Thumbs down for US pavilion

By Yang Jian
0 CommentsPrint E-mail Shanghai Daily, November 3, 2010
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Chinese visitors voted the USA Pavilion as the most disappointing foreign pavilion at the World Expo 2010, according to a survey released Tuesday by Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The survey was a sharp contrast to one by Millward Brown-ACSR and Ogilvy in January, which found the USA Pavilion was chosen as the venue Chinese people most wanted to see.

In the recent survey, many respondents said the pavilion had a poor design as it looked like a shopping mall. They added its exhibits were vague and empty, said Liu Kang, dean of the university's Institute of Arts and Humanities and leader of the survey.

The pavilion was also seen as having weak high-tech exhibits and eco-friendly concepts, Liu said.

The negative comments about the pavilion were not only from Chinese visitors. A US media report called the pavilion "an epic failure of planning" in a report at the beginning of the Expo in May.

The 6,000-square-meter pavilion featured an eight-minute 4D urban fairy tale movie "The Garden." It weaved effects like wind and rain into the story. Most other exhibits, including a large screen on the pavilion's exterior, were about its sponsors.

According to a US federal law, only private donations can be used for the country's participation at the Expo. The US organizer encountered great difficulties in soliciting money from US companies because of the financial crisis. The country was among the last to confirm participation at Expo 2010.

"More than 70 percent of respondents said they got more favorable impressions of countries after visiting their national pavilions, but the United States seemed to be an exception. Maybe people had higher expectations so they left disappointed," Liu said.

The United Arab Emirates Pavilion was chosen as the favorite foreign pavilion, followed by the Germany and Russia pavilions, according to the survey.

The survey spoke to 1,500 visitors at the Expo in September.

Although the Germany Pavilion received 4.6 million visitors in the six months - less than other pavilions - an official said that was fine.

"We are satisfied that most visitors stayed for more than an hour in the pavilion when only 30 minutes were needed to see the exhibits," Marion Conrady, press officer of the pavilion, told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

She said many visitors watched very carefully and talked about exhibitions and Germany while in the pavilion.

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