CNY3 billion on the project, CNY600 million of which would have been paid by the end of this year, Henan Business Daily reported. The project involves building a Disney administration center, an e-commerce trading center, a brand licensing and management center, a global procurement center, a 'dream town' business street, an international film and television translation and post-production center, an animation studio and a resort for families. A contract for the project was signed in January 2016.