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Shanghai Expo to Go Live Online
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The 2010 Shanghai World Expo, China's next global party after the Olympics, will be going live online. "The event will never close," the city's vice-mayor said.

The virtual Expo will hit cyberspace on May 1, 2010, the same day as the actual Expo kicks off. It will be the first online World Expo, Yang Xiong, Shanghai's vice-mayor and executive deputy director of the Expo executive committee, said at a press briefing in Beijing.

Yang said that because of the size and complexity of the five-month event, the online version will play a major part in helping those attending the Expo get the most out of it as well as provide access for those unable to be there.

He noted that the Shanghai Expo seeks to encourage the participation of developing countries with US$100 million in assistance funds available to the 114 nations listed by the United Nations as less developed and underdeveloped nations.

The funds for Expo participation will be distributed not in cash but through the signing of contracts.

China became the first developing country to host the World Expo when Shanghai won the bid in December 2002 with a "better city, better life" theme.

Yang said transportation "is the greatest challenge since the Expo will be held in the center of Shanghai".

Measures to improve transportation include the construction of the city's third railway station, renovation of airports and development of cross-river transportation. Within the inner city, Yang said the improved metro lines will be vital, with a system of 400 km in place by 2010. Only public transport will be allowed in and around the Expo.

Another innovative feature of the Expo is the Urban Best Practice Area, which will display outstanding approaches of 30 cities worldwide. According to Yang, this will be the first time cities have been invited to participate in the World Expo independently.

The Expo will include the World Expo Museum, a public events center, a performing arts center, the China pavilion, and international and corporate pavilions.

China's provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities will share pavilions, while Hong Kong and Macao are authorized to build larger independent pavilions, according to Wang Jinzhen, China's chief delegate to the Bureau of International Exhibitions and the standing deputy-director of the Expo organizing committee's liaison office.

A participation plan for Taiwan is being drafted, he said, without further elaboration.

(China Daily August 1, 2007)

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