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Expo corporate pavilions unveil glimpses of the future

WORLD Expo corporate pavilions are showing how technology can make life cool, green and fun.

Visitors to Zone D can experience golden toilets, cooking robots, a 720-degree surround-sphere film, 4-D films and the world's biggest LED (light-emitting diode) light show. You can get free Coca-Cola in bottles made partly of bio-material.

Zone D in Puxi contains most of the corporate pavilions, plus the industrial pavilions of Japan and South Korea.

The Expo Museum is also in Zone D because that the historic area is linked to global commerce; Shanghai's first factories were set up there. Some have been saved from the wrecking ball and have been renovated to house pavilions.

As with pavilions in other zones, those in Zone D show the latest technologies. They also demonstrate how cutting-edge technologies will make life better in the foreseeable future, especially for consumers.


Visitors can set out from either of the two entrances, Xizang Road S. and Luban Road.

Starting from the Aurora Pavilion to learn about China's jade culture.

The next stop is the China Railway Pavilion, followed by the Shanghai Corporate Pavilion, also called the "Magic Cube" - its surface covered by recycled CDs.

Nearby is the State Grid Pavilion, featuring a 720-degree light show in a box. Just opposite the State Grid Pavilion is the large screen of the Oil Pavilion, which features 4-D film.

Nearby are the Footprint Pavilion, the Cisco Pavilion, the Japan Industry Pavilion and the Republic of Korea Business Pavilion.

The building materials of the Republic of Korea Business Pavilion, where Samsun displays its latest technologies, will be made into bags for Shanghai residents after the Expo ends.

The Japan Industry Pavilion offers lunch. The menu includes a full-course 3,000-yuan (US$441) kaiseki-ryori meal with around a dozen dishes. Also on offer are 35-yuan fried balls made of chopped octopus, a typical Japanese snack.

Studio Ghibli, the famous Japanese animation studio, offers souvenirs related to works of Oscar-winning film maker Hayao Miyazaki. A 10-centimeter-high Japanese doll costs 10 yuan.

Stories by Zhu Shenshen, Zhang Fengming and Pan Xiaoyi; photos by Zhang Suoqing and Dong Jun

Japanese industry pavilion

Theme: Wonderful Life from Japan

Highlights: golden toilets, climbing robots, kaiseki-ryori dinner

The pavilion with a striking steel-mesh exterior makes people feel comfortable inside. The exhibition is aimed at consumers and is very consumer-friendly.

It includes theme theaters and eight major exhibition areas sponsored by Japanese shops and restaurants. On the west wall, three amazing robots climb up and down.

Visitors are welcomed by a six-minute video played circularly in theme theaters on huge high-definition screens. They show Japan's landscape, customs and cities from ancient times.

Companies display their latest products and applications, including luxury toilets with green porcelain in a flower pattern, transgenic (a kind of genetically modified) soybeans, artificial hearts and baby thermometers that don't hurt infants.

"The World's Best Restroom" features two golden toilets. But since they are worth millions of yen, they are for display only. Only those with invitations are allowed to see the potties.

The two golden toilets were made especially for the World Expo. The surfaces and interior are made with gold powder, so they shine. They include all kinds of features: automatic opening, adjusting volume of flushing water, automatic drying and so on. The flushing is silent. An MP3 player is available.

Elsewhere, visitors can see post offices of the future and how people communicate with in a society where communication technologies are highly developed.

The restaurant Murasaki offers a formal, full-course kaiseki-ryori meal for 3,000 yuan, prepared by veteran chefs from renowned restaurants. Reservations are required.

Less pricey fare is available.

Oil pavilion

Theme: Petroleum Expands Urban Dreams

Highlight: 4-D film

Nickname: Oil Cube

Don't think about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and our dependence on oil. The Oil Pavilion conveys the positive message that black gold not only fuels our cars but is also used to make fabric for our fashion, build our homes, boost grain output and improve almost every aspect of life.

The pavilion is famous for its 4-D film that shows oil exploration, development and modern use.

In the exploration part, mosquitoes, snakes and crocodiles seem to be attacking viewers; snakes hiss and rattle under the seats that move. The message is that oil exploration is hard and dangerous work and that oil companies go to great lengths to find black gold.

Some visitors scream and say it's like being in Jurassic Park.

Coca-cloa pavilion

Theme: A World Refreshed with Happiness

Highlights: free coke, playland for kids

Nickname: Coca-Cola Bottle

This pavilion is an adventure land for kids who explore Coke's animated commercial "Happiness Factory," featuring a Dr Seuss-like world in which an ordinary fellow saves the factory.

Visitors get a free small bottle of Coke, exactly 2.2 degrees Celsius and slightly slushy.

At the exit children can pose with huge multi-colored Coke bottles.

For adults, the pavilion showcases Cokes marketing drives and corporate culture.

Shanghai corporate pavilion

Theme: My City, Our Dreams

Highlights: LED show, cooking robot and Butterfly Professor

Nickname: Dream Cube

The 4,000-square-meter pavilion is financed by more than 30 large- and medium-sized state-owned enterprises and constructed by the Shanghai Guosheng (Group) Co Ltd.

The tour takes around 20 minutes, with interactive experiences.

In an eight-minute video, film director and actress Xu Jinglei plays the Butterfly Professor in a hologram who guides visitors through a 360-degree film about Shanghai's development.

One highlight is the chef robot Aike, who prepares dishes in a standard process with exact ingredients.

The pavilion features what it calls the world's biggest LED lighting array, 110,000 meters long, divided into 129 individually controlled parts. It forms a three-dimensional display matrix.

At night, there's an amazing light show on the exterior. The LED light formation displays 3-D animation, characters and special effects that ripple over the surface of the pavilion, creating a spectacular landscape.

State grid pavilion

Theme: Innovation Ignites Dreams

Highlight: smart grid, new energy, magic cube

Nickname: Magic Cube

On the second floor, a five-minute show is presented in a "Magic Cube" with six sides covered by 112 LED displays.

Visitors stand on a glass platform 3 meters above the ground and are bombarded by videos from all directions, giving the feeling of flowing with a flood, burning in the sun and flying in the sky. It demonstrates different sources of energy - water, solar and wind.

Visitors can "experience" a high-voltage tower, sensing the sound wave vibrations and watching the tower light up, making the ceiling look like the night sky.

The lower-level display showcases life in the future that's more convenient due to the smart grid. Visitors can click a control panel to turn appliances on and off.

Other pavilions in Zone D

Space Home Pavilion - You can avoid the long wait if you forego the film, but it's not recommended. The film is worth seeing.

PICC Pavilion - Hold the handrails during earthquakes and other natural disasters in the pavilion of the People's Insurance Company of China.

China Railway Pavilion - Try to buy the tickets to Suzhou (Jiangsu Province) or Hangzhou (Zhejiang Province) if you really want to go there. The ticket machines do work.

Cisco Pavilion - Experience the future life where "everything is connected."

Republic of Korea Business Pavilion - See the latest from the world's top two LCD display firms, Samsung and LG.

Aurora Pavilion - Jade culture, collections and a 2.5-ton jade statue. Medals from the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing were made from Chinese jade - models are displayed.


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