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November 13, 2009

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World Expo now online with virtual visitor site

VISITORS can now tour the 2010 World Expo Shanghai site and many of the event's pavilions with a simple mouse click from the comfort of their own homes.

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan launched the Expo Online Website - - at the Seventh World Expo International Forum yesterday in Beijing.

The forum brought together 300 representatives of Chinese provinces and World Expo participants for continuing discussions on the urban challenges they face.

For now, only people who read Chinese will be able to enjoy the Website. An English-language version will be launched at the beginning of next year.

Visitors to the site can take a virtual tour of about 50 pavilions now, including the five theme pavilions, where the organizer will elaborate on the "Better City, Better Life" Expo theme.

Other pavilions will be opened gradually on the Website, which will be updated every two weeks.

So far, 217 participants have agreed to put their displays online, accounting for 90 percent of the total.

A highlight of Expo Online is the "Future City" section, which will be similar to online role-playing games when it opens in January. Visitors will be able to create a cartoon character and take it for a tour of the Expo site.

After the 184-day Expo starts on May 1, online visitors will also be able to watch videos of performances that are part of the event.

Visitors can also communicate with others in an online community.

They can share their experiences and provide tips for other Expo Online users as well as publish their photos and videos.

Expo Online is a "very good initiative" that can promote the Shanghai event worldwide, said Jean-Pierre Lafon, president of the Bureau of International Expositions, the governing body for World Expos.

Expo Online will attract more visitors to the Shanghai event and allow those who can't visit in person to enjoy the science and technology showcase from their homes, said Vicente Loscertales, secretary general of the BIE.

The Website will also be available after the 2010 event. The organizer aims to make the event an "Expo that never dies."

The outfitting of the more than 200 pavilions at the Shanghai Expo will be finished by March, Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng told the forum.


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