Shanghai keeps five foreign Expo pavilions

Authorities in China's commercial hub Shanghai plan to keep five foreign pavilions from this year's World Expo that were popular with visitors as public landmarks, local media reported Friday.

The pavilions of France, Italy, Russia, Spain and Saudi Arabia have been donated to the city and will soon reopen to the public, the Oriental Morning Post reported, citing Expo officials.

They could remain in place for up to 50 years, the report said.

Organisers have not yet decided how the buildings will be used, but one suggestion is that they be converted into art studios, the paper said, citing Ding Hao, a vice-director of the Shanghai World Expo coordination bureau.

The majority of structures built for a World Expo are temporary and dismantled at the end of the event. Notable exceptions include the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Space Needle in Seattle.

China's national pavilion from this year's Expo, which drew more than 73 million people during its six-month May-October run, is to be maintained as well. It reopened to the public on December 1.