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Facts about Shanghai World Expo

SHANGHAI, May 1 – China\’s business and financial centre, Shanghai, is hosting the World Expo, which opened to massive crowds on Saturday.

The following is a fact file on the event, also known as the World\’s Fair:

WHAT IS IT?: Organisers call it the Olympics of science, technology and ideas. The main attractions are country pavilions where governments promote their values, culture and achievements.

THEME: Each Expo chooses a universal theme relevant to the future of humanity. Shanghai will look at urbanisation with the theme "Better City, Better Life".

DURATION: Six months, May 1 to October 31.

PARTICIPATING COUNTRIES: 189

VISITORS: Up to 100 million are expected.

CHINESE VISITORS: 95 percent of visitors are expected to be Chinese.

BUDGET: Shanghai has spent 400 billion yuan (58.6 billion dollars) in direct and indirect investments preparing for the Expo, according to state media — more than was spent on the Beijing Olympics. But the Shanghai government only confirms its budget for the site is 28.6 billion yuan.

TICKETS: 160 yuan (23.50 dollars)

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STATE VISITS: 20 world leaders were in Shanghai for the opening ceremony, but about 100 are expected to visit throughout the Expo.

SITE: 5.3 square kilometres (two square miles), more than twice the size of Monaco.

FREQUENCY: Expos have two categories: Large-scale "Universal Expositions", like the one in Shanghai, are held every five years, but smaller "International Expositions" can take place in between.

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