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G20 and the Shanghai World Expo

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How many Americans and other G20 attendees know about the Shanghai 2010 World Expo? Americans don't even have a U.S. pavilion approved. This omission is a great problem for the U.S. and shows how potentially out of touch we appear to other G20 countries. So, here are some facts to inform the Huff Post readers.

The world expo is scheduled to start May 1 2010 and will last 6 months. If you are interested in reaching the middle class/wealthy Chinese who can afford American products, this is the place you need to be. Estimates show that the Host city expects 80 million visitors, 70 million of whom will be Chinese. You can't miss the blue mascot and energy around this expo in China. The last World Expo was in 2005 and held in Aichi, Japan. 24 million participants came. The US subsidiary of Toyota sponsored the pavilion. Apparently, ever since the World Exposition in Seville, US legislatures created a rule saying no U.S. government funds can be used to build a pavilion. They wanted to avoid the leakage of money to government officials and potential bribery scandals. Good intention, but this means corporate sponsors or individuals must foot the bill.

You will want to be part of this Expo if you care about the environment, the climate or doing business in China. The theme is Better City, Better Life. The pavilions are under construction for many countries. The themes for some countries include the French, who are emphasizing the focus on senses and will be promoting their food and beverage and perfume businesses. The Canadian's are building a Cirque de Soleil building with the theme of culture and Fun. The Germans emphasize their design and engineering, promoting autos and machines. Where are the Americans? Do we just promote the military invasion and armaments?

I thought world expos were obsolete. But, for many countries, it is a chance to show your global citizenship. This is a critical part of shaking the globe. And, so far another 30 million must be raised by US companies to even get started. The only anchor supporter who committed funds is 3M. If a company from Minneapolis sees the benefits for their business and presence in China, why can't other companies see the obvious benefits and "guanxi" (relationships) that the expo will create. Any comments from your perspective?