Shanghai will be the most suitable city for holding a successful world expo in the year 2010, says Mayor Chen Liangyu.
"The Shanghai World Expo will give the world huge business opportunities. The right choice will certainly bring about wonderful returns," said Mayor Chen in an interview with Xinhua.
The Chinese government announced in December 1999 it would support Shanghai's bid for the right to hold the 2010 World Expo, with the winner being decided by voting at the 132nd general assembly of the Bureau of International Exposition (BIE) in December this year.
In selecting the world expo venue, it was necessary to fully consider the capabilities and advantages of competing candidate cities, Chen said. The only criterion should be the success of the world expo, not other factors such as geography.
"Doing so will not only conform with the tenets of BIE, but also promote exchanges and cooperation among peoples of different countries, which will in turn promote the development of the international exposition business," said Chen.
It is estimated that the 2010 Shanghai World Expo will attract 70 million visitors and direct investment for the Shanghai expo will exceed three billion US dollars, according to Chen.
Countries attending the Shanghai expo can rent booths to promote their tour packages designed to attract Chinese tourists, the mayor suggests.
Statistics show last year China's 12 million outward-bound tourists spent 20 billion US dollars overseas.
While detailing the business potential of the Shanghai World Expo, Chen also talked about Shanghai's preparatory work, including transport construction, and the related relocation and preservation of historical and cultural features.
According to Chen, by 2010, the city's rail network will have grown from the current three lines with a combined length of 65 kmto 15 lines with a total length of 400 km. Its capacity will increase from 800,000 passengers at present to five million.
The city's expressway network will also be extended to 650 km so that a public transport network supported mainly by rail and supplemented by road transport will be formed by 2010 .
Staging the expo will boost passenger numbers by an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 daily. But the city's normal passenger numbers by 2010 were estimated to be 42.34 million daily, more than the population of Spain, so pressure on its overall urban transport won't be great, and the impact of the six-month-long expo on residents' work and life would be minimal, the mayor said.
The main venues for the World Expo are due to go in a revamped area of 4 square km along both banks of the Huangpu River. Building exposition halls will require the relocation of 8,500 households, involving 25,500 residents.
"All residents of Shanghai, including those who live inside the areas where the future halls might be situated are looking forward to the holding of the World Expo which may create opportunities for them to improve their living conditions and quality of life," said Mayor Chen. He also stressed that legitimate rights of residents to be relocated will be fully guaranteed.
He pledged the administration would strive to preserve Shanghai's historical and cultural features while carrying out large-scale urban upgrading in readiness for holding the expo.
The World Exposition, regarded as the Olympic Games of economics, science and technology, is a large-scale, global, non-commercial event to promote the exchange of ideas and world development.
First held in 1851 in London, it has never been held in a developing country. Only a few European countries and the United States, Canada, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have hosted the event.
Shanghai is competing against Moscow, Queretaro in Mexico, Poland's Wroclow and ROK's Yeoso to host the World Expo in 2010.