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Was Shanghai's World Expo worth it?

08:38 UK time, Sunday, 31 October 2010

Shanghai is bidding farewell to the World Expo - a six-month event showcasing China's rise in the world. What did it achieve?

Prime Minister Wen Jiabao described the fair as "splendid", saying it "truly brought together people around the globe".

Officials say a record 72m people - most of them from across China - visited pavilions staged by more than 240 countries and organisations.

Did you visit the Expo? Did it succeed in bringing the world to China? What effect did it have on China's image abroad?

Shanghai Expo in pictures

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Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Chairman Mao thanks the BBC for holding such an interesting debate.

  • Comment number 2.

    Did Shanghai have an Expo???

    It didn't get much coverage in the British media. Are we becoming like the USA and shutting out the news from the rest of world? One would have thought that anything that promoted trade should in the present economic climate have been hailed massively. It would have made a nice change from so much sport (read cake for the masses) and other banal trivia that is presented in our media.

  • Comment number 3.

    2. At 09:14am on 31 Oct 2010, SimpleOldSailor wrote:
    Did Shanghai have an Expo???

    It didn't get much coverage in the British media. Are we becoming like the USA and shutting out the news from the rest of world?

    -

    Gosh, I hope not. I don't want us to be anything like that backward nation they label for some stupid reason as 'land of the free'. More like 'land of corruption and hypocrisy'.

    As for Shanghai, I'm not too bothered, wouldn't mind seeing abit of it though.

  • Comment number 4.

    Another waste of taxpayer's money from all the countries involved. Our politicians should be held more accountable.

  • Comment number 5.

    Didn't even know it was going on.

  • Comment number 6.

    The what?

  • Comment number 7.

    I visited the Expo with customers a few weeks ago and it was a bit of an anti-climax. My company supplied VIP passes for several of the pavillions, but they were really just publicising the tourist attractions of the countries rather than promoting trade.

    If I'd have had to queue 6 or 9 hours to enter the more popular pavillions, I would have been hugely disappointed.

    The city itself is far more interesting though (I've been 11 times on business).

  • Comment number 8.

    Well we can make the assumption that China represents a massive potential market! I would assume, if our business 'leaders' had any intelligence at all, they would ALL have had input into presenting the UK as a potential suppliers for the massively growing domestic markets in China! Lots of rich folk wanting to spend their cash on European products! And if it generated an audience of 72m - I would expect even Alan Sugars 'order book' would be full! Oh, but our 'pavilion' was just full of seeds wasn't it?

    Why does the BBC not go and ask our business leaders how many exports they managed to generate from the Shanghai Expo!

    I expect Tata might even be exporting Jaguar cars to China! Oh dear - not British now...but I guess we might generate a few extra jobs from the exercise!

  • Comment number 9.

    I live in Shanghai at the moment. It has been absolutely huge for Shanghai, with huge amounts of development not just at the Expo site but also in infrastructure with new metro lines and space-age new railway stations.

    I did visit Expo. It was very impressive and was hugely popular with Chinese visitors who continued to come in their hundreds of thousands every day for the entire six months' duration. The comment in this report that it was a way for ordinary Chinese to 'see the world' is spot-on, but other than that I didn't really see what the point of it was. I'd be very surprised if it generated international trade to any significant degree.

    The photo at the top of this report is of the UK pavilion. I've rarely been so proud of being British - it was the most striking, the most original, and the most aesthetically pleasing of all the national pavilions.

  • Comment number 10.

    So basically all these countries used their taxpayer's money which has been used to build even more infrastructure in China. China already has way more money than us. We should have spent our money at home on our own infrastructure and people.

  • Comment number 11.

    Calm down Icebloo. I'm fairly sure any UK money (or indeed any other country's) would have been spent purely on the contents and management of their national pavilion. All the development of the site and infrastructure will have been paid for by China.

  • Comment number 12.

    Despite its international intentions, it was more for the Chinese who couldn't afford to "see the world" than the rest of us, or even trade. Regardless of rising economic prosperity at Icebloo's "they have more money than us", well it isn't as simple as that - the average wage is a tenth of the British average wage, with a huge number earning far less.

    An elderly couple on my street did visit though, they were born here but of Chinese descent... they said it was ok.

  • Comment number 13.

    @The Ghosts of John Galt

    And you are making the assumption that anything to do with China must be for business and trade. I suppose every time you see a Chinese person you must be making a deal with them in some way.

    This was a showcase from other countries about their culture, history (best not to use that if you were British).

  • Comment number 14.

    Amazing you got the UK and other Western countries shrinking their budgets on defense. With all the billions the Chinese have made over the past decade or two from exports courtesy of outsourced companies that once use to have dedicated employees in the West.
    Its not surprising now that China has one of the most modern and advanced navies in the world (and i wonder why) at a time of this so called worldwide recession. Just a scary thought.

  • Comment number 15.

    Another "show off"-show by the Chinese. They love to expose themselves like this. Now that they're counting the money they've been making since a certain Deng desided on a new path for 1,3 or so billion Chinese folks, they want to show that they're doing great (and hope to maybe make someone out there reeeeally envious). All these events aimed at exposing "New China" to the world tend to be overworked. It's tasteless considering that most people in China are still poor, not to mention the lack of freedom of speech and total absense of democracy.

  • Comment number 16.

    WAKE UP BRITAIN! PAY SOME ATTENTION TO YOUR CULTURE (and I don't mean the type growing between your toes and belly-button!)

    The first ever World Expo was actually held in the then new Crystal Palace and was known as the Great Exhibition.
    World Expo's generate huge amounts of interest and are responible for massive trade relations between nations without the suspicious hard-sell.
    Not investing or participating would be isolationist and very short-sighted, especially now whilst we endure the current 'crisis'.

    The United Kingdom pavilion was marvellous, unique and very popular. Very 'green', informative about British cities and positively optimistic about sustainability and nature. And even managed a corner dedicated to the 2012 Olympics, which you may recall will be held in London (yes, London, England!)

    As for the perceived lack of news and information regarding the Shanghai World Expo 2010 within the United Kingdom, I imagine that this is due to the fact it isn't considered 'newsworthy' nowadays, a bit 'farty' as Ben Elton would say.
    News in the UK is becoming more and more 'tabloid' and sensationalist and highly driven by Sport (preferably football), Celebrity gossip and privacy invasion, knocking foreigners and their habits, murder, violence, pit-bulls and of course the weather guesstimology! So, a 30 second mention within a TV news bulletin, a two-inch square in a newspaper or a little frame in a British news website are seen as the potential equivalent of Mr. Creosote's wafer-thin mint and thus best avoided!

  • Comment number 17.

    Was Shanghai's World Expo worth it?

    that depends from which point of view you look at it.

    It's surely a big showcase, but did it generate revenues for those who did exhibit there?

    Not sure if some military contracts were signed but I would rather think: no it wasn't worth the investment.

    As for the population in Shanghai, sure some new improvements have been done that will last in time and improve efficiency and traffic.

    Did it improve tourism to the participating countries? Not likely, isn't it?

    Does it improve sales to China? hmmm that's a tough question... let's see ... the Chinese GDP is close to the GDP of the UK or Italy, however China has 22 times more population which results into an average spendable income of less of 5% pro capita if compared to Europe
    Sure there are a few rich people, not sure if they were the target of the Expo, though?

    Not likely!




  • Comment number 18.

    It was not a major International success because the Western media virtually boycotted it because the powers that be did not want to see China succeed.

  • Comment number 19.

    I was in this wondefull city two years ago and the preperations and the marketing were well underway, well done to Shanghai.

  • Comment number 20.

    13. At 11:09am on 31 Oct 2010, RandomArbiter wrote:
    @The Ghosts of John Galt

    And you are making the assumption that anything to do with China must be for business and trade. I suppose every time you see a Chinese person you must be making a deal with them in some way.

    This was a showcase from other countries about their culture, history (best not to use that if you were British).
    -------------------------------------

    Well, you may be correct, but personally I do not see the point unless trade and exchange is the motivation! I am sure the UK were not their to provide the Chinese with a history and cultural lesson - I do believe the Chinese are fully aware of our historic and cultural 'impact' on China!

    But anyhow, whatever the purpose, it must represent some means of generating 'export' revenue - even in the form of tourism! That is the very nature of China engaging in 'expos' - I have been to quite a few and they are always either buying or selling something! ;-)

  • Comment number 21.

    The World Expo can knowledge the China and knowledge the world.

  • Comment number 22.

    So, the BBC can send hordes of reporters\presenters all over the globe for various sports and other popular 'events', giving them massive coverage but the Shanghai Expo at which we had a Pavillion?

    I did a BBC Search and came up with this Page....

    http://search.bbc.co.uk/search?suggid=sp%3A2010_fifa_world_cup&tab=all&scope=all&q=Shanghai++expo+2010

    Several 'snippets' from bbc.co.uk but only one on the main News Page and that featured Hillary Clinton's visit to the US Pavillion

    Apparently Ed Miliband did visit and the BBC's Damien Grammaticus attended the Opening but I only found that out by my Search

    I don't recollect seeing or hearing anything on BBC TV\Radio until mention of the 'farewell' today on the BBC WebSite, although that's not to say there was nothing

    The only reason I knew it was taking place was because I just happened to chance upon some coverage of it on Sky\CCTV News

    I suppose we shall have non-stop coverage of the US Congressional Elections on BBC Radio and TV by various reporters\presenters?

    Perhaps the paucity of coverage was because the Expo didn't touch our own domestic everyday lives unlike International Football, Football stars ( Breaking News - Wayne Rooney...) and Pop stars (Take That....) etc ?

    Shame that the BBC didn't give it more prominence eg a TV Programme, however short would not have not come amiss

    From what I did see of it, it was extremely interesting and worthy of at least some visual coverage from the BBC

    Apologies to the BBC if there was some coverage that I missed

  • Comment number 23.

    Shanghai bids farewell to massive World Expo fair?

    Hmmmm


    I agree with all the previous comments, "the what", "never knew it existed" etc.

    Perhaps our government wanted to keep this a secret -

    We only buy from China and make nothing to sell.

    Now it it was sell your business to us the entire government would have been there with way over the top media coverage.

  • Comment number 24.

    Well done BBC!! Six months after it opened, you have finally reported the World Expo event. Maybe if you had reported on this, it may have had more impact on the world. But it's not just China, is it. I had to watch Russian TV to find out that UK veterans who served in convoys delivering food to Russia during WW2 were being honoured in a ceremony, on board HMS Belfast. This HYS shows up the prejudice we still harbour for certain countries in the world.

  • Comment number 25.

    I am sure it was very nice for china and some of its people. That's about it. Oh, it was more worthwhile than London getting the pointless Olympic borefest I suppose.

  • Comment number 26.

    The closing ceremony was magnificent. The Expo itself ran 184-days. It drew the participation of 246 countries as well as international organizations; it attracted 75 million visitors. Both 246 countries and 75 million visitors were record highs in Expo history.
    (London had first Expo, 1851).
    The Expo Site was one great global village where people could see rare reasures from around the world. and taste the diversity of the world's cultures. There were more than 20,000 cultural events.
    Was Shanghai's World Expo worth it?
    Yes, I would say every cent - just for the worldwide exposure.
    What did it achieve?
    Following the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the Expo was a major showcase for China's economic & political power.
    I particularly liked Prime Minister Wen Jiabao statement that the Expo "truly brought together people around the globe". Without a doubt, the world needs to be brought together from around the globe. Cultures need to understand one another.
    It's like John Lennon said: "Give peace a Chance"!


  • Comment number 27.

    The theme of the Expo was Better City Better Life. People go there to seek ideas and solutions for their own city & own life. Nations go there to get themselves and their ideas noticed. This is an urgent & massive problem for numerous rapidly urbanising cities around the world.

    Shanghai developed infrastructure to enhance functioning of the city & in time for the Expo. Some successful pavillions will be auctioned off for other cities in China and re-used.

    Many nations, especially developing small nations benefited greatly in getting themselves noticed.

    In 10 years, China will bid to host again in S. China.

  • Comment number 28.

    I visited the Expo in June and had a wonderful day. I was one of the very few Westerners there on a day where the attendance was reported to be around 482,000 people. There were huge queues for some of the pavilions - I will always remember the tannoy system announcing "Current queuing time for the Japanese Pavilion is 5 hours" so I didn't go into many, but for me the best time was spent walking around the park itself and to meet all the invariably friendly and welcoming people, and I am referring to the Chinese visitors at least as much as the staff. Many had made coach trips from all over China using up all their holiday time and money just to see it.
    Was it worth the money? Yes, I think so. It showed that China is capable of hosting an event like this, it added transport infrastructure to the riverside areas of Shanghai and brought a very strange, but wonderful view of the world outside to the ordinary Chinese who are unlikely to be able to ever travel abroad.
    And value for "us British"? The Chinese media was understandably full of the Expo while I was there and if a report showed only one pavilion, it would show the gigantic Chinese Pagoda. But if it showed only two it would show the Pagoda and the British Pavilion. To paraphrase Lyndon B. Johnson: "Hearts and minds..." The British contribution to the Expo has made a huge and favourable impression in the world's fastest-growing economy, from leader to grass-roots. This was, after all, its aim, so I can only chalk that up as success.

  • Comment number 29.

    Well, you are all correct to criticise the BBC and its lack of reporting on the Shanghai Expo 2010. The "UK" pavilion was, actually, the LIVERPOOL pavilion. LIVERPOOL is already twinned with Shanghai, but trade and investment were both strengthened by the Expo. Liverpool FC is, of course, well known. Everton FC's award winning "Everton in the Community" programme to help disabled children is also operating in Shanghai. Liverpool and Shanghai Universities work closely together. Liverpool has Europe's oldest Chinese community. Our famous orchestra and conductor travelled to Shanghai and Beijing to perform classical concerts, Beatles concerts and educational concerts to schools in Shanghai (interactive DVDs sent out in advance). Ties between the two cities, Liverpool and Shanghai, have been strengthened by contacts made at the Expo. Referring back to the BBC and most organisations based in London, of course they never consider Liverpool, even when we were the best ever, completely spectacular European Capital of Culture in 2008 national cover was minimal. We are used to this and we just get on and do our own thing. That's why we had a pavilion at the 2010 Expo and it was a great success for Shanghai and for Liverpool!

  • Comment number 30.

    29. At 1:31pm on 31 Oct 2010, auntjillc wrote:

    Its a shame no one in the UK where made aware of this, this is where we really fail as a country, where is our MP for trade and export on this, sack them immediately.

  • Comment number 31.

    Well I am concerned about China and their long term plans....They may have become too big for their own shoes. They dont keep their local records straight only perhaps the international show cases! They keep warning others.

    It is pointless having a large and very successful program like the Expo and yet internally a failure!

  • Comment number 32.

    I have just spent a good few hours on the Chinese website for the trade expo. Where was our media coverage I may well ask.
    The UK pavilion was something to be admired, do people not recognise the importance of our presentation, China will need this not only in the near future but they need it now. If you don't know what I am talking about then do some research. We do not have anything to export except knowledge, its worth £billions, and we give it away.

  • Comment number 33.

    Was Shanghai's World Expo worth it? No idea, I heard less about this than the Commonwealth Games.

  • Comment number 34.

    The expo was a good chance for Chinese to learn the world as many foreign tourists visited Shanghai. And China could show foreigners the power of its economy.
    But during the expo there were some troubles between China and other countries. Especially when the Norwegian Nobel committee decided to award the Nobel peace prize to Chinese dissident author, the Chinese government condemned the Norwegian government harshly. It is impossible for China to be respected by other countries only with economic development. Chinese should learn how important human rights are in our society.


  • Comment number 35.

    Reply to msg. 31:Tharuma said: "It is pointless having a large and very successful program like the Expo and yet internally a failure! "

    What is the pass mark? Who sets it and who marked it?

    You should ask the chinese citizens, and you need to compare historical eras.

    With a GDP just above the UK, but 22 times the population dispersed in vast inhospitable terrain, scare in water & clean energy resource, and diverse in language, I would say China is doing marvellously well given that it had to emerge from forced opium consumption, colonial occupation, WWII and economic isolation.



  • Comment number 36.

    @20. At 11:44am on 31 Oct 2010, The Ghosts of John Galt

    That's a sad viewpoint to hold, and I'm sure there are plenty of people from the West who feel the same - that China is only seen as a potential cash cow and nothing else. Not a population who are eager to learn about the world, or who want to explore. Not people who are interested in other cultures, languages - just bits of flesh with wallets and bank accounts.

    Sad.

  • Comment number 37.

    Well, I didn't recommended any foreigners to take a special trip for this, only if
    (1)you happened passed by
    (2)you intent to sell something.
    however, I think it is worthwhile to check out your showcase on the net, it is a gorgeous building, steadfast to stiff-upper-lip style and yet ready to move forward...a giant stuffed hedgehog or caterpillar...


  • Comment number 38.

    @34. At 2:55pm on 31 Oct 2010, Matsuda wrote:

    Interesting how you bring up a disagreement re: Nobel Peace Prize in a completely unrelated event. It's like America or Britain cannot hold an event without people bringing up the Iraq War, no matter how unrelated it is.

    --------------------
    "It is impossible for China to be respected by other countries only with economic development. Chinese should learn how important human rights are in our society."
    ----------------

    And again, with the condescending viewpoint. "Chinese should", "do this", "listen to us" - I don't think you can gain respect by treating them like a child. Likewise, China is not looking for the respect from countries where hypocrisy and double standards are rife - but when that disrespect for the government filters down to its people, you are unwittingly causing irreparable damage to original intentions of goodwill.

  • Comment number 39.

    30. At 2:13pm on 31 Oct 2010, chrisk50 wrote:
    29. At 1:31pm on 31 Oct 2010, auntjillc wrote:

    "Its a shame no one in the UK where made aware of this, this is where we really fail as a country, where is our MP for trade and export on this, sack them immediately"


    The Expo opened May 1st 2010

    Who was in Office then and during the lead up to the Expo?


    Re autntjillc #29 - there was indeed a Liverpool Pavillion but there was also a UK Pavillion

    http://www.ukshanghaiexpo.com/en/home.php

    http://www.liverpoolshanghai2010.com/


    Was the Liverpool one separate from the UK one, I suppose it must have been, I don't know

    Did Cities have Pavillions separate from Nations? I don't know

    If only it had been more widely publicised!

  • Comment number 40.

    it achieved a fantastic big ego for the communist party and deprivation for the poor just like the common wealth games in India the only people that could afford to watch the event was the rich and we the English promoted it by letting our teams stay in luxury hotels while the rest of India starved.

  • Comment number 41.

    39. At 3:46pm on 31 Oct 2010, Artemesia wrote:

    30. At 2:13pm on 31 Oct 2010, chrisk50 wrote:
    29. At 1:31pm on 31 Oct 2010, auntjillc wrote:

    "Its a shame no one in the UK where made aware of this, this is where we really fail as a country, where is our MP for trade and export on this, sack them immediately"


    The Expo opened May 1st 2010

    Who was in Office then and during the lead up to the Expo?

    ***********************************************************

    That's why we have shadow MP's is it not, somehow stealthily supported by the general public, who when get into power know what needs to be done, am I right or wrong on that one?

    Anyway, i think we do agree on the the initial responsibility.

  • Comment number 42.

    Its been on for six months and you're telling us about it now its closing..??
    Brilliant - well done BBC...

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.

    If it wasn't aimed at me, perhaps it was. I didn't know about it.

  • Comment number 45.

    43. At 5:24pm on 31 Oct 2010, perfectpenny wrote:

    david the BBC reported about it 6 months ago.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    it would have been good to have a virtual tour of the UK Pavilion demonstrating our input to this gigantic event, probably had the usual 2 minutes on news at 10 when everyone is asleep.

  • Comment number 46.

    "10. At 10:42am on 31 Oct 2010, Icebloo wrote:

    So basically all these countries used their taxpayer's money which has been used to build even more infrastructure in China. China already has way more money than us. We should have spent our money at home on our own infrastructure and people."

    the participant countries used their taxpayers' money to build their own pavilion which is a showcase of their own country, not others. The Chines govt spent on the infrastructure and the network and the publicity for the whole event.

    I don't blame you though, cos every news about China or Asia is bad news, no wonder we all think we are always right.

  • Comment number 47.

    "31. At 2:14pm on 31 Oct 2010, tharuma wrote:

    Well I am concerned about China and their long term plans....They may have become too big for their own shoes. They dont keep their local records straight only perhaps the international show cases! They keep warning others.

    It is pointless having a large and very successful program like the Expo and yet internally a failure! "

    you are concerned about China? really? or are you concerned about your own interests being taken by countries which are surpassing us because they focused on their business rather than other people's?

    How often have you heard China warning others? I have heard US / UK making warnings about China most days of the week in the news, be it the currency or the Tibet involvement.

    Btw, thank you for acknowledging that the Shanghai Expo is a successful programme, we look forward to the London Olympics to be held in a country which is bleeding internally.

  • Comment number 48.

    I knew about it from Kew Garden's Facebook page. Our Royal Botanical Garden worked with the equivalent organisation in China to provide the seeds for the British Pavilion. I feel really proud of the design and the whole idea - green and forward looking. I am a Chinese living in Britain, if I were in Shanghai, the British pavilion would be one of the first to visit.

    this is one of the few examples both countries worked really well with each other. Why can't we forget about the politicians and let the scientists speak?

  • Comment number 49.

    36. At 3:28pm on 31 Oct 2010, RandomArbiter wrote:
    @20. At 11:44am on 31 Oct 2010, The Ghosts of John Galt

    That's a sad viewpoint to hold, and I'm sure there are plenty of people from the West who feel the same - that China is only seen as a potential cash cow and nothing else. Not a population who are eager to learn about the world, or who want to explore. Not people who are interested in other cultures, languages - just bits of flesh with wallets and bank accounts.

    Sad.
    -------------------------------------------
    Wow - that's a lot of assumption to make, based on a comment concerning the Expo! What is an Expo if not for business purposes?

    Actually, I have lived in China, have family in China and do not think the Chinese require US or anyone else to teach them anything! I think you might find most Chinese know more about other cultures and nations than you or I could teach! I think your comment betrays an odd view actually. What do you think the Chinese are some primitive nation isolated from the 'rest' of the world - just begging for all us sophisticated westerners to educate them about our ways, our superior culture and our fantastic history - Well I guess it might be us that are required to learn about the Chinese - they really could teach us all something about culture and history - and business too! ;-)

  • Comment number 50.

    "18. At 11:34am on 31 Oct 2010, ian cheese wrote:

    It was not a major International success because the Western media virtually boycotted it because the powers that be did not want to see China succeed. "
    ==========

    whether it was a success or not did not come from how other people think about it. It was a success to the Chinese govt and the people, they learnt the best of the world in 180 days. World Expo is a place where countries showcased their best and the most advanced to the rest of the world.

    I wish the British govt has the guts to have something similar, so our children will not be brought up in a place only focusing on our own good, and the immigrant issues.

  • Comment number 51.

    Was it worth what? And to whom? What's the "it"?




  • Comment number 52.

    As a Chinese, I saw and felt something different in this year’s Expo.
    At the beginning, my mother intended to go have a visit to the show. However, she rid herself from the idea for some reasons. One is the weather. It's hot and wet in the summer in Shanghai and it’s not going to be comfortable for her since she has bad hypertension, up to a dangerous 180 over 120. Then it’s her spot. She lives in Shenzhen where is nearby Hongkong. It takes a long-haul flight from her city to the Expo. Last but not least, there're too many people on the show ground. Check out the forbidding crowds from TV imagery: long lines curving on front of every popular pavilion, including one from the UK. The average time waiting for entry is 3~5 hours, in the sun. How would you feel if you are present? Correspondingly, all the accommodations in the city must have been filled, likewise, the restaurants, restrooms, and mass transit. Certainly they are not going to make for a pleasant trip for an old woman, like my mother, who is in a bad condition. And thus, she gave up the idea.
    For me, whom my mother initially called on to go together, it's the reversing attitude of the media which made me boggle at it. It's dubious for our media had rarely paid any attention on the same exhibition ever before, while this year, China is the host, we got updates every day, as long as you are not living in the cave. The promotion was so much that made it seemingly a big event nationwide, even worldwide, from the point of a Chinese view. However, I suspect, if it IS big deal, why we in China have heard of little about it backwards? Is the news sensational because the government urges us to notice it? Besides, as always, I suspect the capability of Chinese government to handle emergency situations, if any, and the conventional mode of our government hosting any International events is also unappreciated. Whenever there’s a problem, the authority tends to conceal it, if necessary, may have a slight mention only between the achievement of a certain communist who, by the report, came up solving it. That way, I will never be able to assess the entire thing—what I may encounter and what I should do; may be very likely getting into trouble consequently. I totally have no confidence with our government’s business.
    That's why I decided not to go with the flow, even though somewhere at the show seems attractive to me. For example, the usage of new building material, innovative and green designs, and other pioneering ideas for the future development of the human society.
    On the other hand, there ARE some merits from the exposition. First of all, China has had one more chance to learn how to hold a world event successfully; Furthermore, a showcase like that spurred consuming at a national level, aiding in the steadiness of our economy. Finally, it did open an window to the world for Chinese people, for mostly senior citizens from the middle class, who have measly money for luxuries because most of their savings had gone helping their offspring with housing nowadays.

  • Comment number 53.

    For all the coverage the BBC gave of the Expo it might as well not have existed as far as the UK was concerned.

    The most important global trade fair of the last 40 years and the BBC simply missed it!

    Shanghai is amazing and although China has long bypassed the UK in relevance so much could have been made of the chances it offered for a glimpse of success that might have inspired a few UK people to do emulate it.

    I don’t know what useful purpose the BBC serves anymore but missing the Chinese Expo was a serious own goal.

  • Comment number 54.

    @icebloo

    The UK spent about £20 million on a stand based on seeds from Kew. Quite how that helped UK exports I am not sure.

    China spent about $40 billion (yes billion) on the show and no doubt will reap the rewards for that investment. I am already considering buying some development electronics from them instead of from the US or the UK.

    The government (Labour at the time), and the BBC, simply ignored the Shanghai Expo, which says all I think one needs to know about the UK’s approach to hard work and competition in the 21st Century...

    Give them ‘come dancing’ and abject poverty will seem easier perhaps?

  • Comment number 55.

    In our present economic state who would want to go to China and show off new inventions only to have it copied and reproduced by Chinese thieves-I dont think so!

  • Comment number 56.

    This was not only the largest ever "World's Fair" it was the largest gathering in human history. Unfortunately, the propaganda outlets in the West chose to ignore not only the historical significance of this event, but the important theme of Better City, Better Life. The US and UK Pavilions were absolutely pathetic. With countries from all over the world showing off their best technology, the US and UK sent the clear message that our golden ages are over and we can't compete with countries like Japan, Germany, or Korea.

    Although I'm sure the UK and US media downplaying this Expo is mostly motivated by politics, it is also partly because our country's pavilions didn't display any real vision for the future. The UK media had an article saying that the UK Pavilion received the "top award" at Expo. Yet this propaganda piece neglects to mention that they gave out a bunch of those awards, and the only reason the UK Pavilion got one was because of a cooperative agreement with China to use the seeds from the UK's "Seed Cathedral" after Expo. Everyone I talked to about the UK Pavilion said it was a complete waste of time to visit.

  • Comment number 57.

    55. At 9:02pm on 31 Oct 2010, stevegrant wrote:
    In our present economic state who would want to go to China and show off new inventions only to have it copied and reproduced by Chinese thieves-I dont think so!

    -----------------------
    We need to go to China more so because we cannot manufacture our inventions cheaper than the Chinese! Many Western inventions are presently manufactured under licence in China eg. Apple ipads, etc, etc. And you say that is thievery?

  • Comment number 58.

    I see Chinese goods in every country in this world, so the expo definitely was a success. China should improve on its human rights, worker's rights, pastoral rights and animal rights. Many Chinese products have dubious labels, the consumer seldom knows if it was made with prison and forced labor, or, made in a factory, I would love to see more transparency.

  • Comment number 59.

    58. At 10:04pm on 31 Oct 2010, Kaliyug wrote:
    re-rights & wrongs in China
    ----------

    Please don't forget that the vast majority of people are very poor in China & for every worker who commits suicide through the stress of work, there are at least a 1000 queuing up to take his/her place. And that applies to most jobs. The discipline of the Chinese is legendary as is their tolerance of extreme hardships. The concept of rights is therefore misplaced, the Chinese talk about the injustice of life instead & hope fortune might smile on them: they do not demand rights! This is what Westerners do not normally understand when they hold forth about China.
    I don't say that China is the model for a happy Society. Their spirit has been forged through pain, poverty, famine, disasters, hard & harsh working conditions & yet they keep going without complain: this perhaps is the greatest lesson we can have from the Chinese.

  • Comment number 60.

    Expo showcased China's Developement, and I'd hazard, would most Benefit Countries who invested in Pavillions considering China's Population.

    Detractors need to realise that China's 1.3 Billion Citizens with Tangible Improoving Std of Living, is too Major a Market to Ignore.

    Folks who went there testified of seeing Robotics and Automation many Developed countries would drool over. I've always questioned validity of Cheap Labour as The manufacturing Base, Math simply does not support The Many Hands explanation.

  • Comment number 61.

    As a non-Chinese who did actually visit the Expo for three days in May, I can say that it was a very impressive undertaking and seemed to be very popular with Chinese people. Inevitably it must have been mainly relatively well-off people or else people who lived close to Shanghai, since it would have been quite expensive to go there, by Chinese standards. But millions of people were willing to stand in line for hours in the hot sun (or rain!) for many of the more popular pavilions. The atmosphere was generally friendly and I enjoyed it a lot. But many of the pavilions were rather boring once you actually got in. Admitttedly, I only managed to see about half of the exhibits in three long days, so I must have missed some good ones. For me, the spectacular Chinese pavilion was by far the best but it must have cost a fortune! After that, I ranked the French pavilion pretty highly for being very well designed and giving a good image of the country. Sadly, unlike some other Brits who have written in to this site, I found the UK pavilion rather boring once I got inside. Admittedly, it was a very original idea and looked interesting from the outside, but it was very hard to learn much about the UK while visiting it, and I suspect that most non-Brits would have left it totally mystified! The Saudi Pavilion had a spectacular 3D slideshow inside but otherwise was not worth the very long wait and taught me nothing about the country other than that it had a lot of money to throw around! Of the smaller national pavilions, the Omani and Israeli pavilions were amongst the most informative that I saw. The Japanese national pavilion was rather trivial - aimed at children, mainly - but the Japanese technology pavilion was excellent. Overall, I was impressed by the level of organisation of the EXPO. There were many English-speaking assistants able and willing to help foreigners find things, and they had quite good facilities for disabled people, although there were fights to get free wheelchair loans (many people taking an elderly relative with them so as to get wheelchair access for the whole family and thus save a lot of time in queuing!) The Shanghai metro system is also truly excellent.

  • Comment number 62.

    60. At 04:40am on 01 Nov 2010, lordBanners wrote:
    ... I've always questioned validity of Cheap Labour as The manufacturing Base, Math simply does not support The Many Hands explanation.
    -----------
    Many hands make light work.

  • Comment number 63.

    I can't say for the U.K., but for Finland it seems like it was worth it. The building and running of the Finnish pavilion for the 6 months of the expo cost about 5,7 million euros. The pavilion was visited by about 4,5 million people and the trade fair resulted in the signing of business contracts to an estimated value of 25 million euros. All in all a very successful event which will lead to jobs being created both in Finland and China. I suspect that the figures for the U.K. are probably quite similar. Knowing the amount of money that governments usually waste on other things, something positive like this that actually produces jobs is well worth every cent spent on it.

    Get a life you moaning Brits and go out and see the world, don't just stare at your own belly buttons and hope the world will come to you!

  • Comment number 64.

    How about an exebition about jobs lost to China?.

  • Comment number 65.

    Hello,

    I have visited the Expo 3 times during the last months. Due to lack of time I couldn't go there more often...
    So for me the Expo was definitely worth it. It was hugely interesting to visit all those pavillons. Some good, somme bad, some neutral, like our world :-) This a great opportunity for all countries to show a bit of what they are, I hope that next Expo will be as successful and that even more countries will participate and put money and effort into it (where and when will be the next Expo?? I'll definitely go).

    For the Chinese people which visited it I guess it was like an open window to the world. Hopefully they took the time to look through it...

    I was impressed by the organisation. Flawless. To welcome so many people during so many months was impressive. 'chapeau bas' as we say in France.

    Thanks to the organisers, volunteers and employees (chineses or foreigners alike )

    By the way I heard first about the Expo on BBC ...

  • Comment number 66.

    No idea, didn't know there was one until I saw this!

  • Comment number 67.

    64. At 07:20am on 01 Nov 2010, MAXQUE wrote:
    How about an exebition about jobs lost to China?.

    -----
    That will simply showcase our laziness, lack of discipline & unrealistic expectations. Like Mao said, you can't sit on a mountain top & expect a roast duck to fly into your mouth i.e. you have to work to earn the goodies. For 'roast duck' I should read 'roast beef' or 'fish & chips'.

  • Comment number 68.

    In France there were some TV reports at the beginning of the Expo especially concerning France's pavilion. Then nothing for months... Personally, if China really wanted to change its world image, they should...(you know the end)

  • Comment number 69.

    WHAT Expo?

  • Comment number 70.

    We've clearly got a story with minimal interest here.

    We've got the HYS about what problems small businesses face - had that one before.

    But NICE has lost its powers to refuse treatment with certain drugs - THAT's a story. Come on Beeb.

  • Comment number 71.

    Liverpool was the only UK City to exhibit at the Shanghai Expo. It was a wonderful opportunity for a lucky few council employees and local Glitterati to enjoy the sort of all expenses paid beanos they became accustomed to when Liverpool was capital of culture.

    I doubt very much that exhibiting will benefit the City in any way yet the Liverpool council tax payers will be hit harder in the forthcoming round of cutbacks to fund this jolly.

  • Comment number 72.

    70. At 1:10pm on 01 Nov 2010, ruffled_feathers wrote:
    We've clearly got a story with minimal interest here.
    -------------
    But that does not mean it is less important: it is only 5% of the population, if that, who carries the rest.

  • Comment number 73.

    72. At 3:45pm on 01 Nov 2010, ian cheese wrote:
    70. At 1:10pm on 01 Nov 2010, ruffled_feathers wrote:
    We've clearly got a story with minimal interest here.
    -------------
    But that does not mean it is less important: it is only 5% of the population, if that, who carries the rest.

    ===========================================



    But the NICE item warrants a slot, surely?

  • Comment number 74.

    I can't think that the Chinese (who are presumably the party that the question relates to) would go around saying that it was a load of expensive rubbish, and not worth the money spent on it.
    Likewise as regards the UK pavilions, we UK taxpayers (including Council tax payers as well in Liverpool) will be told that Anglo Chinese relations will be raised to a completely new and almost stratospheric level of goodwill and understanding, and that the millions spent on the pavilions and entertainment therein will be but a drop in the ocean of business available to Britain as a result.
    I wouldn't believe a word of it

  • Comment number 75.

    Sorry, I didn't even know it was going on. I guess I was distracted by watching the Chinese bully and browbeat their neighbors over islands in the China Sea.

  • Comment number 76.

    59. At 10:56pm on 31 Oct 2010, ian cheese wrote:
    "...I don't say that China is the model for a happy Society. Their spirit has been forged through pain, poverty, famine, disasters, hard & harsh working conditions & yet they keep going without complain: this perhaps is the greatest lesson we can have from the Chinese."

    The same can be said about European peasants in the thousand years after the Fall of Rome. Life was an unrelenting grind of toil and squalor relieved only by an early death. Maybe the Chinese can learn a few lessons from us in the West about building a humane society, if they want to break the cycle of misery. We did, after all, have a Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment which eventually elevated the common man.

  • Comment number 77.

    76. At 6:33pm on 01 Nov 2010, MilwaukeeRay wrote:
    re-China & the pursuit of a Humane Society
    ----------
    I think that is optimistic given the fact that the population is 1.3 billion upwards, natural resources are scarce: discipline & unrelenting toil is the norm. Besides, I would not say categorically that Western Society is humane by default: the easily attainable life of comfort free from backbreaking work spawns a host of other problems, as we know: addiction to drugs, alcohol, murder, violence, etc.

  • Comment number 78.

    49. At 6:25pm on 31 Oct 2010, The Ghosts of John Galt wrote:
    36. At 3:28pm on 31 Oct 2010, RandomArbiter wrote:
    @20. At 11:44am on 31 Oct 2010, The Ghosts of John Galt

    That's a sad viewpoint to hold, and I'm sure there are plenty of people from the West who feel the same - that China is only seen as a potential cash cow and nothing else. Not a population who are eager to learn about the world, or who want to explore. Not people who are interested in other cultures, languages - just bits of flesh with wallets and bank accounts.

    Sad.
    -------------------------------------------
    Wow - that's a lot of assumption to make, based on a comment concerning the Expo! What is an Expo if not for business purposes?

    Actually, I have lived in China, have family in China and do not think the Chinese require US or anyone else to teach them anything! I think you might find most Chinese know more about other cultures and nations than you or I could teach! I think your comment betrays an odd view actually. What do you think the Chinese are some primitive nation isolated from the 'rest' of the world - just begging for all us sophisticated westerners to educate them about our ways, our superior culture and our fantastic history - Well I guess it might be us that are required to learn about the Chinese - they really could teach us all something about culture and history - and business too! ;-)

  • Comment number 79.

    77. At 7:11pm on 01 Nov 2010, ian cheese wrote:
    76. At 6:33pm on 01 Nov 2010, MilwaukeeRay wrote:
    re-China & the pursuit of a Humane Society
    ----------
    I think that is optimistic given the fact that the population is 1.3 billion upwards, natural resources are scarce: discipline & unrelenting toil is the norm. Besides, I would not say categorically that Western Society is humane by default: the easily attainable life of comfort free from backbreaking work spawns a host of other problems, as we know: addiction to drugs, alcohol, murder, violence, etc.

    Well, I do agree with you Ian. And certainly the Twentieth Century was nothing for the West to brag about. I guess the SS never heard about the Enlightenment.

  • Comment number 80.

    79. At 7:23pm on 01 Nov 2010, MilwaukeeRay wrote:
    The Enlightenment
    ---------------------
    That has always been the ideal but, only 5%, if that, of any population, are capable of realising those values. Moreover, nothing lasts forever. We can be the subject of a cosmic meltdown tomorrow! Sorry, a non-sequitur!

  • Comment number 81.

    I too was fortunate to visit the Shanghai Expo on two occasions and each time I was impressed by the organisation, the clenliness, the order and the helpfullness of the army of young volunteers as well as by the imaginative and informative contributions of countries and cities around the world.
    The Chinese can be justly proud and it is a matter of sadness and regret that the BBC so conspicuously failed to acknowledge it. No mention of the UK and Liverpool Pavilions - although happily one contributor has flagged up the excellence of the Liverpool Day and the resounding success of the Liverpool Symphony Orchestra.

  • Comment number 82.

    59. At 10:56pm on 31 Oct 2010, ian cheese wrote:
    58. At 10:04pm on 31 Oct 2010, Kaliyug wrote:
    re-rights & wrongs in China
    ----------

    Please don't forget that the vast majority of people are very poor in China & for every worker who commits suicide through the stress of work, there are at least a 1000 queuing up to take his/her place. And that applies to most jobs. The discipline of the Chinese is legendary as is their tolerance of extreme hardships. The concept of rights is therefore misplaced, the Chinese talk about the injustice of life instead & hope fortune might smile on them: they do not demand rights! This is what Westerners do not normally understand when they hold forth about China.
    I don't say that China is the model for a happy Society. Their spirit has been forged through pain, poverty, famine, disasters, hard & harsh working conditions & yet they keep going without complain: this perhaps is the greatest lesson we can have from the Chinese.

    ====================================

    Tiananmen Square?

    Still no gatherings allowed there?

  • Comment number 83.

    68. At 10:11am on 01 Nov 2010, Matthieu Constanzo wrote:
    In France there were some TV reports at the beginning of the Expo especially concerning France's pavilion. Then nothing for months... Personally, if China really wanted to change its world image, they should...(you know the end)

    -----

    No. We don't know the end.

    There isn't much wrong with China's image. Nothing worse than the US/UK image in the world, really.
    For your information, Chinese people and their culture enjoy great respect in business/scientific/academic circles in the world. The Chinese government is well-appreciated for not driving their country into chaos by introducing democracy in one abrupt chapter.
    Tibet? Taiwan? Who cares?
    1.3 billion people in a relatively resource-limited part of the world, living peacefully, contributing in the global economy and science. What else ?

  • Comment number 84.

    @Mustafa : well I have to disagree on this... I guess china image is worse than the US/Uk image (in the western countries at least,maybe in Africa it's better, and in asia it probably depends widely between the countries ...), but it doesn't deserve it... at least the chinese don't go aboard making war based on lies and being directly or indirectly responsible of tens (or hundreds) of thousand of civilians death.

    Whatever the 'image' of any countries in this small world, people would be better off by turning off their TV and having a look by themself.

  • Comment number 85.

    Yes, the Shanghai World Expo did succeed in bringing the world to China.A record 72 million people visited the Expo.More than 240 countries and organizations staged their pavilions in the Expo.Attracting such a large number of participants and visitors to the Expo is no mean achievement.It has also showcased the gigantic size of China's internal and external markets.
    The Shanghai Expo has demostrated the miraculous economic development China has achieved.The innovative, talented and the hardworking Chinese deserve the admiration of the world.No wonder that China is dreaming to be the number one economy in the world.

  • Comment number 86.

    62. At 07:05am on 01 Nov 2010, ian cheese wrote:
    Many hands make light work.

    Yes, within Families and on the Farm, especially where Mortality is high.
    But to get Manufactured Product from Raw Material to Retail outlets in Far-Away Lands for about $1, with Resource-supplier, Manufacturer, Shipping, Broker, Wholesaler, Distributor, then Retailer 'Each' making enough for it to be Capitalistically viable to Defy 'Many-Hands' logic.

    Folks who've toured Chinese Factories claim to have seen Robotics and Automation which really scared them from a competitive standpoint. Concensus is that Japan pulled a fast-one by Giving China outdated Robotics and Automation for an Inside-track with Auto Industry, and China simply Sophisticated the crude machinery beyond Modern Models.

    Major problem for us in the West, which provides a distinct Advantage for China, is that we habitually refuse to Give-Credit until it's Too Late to make meaningful adjustments.

  • Comment number 87.

    82. At 10:48pm on 01 Nov 2010, ruffled_feathers wrote:
    Tian An Men Square massacre
    -------------
    It would not have mattered if a million or more were killed, the Chinese abhor disorder.

 

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