Will Shanghai Benefit from the World Expo in the Long-Term?

As Shanghai prepares to host the World Expo beginning next month, the aftertaste of over-investment in Beijing's 2008 Summer Olympics and that event's now-empty venues is causing some to question the wisdom of the Expo and its long-term impact.
April 20, 2010, 10am PDT | Nate Berg
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Many of the extravagant venues built for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing are now sitting unused, and many there say they are likely to end up costing the government much more money in the future.

"So far, the huge maintenance costs of those venues is being sustained by Chinese tourists, who pay for tickets to visit them and relive a bit of China's glory. But officials said interest is beginning to wane.

Perhaps mindful of that history, authorities in Shanghai decided that almost all the World Expo pavilions will be dismantled immediately after the fair. The site, an old industrial area that once housed a steel plant and scrap yard, will be used for exhibitions and conferences, a business sector this city is still trying to develop.

Also, officials and Shanghai residents say, the costly infrastructure improvements will continue to benefit locals long after the fair has closed down."

This year's World Expo will be the most expensive in history. Though organizers are hoping to avoid repeating the mistakes of the Beijing Olympics, some worry it may be too late.

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Published on Monday, April 19, 2010 in The Washington Post
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