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Shanghai in the Spotlight: World Expo Shanghai 2010

This guide is a part of the Global Resources Center's exhibit on Shanghai and World Expo 2010. It aims to provide both print and electronic resources on Shanghai, covering Shanghai's history, economy, social life, culture and architecture.

World Expo Shanghai 2010

World expos have a 159-year history. The first expo was held in London in 1851 to show off the fruits of the first Industrial Revolution. Twenty-eight countries around the world received the invitation from Queen Victoria. The early expos were largely mass-market general fairs and there was nothing regular about their scheduling. That changed in 1933 when Chicago held a world's fair named the "Century of Progress Exhibition" that documented technological inventions and innovations. Ever since, the World Expo has been held every five years and each hosting nation has picked a clear theme. World expos thus evolved from "non-sales product fairs" or "achievement exhibitions" to "thematic expos" with exhibits revolving around one main theme.

Shanghai won the bid to host the Expo in 2002. After almost a decade of hard work to upgrade its infrastructure, Shanghai unveiled its grand international show -- the World Expo 2010 -- on the evening of April 30, 2010. Here are some facts about the expo 2010:

  • Duration: May 1st to October 31st
  • Expected Visitors: 70 million
  • Size of Expo Grounds: 2.5 square miles, twice the size of Monaco and 20 times bigger than the last World Expo held in Spain's Zaragoza in 2008
  • Cost: $4.2 billion, twice what China spent at the Beijing Olympics
  • Number of Participants: 200 countries and international organizations
  • Official Theme: “Better City, Better Life”.  The theme aspires to promote better living in future urban environments for all humankind.  The theme is timely as the UN predicts that by 2010 a majority of Earth’s inhabitants will be living in urban areas.  The Expo looks at urbanization, sustainable development, and other similar areas of interest for the international community.



Official website of Expo 2010 Shanghai China at

Taiwan panorama June 2010.

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