Shanghai has increased its estimate of the direct investment it will need to build the World Expo site, to US$3.6 billion from $3 billion, renewing questions over whether the world's fair can break even in 2010. The city has also forecast spending on related infrastructure for the expo at about US$36 billion, local newspapers reported, up from an earlier estimate of $30 billion. A spokesman for the Shanghai World Expo Co-ordination Bureau declined to comment yesterday. The Shanghai government itself will spend about 20 billion yuan, or US$2.4 billion, of the total direct investment on the venue. Some mainland academics have suggested it does not matter whether the World Expo is profitable as the central government views the event as vital to raising China's international profile. The last World Expo, in the German city of Hanover four years ago, lost US$1 billion and had 18 million visitors, 22 million less than forecast. A Shanghai Expo Bureau official said yesterday that cost increases were caused partly by the enlargement of the expo site to 6.4 sq km from the original 4 sq km. That means more residents and companies would have to be relocated. Speaking in Hong Kong last month, the president of the Shanghai World Expo (Group) Co., Chen Xianjin , said 17,500 families and 270 companies would be evicted from the site. That was the first such public estimate given by an official. Officials were quoted as saying the US$36 billion estimate included the preparation of sites for relocated residents and factories, as well as the expansion of the international airport and other transport infrastructure. Shanghai has already started a 12 billion yuan expansion of the Pudong International Airport, adding a second runway and terminal.