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Suzhou aims to profit from 2010 Shanghai World Expo
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By Zhou Jing and Wang Ke
China.org.cn Multimedia Team

Suzhou is expecting a surge in visitors and business opportunities when the World Expo opens in neighboring Shanghai next year.

"We are really looking forward to the opportunities that the 2010 Shanghai World Expo will bring," said Liu Jie, director of the Media Center of Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP).

China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Exhibition Hall

Despite being hit by the financial crisis, Suzhou remains one of China's most prosperous cities. Although June is not the city's busiest tourist season, the streets are still packed with tourists, investors are still visiting the city in significant numbers, and the 2010 Expo is expected to provide a major boost to the local economy.

Liu said that city government and SIP have begun to prepare for the Expo since early 2008 and have been hosting promotional events and exhibitions in neighboring cities like Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou.

To attract Expo visitors to make the one-hour trip to Suzhou they are emphasizing the city's cultural heritage, exemplified by its world famous gardens, and the economic progress achieved in the past 15 years since SIP was established as a joint venture with the government of Singapore.

"All Expo visitors are potential customers. We plan to seize all available opportunities," said Liu.

A hallway in the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Exhibition Hall

Suzhou International Expo Center (SIEC) has been seeking to establish itself as one of China's key exhibition service providers. Not satisfied with languishing in the shadow of Shanghai's reputation as an international exhibition hub, the city has sought to carve out its own niche.

Shanghai has forged strong links with European countries, particularly Germany. For a number of German exhibition organizers, notably Hannover Messe, Messe Munchen and Messe Dusseldorf, Shanghai is now their Asian exhibition destination of choice.

SIEC is looking to replicate the success of its neighbor by building similar relationships in the United States. A number of leading US companies, including SMG and Freeman, have opened discussions with the SIEC with a view to focusing their activities around Suzhou.

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