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May 8, 2010

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Cashing in on the Expo passports

SOME enterprising people have figured out a new way to cash in on the Shanghai World Expo -- selling souvenir Expo passports after collecting stamps from pavilions.

Some are charging up to 750 yuan (US$110) for one passport with stamps of 40-plus national pavilions. The passport costs 30 yuan and the stamps are free at the pavilions.

Most of the passports are being sold online, opening the door for accusations that they are counterfeits.

A person who identified himself as Li said he had 15 stamped Expo passports for sale. He posted the information on the online community Baidu Tieba.

Li charged 300 yuan for one passport with 43 pavilion stamps.

A passport with stamps from 10 popular national pavilions is priced at 200 yuan and 100 yuan for a passport with only a stamp commemorating the opening of the Expo on May 1.

"I only have 15 stamped Expo passports and they are very valuable because of the May 1 commemorative stamp," said Li, adding that he spent two-and-a-half days traveling among pavilions to get the passports stamped.

Expo passports are the size of genuine passports and enable visitors to get a commemorative stamp at some pavilions. The 30-yuan passport has 47 pages. They have proven very popular since they were released on April 29.

Xiang Zizi, a senior planner at Shanghai Dow Culture Media Co, the producer of the Expo passport, said they haven't come up with any measures to prevent the sale of stamped passports.

Xiang said it will be more meaningful if people collect their own stamps when they visit the Expo.

A man surnamed Cheng said he charges 500 yuan for an Expo passport with a full collection of 47 national pavilion stamps, with a 100 yuan discount for every five passports. He said it works out to about 10 yuan for each commemorative stamp.

"The price is fair if you consider the cost of the Expo ticket and the huge amount of time we spend collecting the stamps," Cheng said.

Cheng and his team spent about two weeks, including the trial opening period, to collect all the national pavilion stamps. He has sold 14 passports thus far.

"A customer even offered to pay me 6,000 yuan for more than 300 commemorative stamps from all the pavilions, including the UBPA and corporate ones," Cheng said.


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