Liverpool’s Shanghai Expo pavilion bringing in three times as many visitors as its rivals

May 18th, 2010

12children-enjoy-the-liverpool-pavilionLiverpool’s pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai is beating its competitor cities with three times the number of visitors in the opening days.

On average, 1,800 to 2,000 people are calling at the stand each day, compared to around 400 visiting the likes of Venice and Pondicherry.

The £1.1m stand, which opened 10 days ago, combines a video greeting from Sir Paul McCartney, football, maritime and a 3D film of a Chinese dragon and a Liver Bird flying over the North West.

The showpiece is the film, which left Chinese crowds in awe.

Lindsay Ashworth, development director of main sponsor Peel Holdings, said: “I think it is fantastic. I could never decide whether it was going to work or not.

“But people come in here and it makes them feel good.”

He said the penalty shootout feature was a hit with Chinese businessmen.

Mr Ashworth said: “Liverpool is seen as a place moving forward.

“Of course we have The Beatles on show here, who are part of the history. But this pavilion shows Liverpool has a future.”

Peel went to Shanghai to seek investment in projects such as the Liverpool and Wirral Waters schemes.

Liverpool will exhibit at the World Expo, known as the “business Olympics”, for its six-month duration.

Clive Drinkwater, North West director of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), who was holding a reception at the UK pavilion last night, said: “I went round the other pavilions and they are not a patch on Liverpool. The pavilion is teaching people things they did not know.”

He said the UKTI’s intention was to promote North West manufacturers selling their products in China.

He added: “There is a growing middle class and if you spend time here you will see there is conspicuous consumption. They want to spend on luxury goods.”

Mr Drinkwater said the key to breaking into China is Liverpool’s twin city Shanghai, the business capital of the country.

Luo He Qing, from the Shanghai Foreign Investment Development Board, said the opportunity for Liverpool to tap into his city was huge.

He said: “Gradually more and more local enterprises are willing to invest in other areas and parts of the world like Liverpool.

“We send our heartfelt thanks to Liverpool for coming to the World Expo. Its presence is most welcome.

“It is also a great opportunity for us to let more people know about Shanghai.

“Liverpool is very familiar to many in Shanghai because of Liverpool FC.”

An independent report forecast Expo’s benefit to Merseyside would be £5.5m to £47.5m over the next 10 years, from an increase in Chinese tourists and students coming to Liverpool, an uplift in exports and direct foreign investment.

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