As the Walt Disney Company opened the gates of its new $3.5 billion (€2.81bn; £1.9bn) Hong Kong theme park yesterday (Monday), incoming ceo Robert Iger says it will put a Chinese mainland development on the back burner until it has guaranteed access to the country's television network.

Iger says the company needs to introduce Chinese viewers to Disney characters through TV before it will consider building a theme park in Shanghai, sometime after 2010.

The city has been lobbying for such an investment with the blessing of Chinese leaders in Beijing, but at the same time tougher regulations on media ownership have been introduced in the country, ostensibly to preserve Chinese culture and limit foreign influence.

The laws also make it harder for foreign companies to produce TV shows and movies in China even if they have local partners.

Says Iger: "In order for us to even consider a park there, we need to be sure we have access to television. The restrictions in general do thwart our efforts to grow television in that marketplace."

He adds confidently, however: "Over time, we'll gain access to the market."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff