China – Under The Hood: The Curious Case of the Ireland Pavilion at Shanghai World Expo 2010: Rebuilt in Zhejiang Province or Tianjin?

According to a local Chinese language newspaper, the Ireland Pavilion is to be demolished by end of April and then moved to Keqiao (, a non-descript city in Shaoxing County, Zhejiang Province, which is not far from Hangzhou.

The cost of demolition and reconstruction is estimated at about RMB 10 million (or Euro 1.1 million at today’s rate), and compares to the reported Euro 9 million cost of building and running the Ireland Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010.

Chen Qimiao, respected local bigshot, a.k.a. Secretary-General, Shaoxing County Textile Services Designers Association is behind the move, which will see the Ireland Pavilion reconstructed as a fashion culture landmark in Keqiao, highlighting the innovative side of Shaoxing‘s traditional textile industry.

The outcome, according to the article, was negotiated directly with the Irish Government.

And yet there are others who claim to have inside knowledge the Ireland Pavilion was gifted by the Department of Taoiseach (the one from Offaly) to Tianjin city for an ‘Ireland village project‘. “…Don’t believe the Keqiao scam” says ZWQ (Patrick) of the Ireland China Business Network (ICBN) … “the Irish government owes money to the builder of the pavilion in China and has agreed to use the building material (after it’s demolished) to offset against the outstanding balance. The (Irish) government has never authorised anybody other than Tianjin city government to rebuild the pavilion. The officials from Tianjin came to Ireland to sign the memorandum. The builder might have sold the material to this guy in Keqiao“.

An Irish solution to an Irish problem? No matter who and where, the curious case of the Ireland Pavilion can certainly be explained by someone in the Department of Taoiseach.

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Accurate China Insight: China’s US$45 billion coming out party – Shanghai World Expo 2010

The marketing hype anticipates 70 million attendees (including 3.4 million from overseas!!! —that’s over 12,000 plane loadsSurprised).  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.