Nationwide Jubilation: The Road to a Successful Bid

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Chapter 4
Nationwide Jubilation: The Road to a Successful Bid

1. A Long-Cherished Wish

2. A Painstaking Journey

3. Background Data: Procedures for the Bid for World Expo

The world expo IS a non-trade gathering of advanced concepts, economic, technological, and cultural achievements. The purpose is to promote economic, cultural, and technological exchange among participating countries, to enable them to elevate their international standing and reputation through presenting their own images and achievements, and to advance social prosperity and progress.

Many scientific inventions and new technologies have been widely applied following their exhibition at expos. This testifies to a famous saying: “Everything starts from the World Expo!”

Therefore, we can say that the 2010 Shanghai World Expo will be an excellent stage for China to showcase to the rest of the world its achievements in social and economic development. The expo will last for six months (184 days from May 1 to October 31, 2010). To a large extent, the expo will promote development in the host country and the surrounding region, as it will be an opportunity for them to display their strengths in various aspects and further expand their opening-up to the outside world.

The Shanghai World Expo will not only bring about a ripple effect on the economy, tourism, culture, and other related sectors in the Yangtze River Delta, it will also make a positive contribution to the development of China's economy.

Shanghai will make good use of this expo to promote cooperation with other provinces, cities, and regions in China, so as to achieve the multi-win effect through resource sharing and coordinated development.

It is exactly because of the considerable influence and wonderful opportunity that the World Expo will bring about, that China put in such a great effort in the contest to host the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai.

1. A Long-Cherished Wish

Looking back, we can see that the people of Shanghai have nurtured a dream of hosting the World Expo for many years.

More than 20 years ago, in September 1984, when Wang Zhen, a top Chinese leader, met the investigation group of Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan, the Japanese guests expressed their willingness to help China hold the World Expo in Shanghai. Later, the investigation group visited Shanghai and exchanged views with Ye Gongqi, the Deputy Mayor of Shanghai, on hosting the World Expo in the city. Mayor Wang Daohan also supported this proposal.

On April 12, 1985, the Shanghai Municipal Government convened a working conference. It was decided that the Shanghai Municipal Science Commission should organize a feasibility study on Shanghai's hosting of the 1989 World Expo. In September 1985, the study was completed. In the study report, five sites—East Minhang, West Minhang, Pudong Huamu, Caohejing, and Jiading—were proposed for holding the World Expo. Pudong was considered the best venue after further discussion. However, due to various reasons, there was no further development following this.

In July 1988, Pudong formed the Joint Consultative Group to study the feasibility of hosting the World Expo in Shanghai in 1994. This time, the following three aspects were covered in the study:

With regards to the theme, proposals included Cultural and Technological Exchange Between the East and West, For a Better Future of Mankind, and Cooperation, Innovation, and Moving toward the 21st century.

With regards to the scale, the total land area would have been 1.3 square kilometers and the duration of the exhibition would have been nine months (March to November 1994). The total number of attendees would have been limited to 40 million, with a daily average of 15,000 and 300,000 at its peak.

With regards to the potential economic benefits, an estimated revenue of RMB 1.05 billion would have been generated, and the expenditure incurred RMB 1.03 billion. There would have been a balance in revenue and expenditure.

In February 1993, the Shanghai Municipal Planning Commission started another project to study the feasibility of hosting the World Expo in 1999. The scope covered in the research is as follows:

Chosen Site: Pudong Huamu area.

Scale: Besides the exhibition halls, the land area would also include car parks, roads, greenbelts, water surfaces, squares, and recreational places, totaling approximately 1.5 square kilometers. In addition, another 1.5 square kilometers would be allocated for supporting facilities and development. The total land area was to be three square kilometers.

Visitors: Approximately 54 million, with a daily average of 200,000, and about six million foreign visitors.

Investment: RMB 2 billion for purchasing land in the early stages, RMB 3 billion as construction cost, RMB 3 billion for peripheral buildings construction, RMB 400 million as unexpected cost, totaling RMB 8.4 billion.

Revenue: Net revenue from sales of peripheral buildings: RMB 6 billion; lease of one square kilometer of land in exhibition area: RMB 2 billion; revenue from admission tickets: RMB 1 billion; advertisements, TV relaying, and right of monopoly: RMB 500 million; sales of theme halls and similar facilities: RMB 500 million; totaling RMB 10 billion.

At the end of 1998, top leaders of Shanghai Municipal Government instructed the Shanghai Municipal Foreign Economic and Trade Commission to conduct research on the bid for the World Expo 2010. At the end of 1999, the commission submitted a report titled “The Situation Concerning Various Cities' Bid for Hosting Comprehensive World Expositions in 2010.” On February 12, Party Secretary Huang Ju and Mayor Xu Kuangdi gave the instruction to bid for the World Expo 2010. Hence started the preparation for bidding for the World Expo 2010.

On May 31, the Municipal Foreign Economic and Trade Commission presented a preliminary report with regards to the bid for the World Expo 2010 at the 34th Standing Congress of the Municipal Government. A Leading Group was formed to guide the Bid for Shanghai World Expo 2010, which was composed of Deputy Mayors Jiang Yiren and Zhou Yupeng, and others.

On July 21, the Shanghai Municipal Government submitted an application to the State Council for approval on the bidding. The application was approved on November 18.

On December 8, Liu Fugui, the Chinese Government's chief delegate to the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE), declared at the 126th BIE Congress that the Chinese Government would support Shanghai in its bid for the World Expo 2010. The dream of Shanghai bidding for the World Expo had finally come true. Shanghai had worked diligently and persistently with regard to the bid for the World Expo 2010. This never-say-die attitude would enable it to move step by step toward success.

Liu Fugui conveyed a clear message to the world: hosting the World Expo is not a privilege enjoyed by developed countries alone, and developing countries can also have an opportunity. Shanghai is on the road toward hosting the World Expo, and China is making progress. Other developing countries will be encouraged and begin exploring new possibilities.

From then on, Shanghai began its three-year bid for the expo under the guidance of the Central Government.

2. A Painstaking Journey

Having made the decision to bid for the World Expo, Shanghai was under no illusions about the difficult tasks that lay ahead in organizing such a mammoth event. However, the rewards that would result at the end of all endeavors were more than enough to encourage the city to advance toward the World Expo 2010.

A series of legal procedures had to be completed to bid for the World Expo. On May 2, 2001, the Chinese ambassador to France, Wu Jianmin, on behalf of the Chinese Government, submitted the Letter of Bid for World Expo 2010 signed by Tang Jiaxuan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to the BIE. China was the first country to submit the letter. On January 30, 2002, Wu Jianmin submitted the Report for Bidding for World Expo 2010 to the BIE on behalf of the Chinese Government. China was also the first country to do so. The three-volume report consisted of 150,000 words and more than 400 pictures. It was jointly written by over 200 officials and scholars from the relevant departments of the Central Government and the Shanghai Municipal Government over a period of eight months.

The first volume was the main text, consisting of systematic answers and comprehensive illustrations prepared in response to the 12 major categories of questions listed by the BIE. The second volume was a report on the planning and design of the exhibition halls, including a brief introduction of the area around the selected site, design concept, master plan, main halls, design of landmark buildings, and so on. The third volume was a detailed description of the commitment of related ministries, commissions, and Offices of the Central Government. There was also a letter of guarantee. After assessing China's report of the bid for the World Expo, the BIE concluded that the plan was feasible, the quality was outstanding, and a great World Expo would come out of it.

From March 11–16, 2002, the BIE conducted a field study on the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. China was the first country to be studied among the five bidding countries (China, Russia, Korea, Mexico, and Poland). The BIE was very satisfied with the study, believing that China had given a well-prepared and most detailed presentation, China and Shanghai had already reached a high professional standard, and everything would be possible in Shanghai. The BIE was also impressed by the Chinese government and the people's “unparalleled, immense support” for the bid.

On June 6, 2001, the bid for the World Expo began. Representatives from China, Korea, and Russia were present at the 129th BIE Delegate Conference to compete for the right to host the bid for 2010.

On November 30, 2001, the BIE held the 130th Delegate Conference at which six countries—China, Russia, Korea, Poland, Mexico, and Argentina—competed with one another. The mayor of Shanghai, Xu Kuangdi, led the delegation to this meeting. William Keller, honorary citizen of Shanghai, and General Manager of Roche China Ltd., who had lived in Shanghai for seven years, also delivered a speech. Thereafter, the Chinese delegation, under the leadership of Li Lanqing, Vice Premier of the State Council, and Wu Yi, State Councilor, made more presentations. After the meeting, Gilles Noghes, President of the BIE, told the Chinese delegation that their speech was excellent: “You were the last to address, but you shot right to the peak with your speech.”

Of all the preparation work carried out, the most crucial one was to win the votes of BIE delegates. In the eyes of those working on this project, “Just as no vote is completely assured, no vote is impossible to obtain.” With perseverance, determination, tenacity, and a meticulous attitude, through various ways and avenues, the Chinese delegation accomplished the unimaginable task and moved toward success.

At the same time, Jiang Zemin, Zhu Rongji, and other national leaders also lobbied for China's bid on many diplomatic occasions. When receiving foreign guests, the Shanghai municipal leaders also took every opportunity to introduce China's stance on the bid and the strengths of Shanghai in hosting the expo so as to obtain the understanding and support of these guests. At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting held in Mexico in 2002, President Jiang Zemin won over Indonesia which originally supported another country. In September 2002, Premier Zhu Rongji met the President and Secretary-General of the BIE in France. When the BIE held its 131st congress, Xu Shaoshi, Vice Secretary-General of the State Council, suddenly fell ill in France. While still recovering back in China, he continued to work for the National Committee of Bidding for the World Expo. Considering that representatives from 66 of the 89 BIE member states reside in France, the committee promptly decided to post a representative in France starting from January 2002 to win the support of these countries. It was an unprecedented decision, which BIE Secretary-General Vincente Gonzalez Loscertales applauded.

In order to ensure that Beijing succeeded in its bid to host the Olympic Games, high-level diplomatic lobbying for the World Expo bid was not carried out in full force until after the right to host the Olympics was decided on July 13, 2001.

Shanghai also invited decision-makers or important people of various BIE member countries to visit Shanghai. Altogether, the city hosted 126 groups of visitors from 70 member countries. At the same time, ambassadors of 28 BIE member countries to China were also invited to visit Shanghai. After a visit to Shanghai, the delegation from the Republic of Mauritania praised China's special style of work which enabled them to see the bright prospects of holding the expo in the city.

The effort to publicize the bid for the World Expo had also seen notable results. For more than three years, Chinese media at different levels and overseas media had carried or broadcast more than 11,000 news stories, special topics, special columns, and documentaries on Shanghai's bid. From 2000 onwards, the news media of Shanghai used special columns, special topics, and special editions to bring the expo to public attention. Within a period of three years, 51 kinds or more than 220,000 copies of leaflets, brochures, post cards, picture albums, periodicals, and CDs on World Expo were produced.

From April 2002, the Office of the Bid for World Expo published special reports about China's bid for World Expo in such influential Western media as The International Herald Tribune, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN. In addition, it gathered more than 30 overseas media organizations, including SKY TV from Europe, The Times from the U.K., Le Monde from France, News Daily from Iran, EL Mundo from Spain, and Phoenix TV from Hong Kong, to conduct interviews in Shanghai. This had played an important part in obtaining support from overseas.

Diligence and commitment were eventually rewarded with success. Shanghai's success in winning the bid was announced at the 132nd BIE Member Country Congress held in Monaco on December 3, 2002. China was overwhelmed with joy. The people who worked so hard for more than three years for the bid hugged and congratulated each other, with tears of joy in their eyes. This once-in-a-lifetime event would be remembered forever.

Now the Organizing Committee and the Executive Committee for the 2010 World Expo has been formed. Preparations for the expo have progressed steadily in good order under the guidance of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination. It is widely believed that the 2010 Shanghai World Expo will be a successful and memorable event.

3. Background Data: Procedures for the Bid for World Expo

Application: According to the regulations of the BIE, any country interested in hosting the World Expo shall submit a formal application and pay 10% of the registration fee to the BIE no earlier than nine years prior to the date of hosting. The letter of application should include the dates of the opening and closing ceremonies, the theme, as well as the legal status of the organizing committee. The BIE will inform its member countries of the application, and request them to decide if they intend to participate in the bid within six months from the date of receipt of the notice.

Presentation: Twice a year at the BIE Congress, the bidding country needs to give presentations about its comparative advantages and reasons for bidding so as to obtain the support of the voting countries.

Investigation: Six months after submitting the preliminary application, the Chairman of the BIE Executive Committee will organize an investigation according to the regulations, so as to ensure the feasibility of the application. The investigation will be chaired by a vice chairman of the BIE. Some delegates, experts, and the Secretary-General will also participate. All expenditures will be borne by the bidding country. The items of investigation include: theme and definition, dates of opening ceremony and duration, venue and land area (total land area, the maximum and minimum area that can be allocated to various exhibitors), expected visitorship, financial feasibility and measures of financial guarantee, the methods of the bidding country for calculating exhibition costs, and allocating financial and material resources (so as to lower the costs of participating countries), policy support and related measures for participating countries, and the attitudes of the government and various organizations that are interested in participating.

Voting: If the preparatory work of the bidding country wins the support of the investigation team, the plenary session will start the selection process eight years prior to the date of hosting as per normal rules. If there is more than one bidding country, the session will vote by ballot.

If a country obtains two-thirds of the votes for its application after the first round of voting, the country will win the right to hold the World Expo. If no applicant obtains two-thirds of the votes, another round of voting will be conducted. In every round of voting, the country receiving the least votes will be eliminated. Following this, the host country will be determined according to the principle of two-thirds of the votes. In the event that there are only two countries competing, the host country will be determined according to the principle of the majority vote.

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Nationwide Jubilation: The Road to a Successful Bid

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Nationwide Jubilation: The Road to a Successful Bid