Q+A: Why is Shanghai holding the World Expo?

Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:53am EDT
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By Farah Master

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Shanghai will unveil to the world this week its six-month long World Expo, China's largest international event since the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The country is trying to create an Expo on a scale never seen before, spending vast sums of money to make the event a blow out extravaganza for the expected 70 million visitors.


A World Expo is a fair where countries and companies display their latest scientific achievements and technological advancements. Expos historically have been remembered for the creation of landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the introduction of television and the ice cream cone to mass audiences.

While recent Expos have failed the fire the world's imagination much, Shanghai is creating great fanfare to put them back on the map. China has officially spent $4.2 billion, more than double what it spent on the Olympics, but Chinese media report the actual cost could be up to $58 billion.


The Communist-run government is using the Expo as a means to highlight its authority and dominance internally, showing its citizens it is powerful enough to host two international events on such a grand scale and in such a short space of time.

Nearly 95 percent of visitors to the Expo are expected to be from China itself. Analysts say the Expo serves as a platform for the government to legitimize its role in power as well as exemplifying the country's fast economic development.   Continued...