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November 14, 2019

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Huge crowds as public flocks to check out CIIE National Pavilion

The National Exhibition and Convention Center was overwhelmed by enthusiastic crowds at the extended exhibition of the National Pavilion of the China International Import Expo yesterday.

Reservations have closed and about 400,000 people have already booked a visit.

Although the expo venue opened at 9:30am, many visitors came hours earlier to line up despite a chilly morning drizzle.

“The exhibition has limited visitors to about 50,000 per day,” an official at the pavilion told Shanghai Daily. “We are expecting large visitor flows every day.”

Zhai Jun, a post-graduate student from Nankai University, booked a visit weeks ago with his girlfriend.

“The weekend was soon fully booked so we decided to come on the first day, and then spend another day or two in Shanghai to walk around,” said Zhai. “We expected large crowds, but more people are interested in the expo than I thought.”

The most popular booth in the National Pavilion was undoubtedly the China booth. A flight simulator for the C919 aircraft, the deep-sea submarine Shenhai Yongshi, and a model of the Fuxing high-speed train were all surrounded by people taking pictures and videos.

Lu Shundi and her neighbors from Hunan Road Subdistrict in Xuhui District got up at 6am to visit the pavilion. She told Shanghai Daily that they had long been looking forward to the exhibition.

“We often go line-dancing together,” said Lu. “This expo is something so important for China and it is happening at our doorstep, how can we miss it!”

Other national booths were also packed. The Greek booth set up a small cinema where documentaries introducing the country’s landscape and traditions drew many visitors.

The Portuguese booth set up a window frame behind which was a picture of Porto Cathedral, one of the iconic sights of the country.

Pan Xianbiao, a retiree from COMAC, which developed China’s first-ever domestically designed and built narrow-body passenger jet, the C919, told Shanghai Daily he came to the convention center one day ahead so that he wouldn’t be lost today.

Legacy of a generation

“I felt so proud when I saw the C919 simulator,” he said. “Though I don’t work for the company anymore, I’m glad to see the legacy of my generation passed on.” Pan said the expo is setting a good example for the world to maintain communication.

“You have to first communicate with people before you talk about collaboration,” Pan said. “What’s better than an expo to bring so many people from so many countries together?”

By 11am, East Xujing Station on Metro Line 2, the closest to the venue, recorded 11,813 people entering and 25,869 leaving. Chen Li, station chief at East Xujing, said the number of passengers was almost double that of a normal work day.

Shanghai Metro said passenger flows again surged after 1pm as many visitors finished their tour in the National Pavilion. By 4pm, more than 73,000 people had passed through the station. 

The intangible cultural heritage booths and the NECC store also attracted many people.

Staff at the store said the most popular souvenir was a brooch in the shape of a four-leave clover, which is also the shape of the NECC.

The extended exhibition will remain until November 20.


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