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Last Updated: Monday, 6 December 2004, 22:00 GMT
Playboy sets up shop in Shanghai
Playboy magazine
Playboy is also planning an entertainment venue in Las Vegas
The publishers of Playboy magazine are to open a nightclub complex in Shanghai even though their adult men's title is still banned in China.

Playboy Enterprises has signed a deal with a Chinese company to open a site in China's commercial capital in 2005.

The complex will comprise restaurants, spas, shops and conference facilities as well as "members only" lounges.

China bans Playboy and other titles featuring pictures of naked women but some volumes are sold as art books.

New climate

The deal comes at a time when the socially conservative values of China's ruling Communist Party are being more frequently challenged.

Prostitution, while still illegal, is commonplace in many parts of the country while beauty contests have been widely embraced in recent years.

"The current cultural and business climate in Shanghai, coupled with the Playboy brand's extraordinary strength in Asia, give us an exciting opportunity to create a club that will bring the brand to life in one of the world's most dynamic cities," said Christie Hefner, chairman and chief executive of Playboy Enterprises.

The US company said it had reached an agreement with privately held Shanghai Entertainment to open the club.

Officials from the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau refused to comment on Playboy's plans, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

However, the city's General Team of Cultural Inspection indicated it would become involved if the Playboy club violated the law, Xinhua said.

Earlier this year, Playboy Enterprises reached agreement to build a similar entertainment venue within the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

It said the two enterprises would generate revenues approaching $5m by 2006.

The company's once famous Playboy clubs - complete with Bunny girls - were synonymous with the swinging 1960s.

However, they went out of fashion long before the last one closed in 1991.

Playboy magazine is published in 18 countries.

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