The Shanghai 2010 World Expo already has 24 more confirmed participants than the record 172 at 2000 event in Hanover, Germany.
Shanghai Expo organizers yesterday said 15 of the 196 countries and organizations that have confirmed participation had signed agreements with the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination. They include the UK, Canada, Switzerland and Spain.
Serbia, Eritrea, and Seychelles are the latest to do so, signing the agreement in Beijing yesterday.
"Our preparatory work is going full steam ahead and is on schedule on all fronts," Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng said. He welcomed the support to and participation of more countries and global organizations in the event, which has "Better City, Better Life" as its theme.
Belarus embassy's minister counselor Aleksandr Baichorov said: "We are preparing for signing the participation agreement, and I'm pretty sure we will sign it this year."
Till date, 87 cities have submitted 113 cutting-edge architecture and design concepts for the Urban Best Practices Area, a special zone for cities from across the globe at the 2010 World Expo, which will be held in a developing country for the first time.
Seven institutions, including the Ministry of Railways, the State Grid, China Mobile and a joint venture of Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation Group and General Motors, have agreed to build a corporate pavilion at the expo.
Poland is the latest country to unveil its architectural design: a geometrical structure with paper-cutting patterns. The 3,000-sq-m pavilion is the winning entry from among the 20 in the designing competition.
Tickets for the expo will go on sale from Sept 9, with the benchmark price being 160 yuan ($22.50).
(China Daily, March 13, 2008)