The 2010 World Exposition in Shanghai will be the first registered one in a developing country. Officially known as “Expo Shanghai 2010,” it will last 184 days and provide China an opportunity to show off its remarkable economic growth. The expo will also give foreign nations and companies a chance to further develop business partnerships with China and Chinese companies. This is the sixth in an ongoing series that will look at the upcoming expo, from country pavilions to trade development. In this article, we take a look at the Taiwan Pavilion.
By Jie Gong
SHANGHAI, Sept. 21 – Since receiving the invitation only about four months ago, Taiwan is ready to participate in its first World Expo in four decades. The organizer of Taiwan’s participation and the contractor, the Taipei World Trade Center, signed its contract of participation with the Shanghai Expo organizer on July 21.
The Taiwan Pavilion broke ground on August 17 despite Taiwan’s heavy losses from Typhoon Morakot which brought the island’s the worst flood in half a century. Chairman of the TWTC, Chih Kang Wang, said that the rescue and relief work would not affect private fundraising for the pavilion across the island. The estimated budget for building the pavilion reached RMB200 million, or US$29.28 million.
Due to its unofficial status, TWTC will rely on donation from Taiwanese companies to finance the construction. TWTC has also received construction materials like glass, steel and concrete from various donor companies.
At first glance, the 658‐square‐meter pavilion will resemble a transparent cube housing a 12‐meter‐wide ball in its center, but it has rich cultural meanings. The shape of the pavilion symbolizes a lantern named Kong Ming, a popular emblem of health and happiness in traditional Taiwanese culture. The pavilion will be made of steel and glass, with its facade decorated with the ridge lines of Taiwan’s mountains.
The globe will be suspended over a pool of water collected from Taiwan’s Sun Moon Lake. The chief designer of the pavilion is C. Y. Lee, famous for also designing one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, the Taipei 101. Though being the last to start construction so far, the pavilion is expected to attract about one million visitors upon its completion in March next year.
There will be a dome theater in the pavilion showcasing high‐tech advancement, urban development and unique cultures of the minorities in Taiwan. Additionally, visitors will have the opportunity to light and fly thousands of virtual lanterns, which will appear on the curtain wall of the theater. This amazing view can also be seen from outside the pavilion through its transparent outer wall.
The pavilion theme “Mountain, Water, Heart and Lantern” will be intertwined with exhibits designed to echo the Shanghai Expo theme, “Better City, Better Life.” The location of the pavilion is a spotlight as well because it will situated opposite the China Pavilion and adjacent to the Expo Axis, the main building of the Shanghai Expo.
The city of Ningbo is currently negotiating with Taiwanese organizers to move the pavilion to Xikou after the Expo. Xikou is a small county near Ningbo and home to Chiang Kai‐shek, a political and military leader of Taiwan from 1949 to 1975.
Besides the pavilion, Taiwan will have several other exhibits on display during the Expo. Two exhibits on urban wireless connection and recycling will appear in the Urban Best Practices Area, a platform for the exhibition of creative innovations that can improve urban life quality. The AURORA Group, a Taiwanese company specializing in office supplies, will build a corporate pavilion, marking itself the first Taiwanese company to build its own pavilion in the 160‐year history of the World Expo.
Taiwan’s efforts to promote itself during the event reflects improving diplomatic relations with China. Official data revealed that its utilized investment in mainland China reached US$1.9 billion in 2008 alone, which accounted for 2.1 percent of the total foreign investment in the mainland and is twelve times more than the rate two decades ago.
In the same year, imports from Taiwan amounted to US$103.34 billion or 9.1 percent of the mainland’s total imports. Cross‐strait traveling also saw a vibrant growth. In 2008, 4.4 million Taiwanese traveled went to the mainland compared to 446, 000 two decades ago.
In addition, Taiwan opened to mainland tourists in July 2008 and since then half a million mainland tourists have visited the island as of September 2009.
During the half‐year exhibition, the Shanghai Expo is expected to attract over 70 million visitors from home and abroad with 1.5 million coming from Taiwan.
The complete Shanghai Expo 2010 series