Plans for a Shanghai Disneyland emerged in 2005 but were suspended when the city’s Communist Party boss, Chen Liangyu, was implicated in a corruption investigation in 2006.

The success or otherwise of Disney’s Hong Kong resort was also thought likely to be a benchmark as to whether mainland China could sustain its own park.

Recent state media reports had said that while Shanghai still planned to build a major theme park by 2020, it had yet to decide on any specific project.

The Walt Disney Company is believed to have signed a statement of intent to build a Disneyland on the mainland in 2002, and then set up a venture with Shanghai’s Lujiazui Group to develop the site, almost five times the size of Hong Kong’s Disneyland.

"We have applied to the National Development and Reform Commission (the economic planning agency), but so far we have not received any notice of approval," Han told reporters.

"Any big-scale project of this kind has to receive central government approval, and Shanghai will, of course, abide by the central government’s decision," he said, adding that the location of the proposed park had not yet been decided.

To date, Disney has made no official comment on the Shanghai proposals.