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Qatar getting ready for Shanghai World Expo

2009. 19 October

Huang Jianzhi, deputy director general of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Co-ordination, and Abdulla al-Muftah, Qatar’s commissioner general for the expo, signing the contract at the pavilion hand-over ceremony

( Qatar has started preparations for its participation in World Expo 2010 Shanghai, which
is set to be the largest event of its kind in history with more than 242 countries and international organisations taking part. The Shanghai expo, expected to be visited by 70mn visitors, will take place from May 1 to October 31 next year.
A pavilion has already been handed over to Qatar by the expo administration. Huang Jianzhi, deputy director general of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Co-ordination, and Abdullah al-Muftah, Qatar’s commissioner general for the expo, signed an agreement at the pavilion handover ceremony in Shanghai recently.
“Detailed plans for Qatar’s exhibition are yet to be unveiled,” an official at the Shanghai Expo office told Gulf Times. Sources, however, said Qatar’s pavilion would highlight the country’s natural gas industry, with displays also showcasing Qatar’s heritage and economic progress.
Qatar had signed its formal participation contract for World Expo 2010 in November last year.
“The Shanghai expo will offer a great opportunity for Qatar to show off its achievements in various sectors,” a senior Chinese official said.
Among the other Gulf countries taking part in the expo, the UAE pavilion is nearly complete. In the shape of a huge golden sand dune, it is expected to be one of the striking structures in the expo. Its outer covering will be golden-coloured stainless steel and its undulating roof, looking as if it had been shaped by the wind, will make the pavilion shimmer.
It will be 20m high and cover 6,000sq m, the largest size available to expo participants.
“One of the most powerful and appealing experiences for UAE people is to travel through our vast desert, and we want to share this experience (with the others) by building the pavilion,” said Salem Saeed al-Ameri, commissioner general of UAE’s Expo participation.
The Saudi pavilion will also be an eye-catching one with around 150 live date palms on its roof. Another of its attraction will be its 1,600sq m cinema screen, said to be the largest in the world.
The budget of the expo is estimated at 28.6bn yuan (around QR15. 25bn), Zhu Yonglei, deputy director general of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Co-Ordination, told a Middle East media group visiting the city.
“World Expo 2010 Shanghai is the occasion for China to bring the world at home and for the world to feel at home in China,” Zhu Yonglei said.
“By dedicating a 5.28-sq-km area at the core of the city to exhibitions, events and forums on the expo theme, ‘Better City, Better Life’, Shanghai hopes to build a powerful and lasting pilot example of sustainable and harmonious urban living,” he added.  
Construction work is fast progressing on the 42 pavilions to be built by participants themselves. Half of the 42 rented pavilions have been handed over to countries and organisations taking part. Three of the 11 joint pavilions have already been finished.
“All the construction work will be completed by the end of this year,” Yonglei said.
Some 7.5mn tickets for the expo have been sold so far, demonstrating the high interest the event has evoked around the world. The basic ticket price is 160 yuan (QR85). Foreigners are able to buy tickets from overseas outlets authorised by the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Co-ordination.
More than 100 performances will be staged at the expo site every day.
As the theme of expo is “Better City, Better Life”, participants will display urban civilisation to the full extent, exchange experiences of urban development and explore new approaches to human habitat, lifestyle and working conditions.
Officials said the Shanghai exhibition, for the first time in expo history, would have an online version. “As an integral part of the fair, Expo Online functions as the introductory channel and supplement to the actual one, in the form of a website combining 3D exhibitions, events and interactions.”
The first world expo was held in London in 1851, marking the beginning of a new era for countries to show off their industrial products and innovations. Throughout its 158 years of its existence, the World Expo has always brought in new knowledge coming from a given era and reflected development trends in human civilization. It is described as the third largest event in the world in terms of economic and cultural impact, after the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games.
With a history of more than 700 years, the 2010 expo host city Shanghai was once the financial hub of the Far East.  Since the reforms that began in China the 1990s, great changes have taken place in the city.
Today, Shanghai forms part of the largest economic zone in China. The municipal government is working towards building Shanghai into a modern metropolis and into an international economic, financial, trading and shipping centre by 2020.