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World Expo spreading word on biz opportunities
By Chang Tianle (China Business Weekly)
Updated: 2004-07-21 13:55

Shanghai World Expo 2010 has launched a world-wide campaign to promote its needs and bring business opportunities to global business.

The organizer has travelled around Europe and South-east Asia as well as China.

"We've been very busy meeting with representatives from enterprises at home and abroad which are seeking business opportunities," said Dai Liu, chairman of Shanghai World Expo (Group) Co Ltd.

Stepping out of Shanghai will enable the Expo to attract more business partners.

The Shanghai World Expo Company, established in February, bears full responsibility for building the infrastructure needed by the Expo and attracting exhibitors to attend the event.

The company is also responsible for introducing private and foreign capital to run the World Expo 2010 Shanghai.

Indeed, with an estimated investment of 38 billion yuan (US$4.59 billion),Shanghai World Expo is more than a huge exhibition.

According to Dai, the event is "a challenging super-huge international project with global impact."

He said, "Whether we can grasp the opportunity and forge a healthy interactive development , depends not only on an open attitude and co-ordination mechanism, but also business people's vision."

Chinese leaders and Expo organizers have committed to making the expo a truly international event.

A Shanghai World Expo forum was held in Singapore in March, which attracted a large number of businessmen to seek business opportunities to the event.

This was the first stop of Expo's promotion campaign in South-east Asia.

According to an official with the Expo Bureau, Singapore was chosen because of its booming exhibition sector. Shanghai has a lot to learn from it in areas including tourism, financing, infrastructure.

In response, Chen Dejun, deputy director of the Singapore International Enterprise Development Bureau, said that Singapore was willing to share its expertise in these areas with Shanghai.

The bureau will work with Singporean enterprises to participate in the Shanghai Expo.

The Expo Bureau also participated in the Eighth East-West Co-operation in April, Investment and Trade Fair in Xi'an to promote the event, introducing the business opportunities Expo can provide to West China.

The Expo booth received over 6,000 visitors during the fair.

Hong Kong, Asia's financial centre, witnessed a seminar on Expo financing issues in May. Bankers and senior executives from international financial firms provided their views and proposals, in hopes that they will eventually chosen to handle Expo's financial projects.

More recently, Shanghai Expo made its first promotion in Europe after winning the bid in 2002.

The delegation gave three promotions in Paris, Brussels and Budapest, all of which received overwhelming response from local business circles.

Dai said Europe has rich resources of art, innovation and modern technology needed for exhibition and show business.

"This is something Shanghai, even China is short of, especially how to apply the latest technology and innovative ideas to present an event," he said.

One of the things the organizer has been considering is what to show the expected 70 million visitors.

Dai said European companies' expertise in areas such as multi-media, art event organization will be valuable to Shanghai World Expo, which also aims to be an event presenting world-class exhibitions of art and crafts.

But this only represents a small part of challenges facing the Expo which will require outside co-operation, which Dai divided into three sectors.

One is the direct construction and operation of the Expo.

Direct funds needed to relocate homes and business within the Expo area is expected to exceed 21 billion yuan (US$2.54 billion), which will require five to ten times more investment to build up related transportation facilities and urban area renovation.

Branding and franchise is another area which will need international participation.

Nevertheless, the Expo will give regional development a strong push, and will pose numerous business opportunities, according to Dai.

"World Expo's impact on the host's economy usually lasts four years after the event. From this point of view, investing in Expo will have a long-term return," he added.

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