According to the state-run Shanghai Securities News, Universal Studios, a subsidiary of NBC Universal, is close to winning approval from China’s government to build a theme park costing more than US$1.5bn.

The park, which will be jointly owned by Universal and the Beijing Tourism Group, with the Chinese side holding a majority stake, will be located in the eastern region of Tongzhou.

"We are waiting for government approval but it is not yet clear when that will come through," said Beijing Tourism Group chairman Duan Qiang.

The discussions for setting up the park reportedly began in early 2001.