2010 Shanghai
Expo 2010 logo
BIE-classUniversal exposition
CategoryInternational Registered Exhibition
NameExpo 2010
MottoBetter City – Better Life (城市,让生活更美好)
Area523 hectares (1,290 acres)
Coordinates31°11′39″N 121°29′11″E / 31.194118°N 121.486387°E / 31.194118; 121.486387
Awarded3 December 2002 (2002-12-03)
Opening1 May 2010 (2010-05-01)
Closure31 October 2010 (2010-10-31)
Universal expositions
PreviousExpo 2005 in Aichi
NextExpo 2015 in Milan
Specialized expositions
PreviousExpo 2008 in Zaragoza
NextExpo 2012 in Yeosu
Horticultural expositions
PreviousExpo 2006 in Chiang Mai
NextExpo 2012 in Venlo
WebsiteExpo 2010 Shanghai China at the Wayback Machine (Archived on 2012-12-18)
China 2010 Shanghai World Expo
Simplified Chinese中国2010年上海世界博览会
Traditional Chinese中國2010年上海世界博覽會
Simplified Chinese世博会
Traditional Chinese世博會

Expo 2010, officially the Expo 2010 Shanghai China, was held on both banks of the Huangpu River in Shanghai, China, from 1 May to 31 October 2010. It was a major World Expo registered by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), in the tradition of international fairs and expositions, the first since 2005.[1] The theme of the exposition was "Better City – Better Life" and signifies Shanghai's new status in the 21st century as the "next great world city".[2] The Expo emblem features the Chinese character ('world', Chinese "shì") modified to represent three people together with the 2010 date. It had the largest number of countries participating and was the most expensive Expo in the history of the world's fairs. The Shanghai World Expo was also the largest World's Fair site ever at 5.28 square km.[3]

By the end of the expo, over 73 million people had visited – a record attendance – and 246 countries and international organizations had participated.[4] On 16 October 2010, the expo set a single-day record of over 1.03 million visitors.[5]


Early participation and hosting

Main article: History of Shanghai expo

Shanghai has been one of the main cities envisioned to host the expos for some time. Many scholars have written about the possibility and made suggestions in books. Unofficial participation in fairs outside China have happened since 1851. In 1910, the Qing dynasty decided to host China's first fair with the Nanyang industrial exposition.[6]

Selection process

Shanghai scored the highest in each of the four rounds of voting at the 132nd Meeting of the Bureau of International Expositions in Prince's Palace of Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco, with Yeosu, South Korea maintaining second place. Yeosu later won the bid to host Expo 2012, a three-month specialized world expo.

132nd Meeting of the Bureau of International Expositions[7]
3 December 2002, in Prince's Palace of Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco
City Nation Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
Shanghai  China 36 38 44 54
Yeosu  South Korea 28 34 32 34
Moscow  Russia 12 10 12 -
Querétaro  Mexico 6 6 - -
Wrocław  Poland 6 - - -


Better City, Better Life, the theme of Expo 2010.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (May 2010)

In 2004, the Chinese central government established the Shanghai World Expo Organising Committee as the organization dedicated to host the event. The Organising Committee set up an Executive Committee which is responsible for the execution and management of expo affairs. Besides, the Shanghai World Expo Coordination is founded for the daily affairs of the Executive Committee.[8]

The site of the event was the Nanpu BridgeLupu Bridge region in the center of Shanghai along both sides of the Huangpu River. The area of the Expo 2010 covers 5.28 km2.[3]

After winning the bid to host the Expo in 2002, Shanghai began a monumental task to reshape the city. More than $48 billion[9] was spent for the preparation, more than the cost of cleaning up Beijing in the preparations for the Olympics in 2008. Shanghai began clearing 2.6 square kilometres along the Huangpu River; that involved moving 18,000 families and 270 factories, including the Jiang Nan Shipyard, which employs 10,000 workers.

Six new subway lines were opened between 2008 and 2010; four thousand brand new taxis were added in the month before Expo 2010 opened and the city's buildings along the river were decorated with more energy-efficient LEDs.[citation needed]

During the expo, the expo site was crowded with national pavilions, sculpture gardens, shops, a sports arena and clam-shaped performing arts centre.[citation needed]

Shanghai trained more than 1.7 million volunteers and adopted Olympic-level security measures, adding metal detectors to subway entrances and screening cars entering the city.[citation needed]

The Shanghai Expo also featured an online version of the expo grounds featuring 3D renderings of the expo grounds, and a 3D version of the pavilion interior and offerings.[citation needed]


Main article: List of participants at the Expo Shanghai 2010

The Shanghai World Expo provided an unparalleled opportunity for the tourism industry. During 2010's Spring Festival, Shanghai received 2.79 million tourists, an increase of 12 percent from the previous year, resulting in record high numbers of visitors. Overall Shanghai's tourism revenue achieved an increase of 13 percent year on year during Spring Festival, resulting in RMB 2.1 billion in total revenue.[10]

Flags of participating countries waving in front of the China pavilion.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (May 2010)

192 countries and 50 organizations registered to participate in the Shanghai World Expo, a record number for that time.[citation needed]


Over 73 million people visited Expo 2010 during the 184-day event, breaking the previous record of 64 million visitors set by Expo 70 in Osaka. Organizers had expected 70 million visitors at the start of the expo. About 5.8 percent of the visitors, or 4.25 million, were foreigners.[11]


Shanghai spent 11.964 billion yuan in operating cost to host the event, making it the most expensive World Expo ever, but the organizers still made an operating profit of more than 1 billion yuan (US$157 million) thanks to the record attendance. The total revenue was 13.014 billion yuan, including 7.36 billion yuan in admission fees and almost 4 billion yuan in sponsorship income. However, the city invested another 19.74 billion yuan to prepare and construct the 5.28 square kilometer site, exceeding the budget of 18 billion yuan.[11]

Opening ceremony

Opening ceremony fireworks finale, viewed from below Nanpu Bridge
Fireworks at the Expo site

Main article: 2010 Shanghai Expo opening ceremony

The opening ceremony was held in the evening of 30 April 2010 attended by dozens of world leaders.[12] The ceremony consisted of an indoor and outdoor component. Jackie Chan, Lang Lang, and Andrea Bocelli were among the performers in the indoor component. The event featured an outdoor display of fireworks, lasers, and dancing fountains after a performance by singers and dancers.[13][14] The outdoor ceremony was produced by David Atkins Enterprises. 6,000 LED balls were floated into the Huangpu River representing fish. Organisers called the outdoor show "the largest searchlight display in history, the largest collection of multi-coloured laser firepower ever assembled in one place, the world's largest LED screen, one of the largest dancing water fountains ever, and the "largest light show ever attempted"."[15] President Hu Jintao inaugurated the opening of the Shanghai World Expo.

Closing ceremony

The closing ceremony was held on 31 October 2010, with numerous world leaders in attendance including Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister of China, Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary, Mari Kiviniemi, Prime Minister of Finland, Hubert Ingraham, Prime Minister of Bahamas, Pakalitha Mosisili, Prime Minister of Lesotho, Ram Baran Yadav, President of Nepal and Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.[16]

Expo music


About 20,000 performances were set to be staged between 1 May and 31 October in 2010, many singers present at the expo song writing and preparation process since 2008. Performers included Alan Tam, Gigi Leung, Stephanie Cheng, Khalil Fong, Hacken Lee, Denise Ho, Hins Cheung, Vincy Chan, Philadelphia Boys Choir, National Boys Choir of Australia, Salut Salon, the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland and the Harvard Din & Tonics, and others.[17]

Theme songs


Main article: Haibao

Haibao was the mascot of the Shanghai Expo 2010. It means treasure of the sea and was based on the Chinese character for man or person, "人". Some said that Haibao resembles Gumby,[21] but the expo's secretariat said that it was an original design chosen through a competition and that they had never heard of Gumby.[22]

Expo Axis

Expo Axis at night
Expo Axis

Main article: Expo Axis

The main building – called "Expo Axis" – has the world's largest membrane construction[23] and was built by SBA (architects) and Knippers Helbig (structural engineers). The building consists of some steel-glass funnels with a 1,000 m long membrane construction. The main construction was completed at the end of 2009.[24]


Main article: Expo 2010 pavilions

Theme pavilions

There were five central theme pavilions at the Expo 2010, exploring different aspects of urban development. They were called Urban Footprints, Urban Planet, Urbanian, City Being, and Urban Future.[25]

National pavilions

Main article: Expo 2010 pavilions

National pavilions included: Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, North Korea, Norway, Oman, Pacific Pavilion, Pakistan, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam and Yemen.

Corporate pavilions

Corporate pavilions included: Aurora Pavilion, Broad Pavilion, China Railway, China State Shipbuilding Corporation Pavilion, Coca-Cola Pavilion, Cisco Pavilion, Information and Communication Pavilion, Oil Pavilion, Japanese Industry, PICC, Private Enterprises Joint Pavilion, Republic of Korea Business, SAIC-GM Pavilion, Shanghai Corporate Joint Pavilion, Space Pavilion, Space Home Pavilion, State Grid and Vanke Pavilion.[26]

International organizations

The Expo also included a pavilion for the Red Cross and Red Crescent and several others.

Urban Best Practice Area pavilions

The Urban Best Practice Area allowed cities and regions an opportunity to share experiences of improving urban living.[27] San Francisco (a Shanghai sister city) was one participant here,[27] as were Dafeng Town in Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Liverpool, London, Montreal, Rotterdam and Seoul.[28]

The Expo also included Chinese displays about Hong Kong and Ningbo.[citation needed]


The Expo introduced numerous urban best practices and concepts from all over the world which the organisers hope will be a lasting legacy for better urban life in China and around the world. It advocated for future development to focus on environmental sustainability, efficiency and diversity. The innovations and achievements of the event were summarised in the Shanghai Declaration issued by the participants of the Expo. The declaration also nominated the Shanghai Expo's closing day 31 October as "World Better Cities Day". United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated at the closing of the Expo, "Thanks to this Expo, millions of people learned about possibilities for making our cities healthier and safer, cities that better integrate nature and technology, cities that offer their citizens cleaner air and water, and better lives all around".[29]

Within Shanghai, the grounds of the former Expo site now constitute the Expo Park, including the former China Pavilion. The Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) and the Shanghai government have announced plans to construct the world's only official World Expo Museum in Shanghai, on the Puxi side of the expo site. Construction began in 2012, and the museum opened its doors on 1 May 2017.[30] More than 200 participants from Expo 2010 have donated over 30,000 exhibits to the future museum. The BIE has added into its formal requirements that all future Expo bidders shall support the new Expo Museum.[31]

The Shanghai Expo was touted by the Chinese government as yet another first-rate global scale event, similar in significance to the Beijing Olympics, which would symbolise the economic and political rise of China in the 21st century. The event would demonstrate to both the Chinese populace and foreign nations the enormous progress of China's urban development in the heart of the nation's economic hub of Shanghai. The event received extensive media coverage in the Chinese media both in the lead up and during the World Expo. According to China analyst Tom Doctoroff, "In terms of what the city was able to achieve, the Chinese were impressed. Shanghai stepped up a level in internationalization".[32] Outside China, the Expo propelled Shanghai onto magazine covers, newspaper front pages and television programmes at a time when it is laying the groundwork to become an international financial centre by 2020.[33]


A group of NGOs protested a month before the expo against the alleged displacement of 18,000 families in the Shanghai area in connection with the Expo.[34] Dissident Feng Zhenghu was detained in mid April 2010 for threatening to publicly seek redress for them in the courts.[35] According to the U.S. government-run Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Shanghai authorities used the expo as an excuse to conduct a surveillance, propaganda, and detention campaign against members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual group.[36]

Denmark controversially sent the original Little Mermaid statue from Copenhagen to the expo, putting a video replica recorded by dissident Ai Weiwei in its place.[37] Some observers criticized the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office's payment for the 9 Hong Kong undersecretaries to inspect infrastructure projects and hold discussions on city-to-city cooperation.[38] Six legislators from the pro-democracy camp boycotted an invitation to the expo by the Shanghai government because of the issue of political reform and the 2010 Hong Kong by-election.[39] The Chinese government postponed the planned visit of 1,000 Japanese youths to the expo in September because of the 2010 Senkaku boat collision incident, which Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan called regrettable.[40]

State employees were given free one-day vouchers to the expo, and according to one worker, threatened with wage cuts, in order to fulfill the target of 70 million visitors.[41] Long lines at the Germany pavilion caused visitors to shout "Nazi, Nazi" and attack workers, according to general commissioner for Germany's pavilion Dietmar Schmitz.[42][43] Free tickets to an expo show featuring K-pop group Super Junior caused a stampede that injured 100 people, which spokespersons for the expo and the Korean pavilion allegedly denied.[44]

See also


  1. ^ List of World Expos
  2. ^ "China Rules the World at Expo 2010". The Atlantic. 29 April 2010. Archived from the original on 25 January 2018. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Shanghai World Expo showcases China's soft power". Associated Press.
  4. ^ "Shanghai World Expo wins worldwide applause". Xinhua. 31 October 2010. Archived from the original on 8 November 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  5. ^ Fauna, 19 October 2010, Shanghai World Expo Sees 1+ Million Visitors In A Single Day Archived 25 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Chinasmack
  6. ^ HK.huaxia.com. "HK.huaxia.com Archived 12 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine." 南洋勸業會:南京一個世紀前的世博會. Retrieved on 8 May 2010.
  7. ^ English.peopledaily.com.cn. "English.peopledaily.com.cn Archived 24 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine." Shanghai Wins World Expo 2010 Bid. Retrieved on 8 May 2010.
  8. ^ "Institutions and Organisations". the Official EXPO website. Archived from the original on 18 March 2013.
  9. ^ "You've come a long way, baby: Shanghai finds its big feat". The Sydney Morning Herald. 1 May 2010. Archived from the original on 2 May 2010. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  10. ^ Knight Frank China Archived 2 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine Knight Frank Research, Shanghai Retail Quarterly Report, Q1 2010
  11. ^ a b "City's record-breaking Expo turns in a profit". Eastday. 1 October 2011. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011.
  12. ^ Higgins, Andrew (1 May 2010). "Chinese officials open Shanghai Expo". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  13. ^ "World Expo Aims To Woo Chinese Customers". Sky News.
  14. ^ "Shanghai marks comeback with Expo extravaganza". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2 May 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  15. ^ / China / Economy & Trade – Shanghai adds pyrotechnic power to Expo Archived 2 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Ft.com (28 July 2010). Retrieved on 30 September 2010.
  16. ^ Onlanka News – President Rajapaksa participates EXPO 2010 Closing Ceremony " Archived 3 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Onlanka.com (31 October 2010). Retrieved on 19 January 2011.
  17. ^ En.expo2010.cn. "En.expo2010.cn Archived 9 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine." Hong Kong musicians invited to write Expo tunes. Retrieved on 17 May 2010.
  18. ^ "Expo song released for 30-day countdown". Xinhua News Agency. 1 April 2010. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
  19. ^ mainichi (19 April 2010), 岡本真夜:上海万博PR曲に盗作された疑いの「そのままの君でいて」が正式決定 Archived 21 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  20. ^ "Secret Garden – New Album and Norwegian Winter Concert". SecretGarden.no. Archived from the original on 28 October 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  21. ^ "上海万博:また盗作騒ぎ マスコット「ガンビーに似てる」". The Mainichi Daily News. 24 April 2010. Archived from the original on 26 April 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2010.(Japanese)
  22. ^ "上海万博:マスコットのコピー横行 「そもそも米キャラの盗作」". The Mainichi Daily News. 24 April 2010. Archived from the original on 14 July 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2010. (Japanese)
  23. ^ Shanghai 2010 Boulevard / SBA international + Knippers Helbig Archived 3 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine. ArchDaily. Retrieved on 30 September 2010.
  24. ^ Shanghai Daily; 31 December 2009
  25. ^ Theme Pavilions_the official Website of Expo 2010 Shanghai China Archived 19 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ Pavilions Archived 25 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  27. ^ a b "Travel Business News - Asia / Pacific. - Free Online Library". Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  28. ^ "Urban Best Practices Area: A must visit before the Expo ends – Shanghaiist". Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  29. ^ Zhang Fengmin (1 November 2010). "Expo legacy will live on". Archived from the original on 1 January 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  30. ^ "World Expo Museum opens its doors". Bureau International des Expositions. Archived from the original on 6 June 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  31. ^ "City gets official Expo museum". Shanghai Daily. 25 September 2011.
  32. ^ "Expo 2010's Legacy: What Did Shanghai Gain?". 24 November 2010. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  33. ^ "China says goodbye to World Expo". The Independent. 29 October 2010. Archived from the original on 24 January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  34. ^ United Nations Watch, Joint NGO Appeal for 18,000 victims of forced evictions by 2010 Shanghai World Expo Archived 9 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, 22 July 2010.
  35. ^ Atimes.com. "Atimes.com Archived 28 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine." Shanghai Expo - a message for all. Retrieved on 2010-01-23.
  36. ^ Congressional Executive Commission on China, Annual Report Archived 5 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine, 2010.
  37. ^ Cbsnews.com. "Cbsnews.com Archived 3 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine." Little mermaid taking trip to China. Retrieved on 2010-01-23.
  38. ^ South China morning post. 4 September 2010. Political assistant's trip to mainland stirs scorn.
  39. ^ South China Morning Post. 13 April 2010.
  40. ^ South China morning post. 21 September 2010. China pulls plug on Japanese youth tour.
  41. ^ Barboza, David (2 November 2010). "Shanghai Expo Sets Record With 73 Million Visitors". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 23 February 2023.
  42. ^ Deutschenachrichten.com. "Deutschenachrichten.com Archived 9 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine." Chinese brawl, hurl Nazi insults at Germany's expo pavilion. Retrieved on 2010-01-23.
  43. ^ Chinese.rfi.fr. "Chinese.rfi.fr Archived 8 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine." 世博德国馆遭游客辱骂扬言要闭馆 . Retrieved on 2010-01-23.
  44. ^ The Standard HK. "The Standard.com Archived 29 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine." Korean crush sparks ticket rethink at expo. Retrieved on 2010-01-23.