Shanghai given Saudi pavilion - lock, stock & TV

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 January, 2011, 12:00am

Five popular foreign pavilions at the World Expo last year have been given to Shanghai, mayor Han Zheng says.

The five came from Saudi Arabia, Russia, France, Italy and Spain, Han told the annual meeting of the Shanghai People's Congress on Monday.

He also said the Puxi section of the 5.28 square kilometre expo site would be developed to house mainly cultural activities and museums, while the Pudong part would become home to a conference and exhibition complex, the Shanghai Morning Post reported yesterday. Details will not be released until the second quarter of this year.

Multinational corporations would be encouraged to set up regional headquarters in the area around the expo site, he said, without giving details.

The Saudi Arabian pavilion, one of the most popular with expo visitors, now belongs to Shanghai in its entirety, including all its interior exhibits and its eye-catching giant high-definition, bowl-shaped screen.

The Russian, French, Italian and Spanish pavilions given to Shanghai do not include their exhibits. 'We are taking stock of the feasibility of opening the Saudi pavilion like the China pavilion,' Han said.

After the curtain fell on the six-month World Expo on October 31, Shanghai reopened the China pavilion from December 1 for another six months, charging 20 yuan (HK$24) per ticket. On the first day, more than 20,000 visitors scrambled for access. Han said some top museums would be built in the northeastern corner of the Puxi area.

'The development of the expo site will not concentrate on residential property,' he said. 'However, there will be some residential projects, which will be put together in a designed area called the Expo Village.' Those houses would be leased rather than sold.

Two expo-related museums will be built in Pudong: the World Expo Museum and the 2010 Shanghai World Expo Mementos Museum. Collection for the latter museum has begun, with high-profile expo items such as Spain's Baby Miguelin robot, already acquired.

Sun Yuanxin , from the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics' Institute for World Expo Economy, said it was rare for foreign pavilions to remain after an expo.

'The foreign countries' rationale is that they want to boost cultural and business exchanges with China, as well as to attract Chinese citizens, especially the middle class,' he said.