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August 10, 2010

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Foreigners seek Expo memories

MORE than 30 foreign individuals and groups have contacted the Shanghai Expo authority to book a seat for next Wednesday's auction of items used in the fair's opening ceremony on April 30.

Expo organizers said they were impressed by the enthusiasm shown by foreigners as potential overseas bidders were quick to contact them after they announced the auction.

"The response from foreigners was better than we have expected," said an official with the Expo authority yesterday.

Items to be auctioned include 37 motorboats, 231 sailboats, some of the 6,000 light balls that turned red, yellow and orange and some costumes, all of which proved a big hit at the TV-aired opening gala.

Next Wednesday's auction will see three motorboats and 10 sailboats go under the hammer.

The remainder of the items will be sold at auctions over the next two months.

The first sale will be held at an auction hall at 108 Fuzhou Road and via an online bidding platform arranged by the auction company.

The estimated price of each boat is about 25,000 (US$3,700) to 50,000 yuan, the auction company said, based on the response so far from the market.

The boats and specially designed light balls have been on display at a local wharf since July 26 when the auction plan was first announced, said Fan Ganping, deputy director of the state-owned Shanghai International Commodity Auction Co Ltd.

The company found most of the potential buyers from home and abroad told them they were so impressed by the opening ceremony that they wanted to acquire items to remember the event.

A total of 200 people or groups had shown interest in the items.

About 80 percent were companies but most of the foreign inquiries were from individual collectors, the auction company said.

The opening ceremony reached a climax when the light balls floated downstream of the Huangpu River, while more than 200 boats, each with a flag of participant countries and organizations, went upstream.

All the Expo assets, from artworks to office equipment, will go under the hammer when the event is over to recoup operational funds.


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