The global financial crisis will have only limited impacts on the Shanghai World Expo 2010, an official with the organizers said here Sunday.
Wan Jifei, vice director of the Shanghai World Expo Executive Committee, pledged that the financial crisis would not affect the overall success of the Expo at a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of China's political advisory body.
Although some of the participants had difficulties in raising funds, none of them had yet quitted, said Wan, a member of the Standing Committee of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
"I think all the participating countries are willing to use the Shanghai Expo as an opportunity to boost their national images," Wan said.
"China is willing to offer assistance to help them cut costs and increase efficiencies," he said.
Zhou Hanmin, another vice director of the Executive Committee, said the organizers of the Expo has set up a special fund of 100 million U.S. dollars to facilitate the participation of developing countries.
According to Zhou, budget for the expo included 18 billion yuan for venue construction and an operating fund of 10.6 billion yuan.
"The Expo would at least make both ends meet, if it can not make profit", he said, adding that tickets to the Expo would be sold at 160 yuan each.
More than 70 million visitors were expected to come to the Expo.
Zhou noted that construction of the China pavilion would be finished within this year, and would "bring surprise to the Chinese people."
The pavilion, dubbed the "Oriental Crown", would feature a collection of high-end technologies and Chinese characteristics.
The environment-friendly pavilion would become a permanent landmark in Shanghai, he said.
Both Wan and Zhou acknowledged that the Shanghai Expo would help boost economic growth in the city and across China.
According to Wan, the expo would facilitate Shanghai's industrial restructuring, and the investment in the infrastructure and public facilities construction would also be conducive to the city's sustainable development.
Zhou also said the Expo would greatly boost consumption in Shanghai and its neighboring areas, and would contribute to the infrastructure modernization and improvement of tourism facilities in the Yangtze River Delta region.
"The Expo will also boost confidence in the country which is key to our combat against the global financial crisis," he said.
Cheng Yuechong, vice mayor of Ningbo city in the eastern province of Zhejiang and a member of the CPPCC National Committee, said the Shanghai Expo would become a "thruster" to push forward integration and development of the Yangtze River Delta region.
Cities in the Yangtze River Delta region should pool their resources together to host a successful exhibition, he said.
Yang Lan, another CPPCC National Committee member, said the Expo would contribute to the development of the culture industry in the country.
"The Shanghai Expo would provide a stage for cultural exchange," she said, "Like the Beijing Olympics, the Shanghai Expo would be conducive to China's social and cultural development."
The Shanghai Expo is due to be held from May 1 to Oct. 31 next year.
The Expo is on track to be the largest fair of its kind since the first World's Fair, known as the Great Exhibition, the predecessor event of the Expo, was held in London in 1851.
With the theme of "Better City, Better Life", the Shanghai Expo will showcase the best examples and ideas about urban development. The organizers will also establish an on-line Expo that will allow people around the world access to the event.
(Xinhua News Agency March 8, 2009)