Wan Jifei, deputy director of the Shanghai Expo Organizing Committee and chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). [Photo/China Daily]
BEIJING - As the Shanghai Expo draws to a close, China is already considering a bid for another and is confident of hosting the global showpiece again in 2025, a senior official said on Thursday.
Currently a number of Chinese cities, including Ningbo and Guangzhou, have offered themselves as potential hosts, said Wan Jifei, deputy director of the Shanghai Expo Organizing Committee and chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT).
"We are hopeful that China will hold another World Expo, probably in 2025," Wan told China Daily. "I think Guangzhou is the best choice."
The capital of Guangdong province is the host city for the upcoming Asian Games, one of the world's largest sporting events.
"Economic strength is vital for hosting a World Expo," Wan said. "Similar to Shanghai in the Yangtze River Delta, Guangzhou, as the center of the Pearl River Delta, has a vibrant economy and a profound cultural background, which can best represent the country."
An Expo candidate city must have a per capita GDP of $8,000, according to Wan.
Guangzhou's per capita GDP was about $11,700 in 2008 and is on its way to reach $15,000 at the end of this year, official figures show.
Wan also said that it's common practice for a country to host more than one Expo. The United States tops the list with 30 Expos - including eight comprehensive fairs like the one in Shanghai - since the Great Exhibition in London in 1851, considered the forerunner of World Fairs and Expos.
As the Shanghai Expo prepares to draw the final curtain this weekend, Wan has every reason to be proud.
"This is the first time the World Expo was held in a developing country and we can definitely call it a success," Wan said. "It fulfilled its target of being a splendid, successful and unforgettable cultural gala."
The Expo 2010 Shanghai opened on May 1 under the banner of "Better City, Better Life", with 189 countries and 57 international organizations participating.
On Sunday morning, total attendance at the fair surpassed the target of 70 million. The number stood at 71.84 million as of Thursday.
"I was delighted to hear about it and I am amazed that the estimated attendance was correct," Wan said, adding that about 5 percent, or 3.5 million visitors, were overseas tourists.
"The Expo will leave a profound legacy to Shanghai and China as a whole, in terms of the economy, science and technology, as well as society," he said.
Income from tickets, licensed products, and sponsorship show Expo had a "remarkable" impact on the city. The event helped generate more than 80 billion yuan ($12 billion) in tourism revenue for Shanghai and neighboring Yangtze River Delta cities, the China Tourism Academy said.
"The idea of using new energy and developing a low-carbon economy is the most valuable treasure that the Expo leaves for China's economic, technological and social development," Wan said.
For instance, bamboo or zero-carbon homes, chairs made from recycled newspaper, and chopsticks made of biscuits, all on display at the Expo, showcase the innovation of various countries and companies in adopting the Expo's theme.
It can take years between the first bid to host an Expo and final confirmation. The Chinese government officially decided that Shanghai would bid for the 2010 World Expo on Nov 18, 1999, and the city won the bid at the 132nd General Assembly of the International Exhibitions Bureau on Dec 3, 2002.
"Of course it is too early to confirm the full extent of Expo's influence on China," he said. "We feel a lot of pressure after this success. My colleagues at the CCPIT and I have already started work on future events - the Expo 2012 in Yeosu, South Korea, and the 2015 event in Milan, Italy, as well as others. For us, the Expo will never end."
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