73 Million At Expo

The Shanghai World Expo 2010 closed Oct. 31 with a ceremony presided over by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

In his closing remarks, Wen said that “one day at the Expo is more rewarding than 10 years of reading.” Pointing out that the event was the first World Expo in a developing country, the premier added that “the success of the Expo has strengthened China’s confidence and resolve to pursue reform and open up.”

Organizers say that 73 million people visited the Expo since it opened in May, the vast majority of them Chinese who reportedly flocked to the event to sample countries they will probably never have a chance to visit.

The most popular international pavilions were said to be Saudi Arabia, Japan, Germany and Spain, though none were as packed as China’s own. Because of massive ticket demand early on, the Expo devised a timed ticketing system to ease the flow of people into the China Pavilion, a system that was eventually adopted by other pavilions.

The city of Shanghai was transformed by the Expo and will likely see growth of more than 8.5 percent this year.

Bloomberg reports that $44 billion was spent on a downtown fairground, five new metro lines, a new airport terminal and improved roads.

Of the pavilions, only China’s will remain, though there are rumors that the city of Shanghai may opt to keep some of the others.
Great Britain has already begun dismantling its pavilion and even started auctioning off 8,000 acrylic rods taken from its “seed cathedral.”