The marketing hype anticipates 70 million attendees (including 3.4 million from overseas!!! —that’s over 12,000 plane loads). Yet, we can’t honestly see where the value is for foreign businessmen/women already undertaking / or contemplating China business in attending the Shanghai World Expo which starts on May 1 and lasts six months through to October 31st. Should we all hop on a plane and head for Shanghai because the chances of closing deals during the six months that the Expo runs are better than ever?
Actually, the more we read about it the more the Expo seems so illogical, extravagant, and (given its intention promote the theme of “sustainability and better living”), uneconomical, except of course if looking at Expo from the perspective of what Shanghai and China stand to gain in terms of their global prestige.
All the Expo really appears to be is a global jamboree akin to a Culture Olympics in which each country grandstands its unique “innovative” approach to sustainability in an urban environment, in the process spending / wasting millions of US$ constructing incredibly expensive new pavilions (USA Pavilion a lavish US$60million+, Germany’s US$40.8 million, Saudi Arabia’s US$100million+, Norway’s a comparatively minor US$22 million. Even Ireland is spending millions of $$ >>although the authorities at this stage won’t be drawn on exactly how much<<) in downtown Shanghai, most, if not all, of which will be pulled down afterwards.
The party-line notes there will be plenty of scope for interaction, and innovative ideas…. Sure, but isn’t that always the case when doing business here. Moreover, there will be few if any opportunities for businesses to promote their products within their own national Expo pavilions since the emphasis is clearly on State related organisations…As such, there’s more value for international businessmen and women to be gained from attending the year round industry specific exhibitions which are more in tune with their businesses than flying to China specifically to visit the World Expo.
Anyway, the real story is the US$45 billion (45,000,000,000) Shanghai is spending on the upgrade of infrastructure and transportation links to be completed by May 1st, which is much more than Beijing spent on hosting the 2008 Olympic Games. All the more reason to visit Shanghai any time you want.