- Title: CHINA: Excitement in Shanghai as the Expo begins
- Date: 1st May 2010
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) SHANGHAI RESIDENT XU QING, SAYING: "The traffic restrictions are not convenient for Shanghai residents but in the future it will bring Shanghai many business opportunities."
- Embargoed: 16th May 2010 13:00
- Location: China
- Country: China
- Topics: Industry,Science / Technology
- Reuters ID: LVA9DXJWGW2XA8TQR3R58WUTXQD7
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Televisions on the streets and in homes broadcast Shanghai's long-awaited Expo opening ceremony on Friday (April 30).
Crowds in Shanghai's trendy shopping district of Xintiandi gathered under a giant screen to watch the kick-off of the six month long event which China hopes will bring it further prestige following its Beijing 2008 Olympic Games success.
Shanghai resident Guo Wenjing had come to the area especially to watch the ceremony to celebrate her birthday.
"I feel very lucky, at the same time as the opening ceremony happens, its great to fall near my birthday, I am taking my friends to the Expo on my birthday," she said.
The Chinese government has spent billions of dollars on the Expo, an event which has in recent years fallen off the international radar but which aims to showcase the latest technology and inventions through innovative or bizarre national 'pavilions'.
Not all Shanghai residents are celebrating the event, which brings additional traffic restrictions and security checks across the city but many have an eye to the business opportunity.
"The traffic restrictions are not convenient for Shanghai residents but in the future it will bring Shanghai many business opportunities," said Xu Qing.
A record 189 countries and 57 organisations are participating in the Shanghai-hosted Expo, which local media estimate has cost the government 58 billion U.S. dollars, including infrastructure.
An estimated 70 million mostly Chinese visitors people are expected to tour the giant exhibition site, which sprawls across and area larger than Monaco, as Shanghai hopes to recreate the glamour of an event that was traditionally seen as one of the most prestigious international events before the rise of the Olympics.
The first world fair was held in London's Hyde Park in 1851, in the landmark Crystal Palace which was later destroyed in a fire. The 1889 Paris Expo saw the creation of another famous landmark as French structural engineer Gustave Eiffel presented his Eiffel Tower as a tribute to developments in science and engineering.
For China's 1.3 billion people, powering an economy likely to soon overtake Japan as the world's second-largest, the hoopla and glitz of the Expo will be cast as another display of the Communist leadership's power and prestige.
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