This thing is no joke. With 189 countries participating, the Shanghai World Expo is officially the biggest in history. While world fairs have typically been rather lackluster in past years, China’s is markedly grand, with each country pouring millions of dollars to create its own pavilion. Anyone who has done business in China knows that the Chinese are all about showing respect and building guanxi or relationship. In other words, any country that is serious about doing business with China must being willing to sink some serious dough into the Shanghai Expo.
For example, the US blew a whopping $61 million on its USA Pavilion, the French are displaying seven “national treasures,” including works by Manet and Van Gogh, and Saudi Arabia sank $164 million for its oil-tanker-inspired pavilion. In fact, Hilary Clinton spent the last year rallying US companies like PepsiCo, General Electric and Chevron to invest in the event. The implications are pretty clear: the more badass your contribution, the more you signify that you care about your relationship with China.
The pictures of each country’s pavilion are pretty stunning. My favorite is the British “Seed Cathedral,” constructed of 60,000 transparent rods, each rod containing a different kind of plant seed. Isn’t it so cool?
Check out more pictures of China’s world’s fair here.