Oh by the way: tomorrow you will be visited by the population of Boston.

Shanghai Scrap has been a bit dormant recently, what with all of the recent traveling, but that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten Expo 2010 [Shanghai World’s Fair]. The same cannot be said for the rest of the world’s media which, despite the fact that the Expo is, indisputably, the largest international gathering of the year, if not the decade, if not all time, gets almost no press (much less, respect from the press).

So, as Expo winds down, let’s not forget to observe that attendance is beginning to reach apocalyptic proportions. Below, a memo sent out earlier today to all of the pavilions in the popular Zone C of the grounds (including heavily trafficked Europe), giving them a low key head’s up that tomorrow they should be prepared to be visited by the population of Boston (or Frankfurt or Winnipeg or Abu Dhabi etc):

Subject: 转发: Visitor Prediction

Dear participants,

According to the analysis of recent visitor flow and tomorrow’s specified factors, the visitor’s attendance for Oct. 16 will be in the scale of 630—670 thousand, the median figure is 650,000 people.

The reserved group visitor number is 98243 for Oct.16 and 85539 for Oct. 17.

Hope the information will be helpful to your operation.

Best regards,

On behalf of Zone C Dept.,

Hope this is helpful!?!?

Live in China long enough, and you become accustomed to big numbers and lots of people. But this – an oh-by-the-way reminder that a mid-sized US city will be stopping by tomorrow – is on another level entirely, and I for one love it (worth noting, some pavilions were designed and built for these many visitors, and some were not – more on that subject, here). These sorts of numbers should hold, more or less, for the next 2.5 weeks, until Expo ends on the 31st. Shanghai Scrap, meanwhile, will be going Expo-a-ga-ga for the last week or so. Stay tuned.


  1. idk so much about the ‘largest international gathering’ at least, i couldnt see it when i visited the expo twice. its a show by the chinese for the chinese…

  2. I think what he means by the “largest international gathering” is that these are the most countries participating in any Expo — and look at all the staff those pavilions bring with them.

  3. “the largest international gathering of the year, if not the decade, if not all time”

    Any numbers on how many foreign visitors attended? Generally I don’t think anyone cares about this or any expo outside of China…

  4. In regard to comments 2 and 4 –

    I’m troubled by the suggestion that this Expo is somehow flawed because “it’s a show by the Chinese for the Chinese.” Or, similarly, the common put-down that “only Chinese care about this.” A couple of responses to what sounds like sour grapes to me.

    First, in matter of fact, Expo is a show by foreign entities for the Chinese. Speak to the foreign pavilion designers, and they’ll tell you – unabashedly – that they tried to design and build something that appeals to the rural Chinese who have been the major visitors to this Expo.

    Second, outside of the UN, no single site on the planet has hosted more official visits by world leaders this decade. And add into that the thousands of local government leaders – city council members to governors – and business executives who have visited the site, and you’ve got – in my estimation – a very international gathering. But if that’s not enough, the official figures show that on any given day roughly 3% of the visitors to the site are foreigners. That’s 2.1 million foreigners, conservatively speaking, never mind the hundreds of tens of thousands of foreign staff who have been a part of the Expo for several years.

    How much more international could you expect an event that – in point of fact – requires 12 hours flights from the countries with the affluent populations most likely to afford a visit.

    So – 2 million foreign visitors, billions of foreign dollars, thousands of foreign government officials and business executives … and people claim that ONLY Chinese care about this. Sorry, but I’m not buying it.

    And, pointedly: what combination of sour grapes makes someone look down upon this Expo because it’s Chinese rather than international? I have a hard time getting my mind around that.

    In response to comment 5 – I really don’t.

  5. I visited the expo with a group of children who suffer from serious illness – One of the pavillions we visited was that of Luxembourg. The people there were genuinely kind. We actually had a quality time. As for the kids and for their parents, it was clearly a special experience. I might have been skeptical & cynical about Expo before the visit to be honest and it was exhausting but I am glad I went. It is for the Chinese.. yes :)) I went to Osaka 40 years ago – I knew it was for us – especially for the children like me. and it was wonderful.

Comments are closed.