(Yicai Global) Feb. 15 -- The Walt Disney Co. [NYSE:DIS] has denied plans to invest in the Chinese central province of Henan after the local government listed the US entertainment company as an investor in one of its key projects for the year.
Zhengzhou recently announced the 'Walt Disney Zhengzhou Project,' with a total investment of CNY3 billion (USD437 million), as a key provincial project this year, according to online news platform The Paper. The news triggered questions on whether or not the California-based company would set up a third theme park in China.
Soon after, Chinese news portal Cnstock.com reported that Disney's corporate communications department had denied plans to build an amusement park or make any investments in Henan province.
"We don't know why Disney responded this way," said a staff member at Zhengzhou International Culture and Creativity Industry Park, who affirmed that the project does indeed exist.
A source from Zhongmou county government in Henan said the project was real but was related to product licensing, not an amusement park. Adding that the agreement with Disney covered sales of cartoon, cultural and consumer products. However, the source would not say who the investors were.
Yesterday, Dahe.com, an official media platform in the province, confirmed that the project was based on licensing and not a new Disney theme park. The report added that the project should begin in the first half of the year.
Reports from November 2015 say that a memorandum of understanding signing ceremony was held for a Zhengzhou project between Henan provincial government and Walt Disney for a strategic cooperation.