Shanghai Expo takes publicity push into real and virtual worlds

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As the countdown to World Expo 2010 Shanghai continues to wind down, organizers are drumming up support for the event in the real world -- and in the cyberworld.

(Relaxnews) -

As the countdown to World Expo 2010 Shanghai continues to wind down, organizers are drumming up support for the event in the real world - and in the cyberworld.

The Shanghai Expo - which will run from May 1 to October 31 - has taken its road show into Belgium this week, with a photo exhibition featuring images of all the pavilions being staged at the Antwerp City Hall.

And organizers have also announced they will take an Expo-themed float to the famous Pasadena Rose Parade in California on New Year's Day - an event that attracts more than one million spectators itself - in an effort to lure more American visitors to next year's gathering in China.

The Americans were among the last of 242 nations and international organizations to sign on to World Expo, with a lack of commercial support forcing the likes of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to hit the campaign trail.

She was in Shanghai last week at the site of the US pavilion which has been completed but still needs to find around US$20 million (€13.4 million) of its US$61 million (€41 million) operational budget.

According to US law, the expo pavilion cannot receive any funding from government and so Clinton has been pleading with the corporate sector to open their wallets.

Organizers of the Shanghai Expo are expecting 70 million visitors to stream through the gates of the event and are hoping around half of those will come from overseas, including a significant proportion from the US.

They also see the cyberworld as a main way to attract people to their event - even if they cannot actually make it to Shanghai.

The United Kingdom has become the latest nation to launch an official website for its pavilion (http://www.ukshanghaiexpo.com). The site will track the development of the pavilion as well as provide information on British culture and study and employment opportunities in the UK.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai event's own Expo Online facility is expected to be fully operational by January, when an-English language version will also be launched.

The site features a guided tour of all Expo facilities - hosted by Haibo, the event's official mascot, and designed for those who can not make it to the event in person - and also allows visitors to interact with each other in an online game that poses questions, sets tasks and even, according to organizers, allows them to "build a virtual metropolis from their collective imagination.''

World Expo 2010 Shanghai

May 01-October 31, 2010

Website: http://en.expo2010.cn

MS

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