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December 15, 2009

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Hopes rest on fair to boost global economic recovery: survey

A fresh online survey shows that foreigners believe World Expo 2010 in Shanghai will contribute to the global economic recovery and the biggest attraction is the China Pavilion, the "Crown of the East." Yang Jian reports. Many foreigners believe the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai will have almost the same impact on the world economy recovery as the G8 Summit, a joint survey by Shanghai Daily and the Shanghai Municipal Information Office has found.

"Chinese elements" at the Expo are the most attractive aspect for foreigners, the recent survey found. The six-month Expo opens May 1.

In the current global economic downturn, about 58 percent of the respondents believe the Expo will contribute to the global economic recovery, being second only to the G8 Summit (in July in L'Aquila, Italy) which 62 percent say would have the biggest impact.

The rating greatly exceeds those of the Davos World Economic Forum (36.9 percent) and APEC (36.5 percent), with the South Africa FIFA World Cup 2010 ranking fifth (21 percent).

The online survey was carried out by CTR Market Research Co., Ltd., one of the largest marketing and media research companies in China. It covered around 9,000 people who were selected from Shanghai Daily Website's user database. The survey, which has more than 100 questions, generated 503 valid responses and has a margin of error of 4.67 percentage points.

The respondents have an average annual income of about US$100,000 per person per household and have received higher education. More than 30 percent of them are working at senior management levels.

Among the respondents, who come from 44 countries and regions across five continents, only less than 10 percent say they have no interest of visiting Expo Shanghai.

Around 27 percent of foreign visitors will attend the Expo mainly to seek business opportunities and around 15 percent of them will come mainly to see the pavilions and exhibitions, the survey found.

Americans have the highest expectations to find business opportunities at the Expo (32.9 percent), followed by Europeans (21.4 percent). More Asian visitors (30.6 percent) come mainly for relaxation.

According to the survey, World Expo is expected to boost the economy of Shanghai and have a ripple effect on business in China, most directly in the Yangtze River Delta region and Beijing.

The respondents expressed great interest in sightseeing around Shanghai during the Expo period.

More than 30 percent of them say they plan to stay in China between 10 and 15 days, while nearly 25 percent say they would stay for four to nine days. Another 11 percent say they would stay for 16 to 30 days.

Nearly 73 percent of respondents say they plan to spend more than half of their trip in Shanghai, with 4 percent saying they would spend all their time in the host city.

The outcome of the survey shows that 32 percent of respondents plan to spend US$5,000 to US$10,000 for their Expo trips, while 27 percent plan to spend between US$2,000 and US$5,000. The third largest group, 12 percent, say they would fork out US$10,000 to US$15,000. More than 70 percent of them say they would spend more than half of the money in Shanghai.

More than 80 percent of the foreign visitors plan to visit non-Expo places of interest n the city. The old-style buildings, the financial institutions, including the stock exchanges, and bars are the favored destinations.

About 36 percent of the respondents plan to visit other Yangtze Delta cities, while 31 percent will fly to Beijing during their Expo trip.

Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province (25.3 percent), Suzhou, Jiangsu Province (23.1 percent) and Nanjing, Jiangsu Province (22.1 percent) are the three top destinations for American and European visitors.

Ningbo (Zhejiang) and Wuxi (Jiangsu) are popular among Asian people, with 25 percent of them planning to visit both.

In the Expo site, the China Pavilion is voted the most popular, with 83 percent of respondents saying they were eager to see the "Crown of the East."

The USA (37.8 percent), Japan (25.1 percent) and Hong Kong (21.2 percent) pavilions are among the most popular, after the China venue.

Among the corporate pavilions, the Shanghai Joint Corporate Pavilion is the most attractive one with more than 43 percent of the respondents saying they plan to visit.

The pavilion is funded by about 40 medium and large local state-owned enterprises in the city with around 300 million yuan (US$44 million).

The Information and Communications Pavilion (29.5 percent) jointly built by China Mobile and China Telecom and Japan Corporate Pavilion (21.6 percent) are also popular.

The top concerns of foreign visitors to the Expo are traffic (57.6 percent), environment (28.6 percent) and food safety (26.4 percent).

Foreign people have also shown great enthusiasm in being volunteers at the Expo. More than 35 percent of the respondents say they are interested in being an Expo volunteer, including 11 percent who are eager to volunteer.


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