The 2010 World Expo in the city will spur the nation's economy at a time when the global financial crisis hasn't yet bottomed out, a top official said yesterday.
The six-month expo, due to open in May next year, will lift China's economy, with investments and employment opportunities, boosting consumption in the tourism and commerce sectors, Shanghai's Party chief Yu Zhengsheng, who is also the vice-chairman of the expo's organizing committee, said.
"This year, ahead of the expo, is going to be very critical and we are actively pushing our preparations for the massive event in an orderly manner," he said.
Most foreign participants have started constructing their exhibition halls, and by the end of this year, all the landmark venues for the expo, such as the China Pavilion and the Expo Center, will complete construction, Yu said.
The metropolis is also on track to finish construction of its tunnels, rails and roads well in time for the event, and will continue with its efforts to improve the environment around the expo venue, he said.
"There will be massive job opportunities in areas such as logistics, creative industries and facilitating service sectors like food and beverage, shopping, transportation and sightseeing," said Yu, adding some 70 million visitors were expected in Shanghai during the expo.
Expo organizers will soon launch a program to recruit college graduates to fill 13 categories of job vacancies.
Yu said to host the event successfully, it is important to speed up the integration of the Yangtze River Delta, and called on Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces in the region to work together in the preparations for the expo.
For example, Yu said, visitors to the expo may want to tour other cities within the Yangtze River Delta region and even other parts of China.
The Shanghai Party chief admitted that the global financial turmoil has brought up some "practical difficulties" for the participating countries and institutions, but so far, all participants remained quite active. He said the expo will become a venue for discussing ways to combat the economic crisis.
"The organizers will strive to provide all participants with high-quality and efficient services, and work to lower their costs," Yu said.
The $100-million supporting fund China pledged during the bidding process is in place and it is expected that more than 100 developing nations will benefit from it, he said.
"Besides, the organizers will this year host a series of promotional activities in major overseas target markets, and are already working with Chinese embassies and consulate-generals worldwide to lure more visitors."
Yu, a former minister of construction, said Shanghai Expo's theme of "Better City, Better Life" complies with the country's massive urbanization process, adding that it will work as an exchange platform for ideas on urban construction and innovations worldwide.
The city has invested heavily to upgrade its transportation and urban construction ahead of the global event.
So far, a total of 18,000 Shanghai households, formerly located in the expo area, have been relocated, doubling their average household living area to 75 sq m from the previous 30 sq m.
Source: China Daily