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January 24, 2011

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Exhibition site will be world's biggest

SHANGHAI is to build the world's largest exhibition complex, the city's urban planners announced yesterday.

Construction in the Hongqiao commercial area will begin by the end of the year in Qingpu District, said Ye Ming, deputy director of the Bureau of Planning and Land Resources of the district. Work on the complex, covering 500,000 square meters, should take two years.

"The complex will be both above and underground and will be triple the size of the Shanghai New International Expo Center in Pudong New Area, the city's largest exhibition venue so far," Ye told Shanghai Daily.

"It will also exceed the area of the exhibition hub in Hanover, Germany, which is currently the world's largest."

The 23 billion yuan (US$3.49 billion) complex will be the core of a 1.04-square-kilometer hub jointly built by the city government and the China's Ministry of Commerce in a bid to make Shanghai the world's leading international trading center.

The hub will be to the west of Hongqiao International Airport. About 80 percent of the land will be used for the complex and the rest for logistics facilities and other amenities. The district has planned a 19-square-kilometer area that includes the hub to create a new city landmark for the exhibition economy, Ye said. Hotels and cultural and recreational zones will be built around the hub.

Three Metro lines, including Line 2 and the planned Line 20 and 23 will reach the area, said Ji Lihu, an official with the Shanghai Urban Planning and Design Research Institute, which is designing the hub.

Presently, the city has 268,000 square meters of indoor exhibition areas. Main exhibition halls include: the Shanghai New International Expo Center; Shanghai Exhibition Center; and Shanghai Everbright Convention and Exhibition Center.

Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng has said a world-class center for the exhibition industry will be set up on the Pudong side of the World Expo 2010 site. That site includes the Theme Pavilion, designed to be a permanent exhibition hall with an area of 70,000 square meters.

However, these are deemed insufficient for the city's booming exhibition industry.

Shanghai can host about 8 million square meters of exhibitions every year but the demand has been more than 10 million. This is expected to reach 15 million by 2015.

"Exhibitions are crucial to trade, but the capability of the city is not fully realized due to limited exhibition areas," Sha Hailin, deputy secretary-general of Shanghai Municipal Government has said.

The Shanghai Expo Group and the China Foreign Trade Center have agreed to set up a joint venture as the major investor in the hub.


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