Strong Shanghai

The global economic recession has apparently not hurt the upcoming Shanghai World Expo 2010.

Zhou Hanmin, the deputy director of the Expo’s executive committee, told reporters March 3 that none of the participants had yet changed their minds about taking part in the Expo, which will run from May 1 to Oct. 31 next year.

“This means Shanghai has met its target of inviting about 200 countries and international organizations to take part in the event,” he said, adding that 185 countries and 46 international organizations have confirmed their commitment to attend.

Tickets go on sale March 27 with a benchmark price of 160 yuan (about $23), which is about 1 percent of the per capita disposable income of an urban dweller in 2008.
The Expo committee says that it will be the largest world exhibition ever held and expects 70 million visitors to the fair over a six-month period.

“We hope that 5 to 10 percent of the visitors are foreigners,” Zhou said. The theme of the Expo will be “Better City, Better Life,” in order to showcase new ideas about urban development.

In a related story, Li Yang, a top political adviser, told the annual meeting of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference that the country should build more theme parks like Disneyland in order to boost domestic demand.

Li cited the “Hollywood boom” during the Great Depression as an example of how entertainment can thrive in hard times and criticized the current quality of Chinese animation.

Li apparently knows whereof he speaks. He is famous in China for dubbing the Chinese voice of Donald Duck.