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Business > Economy > 2010 Shanghai World Expo

World Expos lift, boost development of major economies

2010-05-02 08:43:49 GMT2010-05-02 16:43:49 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

by Qiao Jihong, Yi Gaochao

BEIJING, May 2 (Xinhua) -- For those who make even a fleeting tour of the 2010 World Expo, they cannot miss the essentials that have insinuated into and meandered through all the expositions so far.

Organizers in Shanghai are therefore as assured as their predecessors, either in educated foresight or calculated retrospect, that what are on display at their expos would be morale-boosting to their visitors for years to come.

That's perhaps why more and more people aspire to tour the grandiose expositions of their times, just to get the smack of the lift at least mentally, if not physically.


The inaugural 1851 World Expo in London moved even knowledgeable Queen Victoria to exclaim at the grandeur, fantasy and excitement of the event.

Historians hold it that the London exposition not only raised the curtain on the British Victorian Era, but also epitomized the country's glory and dream heralded by the Industrial Revolution.

Steam-powered machinery including locomotives and boats were behind the explosive growth of the British economy in the 19th century when Britain and its colonies accounted for a quarter of the global trade, equaling to the combined trade of France, Germany and the United States.

Britain back then boasted of the world's biggest commercial fleet with a tonnage equaling the combined total of France, Germany, the United States, the Netherlands and Russia.

Technological advance not only turned Britain into a world factory, but also made it the most powerful country in the world. The "British Empire" had a quarter of the world population and a fifth of the global land under its reign, at least nominally.


The 1933 World Expo in Chicago is better remembered as one that helped the host country to climb out of its 1929-1933 Great Depression.

Though economic woes made the budget of the Chicago Expo extremely tight, the organizers managed to raise fund by issuing bonds and seeking sponsorship from major suppliers. Exhibitors also used their full imagination by bringing to the scene their production lines ranging from toothpaste, bread to motor vehicles.

The Chicago exposition enabled visitors to get a glimpse into what has come to be known as the "country on wheels" and the makeshift structures at the expo boosted the development of new building material and construction industries in the country.

Since the 1929 collapse of the New York Stock Exchange, more than 5,500 U.S. banks and financial institutions were forced to close down. The country was plagued by a soaring unemployment rate of 25 percent and plummeting housing prices. The industrial revolution several years in advance had laid the foundation for the country's rebound from the recession.

Two years after the Chicago Expo, almost all the economic indicators in the United States turned for the better as the country saw its GDP rise from 74.2 billion dollars in 1933 to 204.9 billion dollars in 1939.

It was the World Expo in Chicago that placed the host country into the driver's seat of the global modernization process as well as a leading role in the global economic development.


The 1970 World Expo in Osaka, coupled with the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, served as a morale-booster to the Japanese who finally parted with their shadows of defeat in World War II and moved toward a rising economic power in the world.

Painstaking efforts of two decades lifted Japan into the world's number two economy, only behind the United States.

As the first to be held in Asia, The Osaka exposition was hailed as the thither-to most successful World Expo with a record attendance of 64.2 million visitors.

The hosts spent 3.3 trillion Japanese yen on erecting World Expo pavilions (600 billion yen more than what was spent on the Tokyo Olympics). The colossal amount was used to improve public transport, high-end residential quarters, commercial, cultural and tourist facilities, as well as the urban development in central-western Japan.

The Osaka Expo even secured a strong momentum for nationwide economic growth in the next 10 years.


The 2000 World Expo in Hannover drew 150,000 visitors on its opening day. And public interests were trained and glued onto sustainability of development.

In investment and construction, the organizers took into full consideration such sustainability elements as tangible growth, facility and environment as well as the future use of the exposition pavilions and related infrastructure.

Their emphasis on economic and ecological considerations helped secure the German city its status as the world's leading exposition host, and ushered in a new round of urban development centered on CBD or central business district fully-incorporated with the available information technology.

The meticulous efforts in their turn have boosted municipal and regional development before, during and after the World Expo.

"Grosser Garten" or Great Garden in English, which boosted CBD development throughout Germany, has since developed into a globally-accepted urban planning and sustainable urbanization.

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