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Proud to wear a badge

BADGES are the most sought-after items at the World Expo with pavilion staff, volunteers and visitors keen to collect and exchange them.

Some see collecting and exchanging badges as a good way to communicate and create new friendships, others see a business opportunity.

Zhejiang Ruyi Gifts Co Ltd, based in Wenzhou, a coastal city in east China's Zhejiang Province, is one of the major badge manufacturers. The company, a licensed Expo dealer, designed 301 sets of badges, which embrace images of all the pavilions at the Expo site.

Many pavilions offered their own badges. The Coca Cola Pavilion issued 42 types of commemorative badges.

Kamon Tatsuo at the Japanese Industry Pavilion has collected more than 475 badges produced to commemorate the Shanghai World Expo since the event began on May 1.

The 51-year-old Japanese singer's collection ranges from different images of Haibao, the Expo mascot, to pins issued by the pavilions.

He said his collection dated back to 1970 when the World Expo was held in Osaka, Japan.

As a student in sixth grade at a primary school in his hometown, he competed with a classmate to see who could collect the most badges. "I got 64 badges, but Ken got 101," Tatsuo said.

Thirty-five years later, he added 203 badges at the World Expo in Aichi, Japan.

"I love all of the badges that I've collected in Shanghai. My goal is to collect 500 badges," Tatsuo told Xinhua news agency.

Collecting for itself is not the only purpose, he said.

Through collecting badges, communication with people from every corner of the world would be enhanced and information and feelings exchanged, he added.

With more than 300 badges pinned on their T-shirts, Xia Yong and Wan Shijie from Zhejiang Province attract much attention and other visitors are keen to have their pictures taken with them.

But the collecting craze has also attracted scalpers. A badge from the Germany Pavilion was offered online at 3,000 yuan (US$441) and others have price tags as high as 10,000 yuan.

To fight the scalpers, Denmark's Odense Pavilion decided to distribute 500 badges free each day since late July. As a result, the badges don't sell online.

About 1,000 different badges issued by Expo organizers and participants can be found for sale on the Internet.


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