The Shanghai World Expo which wrapped up October 31 created a record for host country China as a total of 72 million visitors trooped in to the expo ground. The expo was the biggest most expensive event since the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London that marked the coming of the Industrial Revolution.
The Shanghai expo was an excellent chance for people from all over the world to learn more about China, and other countries. It was the first time in history that such an Expo was held in a developing country, and signaled the growing importance of China’s role on the global scene.
The event showed China’s rise as a modern power, and drew accolades from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said the expo “offers hope for tackling global challenges,” according to a report by Associated Press.
Moreover, it was a wonderful chance for many Chinese from around the country, who do not usually have the chance to travel outside China to learn more about the world.
Zou Aiguo, a pensioner from China’s Jiangxi province, said in a report by the Associated Press that “thanks to the Expo, people like me who never would have a chance to go abroad can experience the whole world.”
In a BBC report a Spokesman for the Expo, Xu Wei said that “It is a big platform, a big event for cultural exchanges.” He also said that “we are bringing the whole world – different countries, different peoples – to this area, so it’s a good opportunity for Chinese people to have ‘face to face’ contact with international society.”
The Expo’s official website stated that “within a land area of six square kilometers, the Expo Site has become a global village where people could not only see on display rare cultural treasures of the world, for example, the bronze chariot and horse sculpture from China’s Warring States period, the statue of Athena from Greece and the masterpiece of French impressionist painters, but also got a taste of the quintessence of the world’s diverse cultures through more than 20,000 cultural events.”
At the closing ceremony, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said that the Shanghai Expo 2010 in China had been a splendid event and added a glorious chapter to the Expo history. He said that the Expo truly brought together people around the World.
Reports say China spent more than $60 billion on the expo, which was even more than was spent on the Beijing Olympics in 2008. The expo itself was twice the size of Monaco, and straddled both sides of the Huangpu River. It was visited by people from 240 different countries around the globe.
The importance of holding the expo in China was further explained by the desire to foster innovation and exchange ideas between countries.
The theme of the expo “Better city, better life” vividly raised the question of how to improve life in cities. This is especially important in China, where urbanization is accelerating with the increasing economic growth.