So the big question I’m getting asked more and more now is ‘Will the Chinese go to the Shanghai World Expo 2010?’ but the real question is ‘Do the real Chinese actually care about it? Fortunately the powers to be do – they have a lot on the line from an international standpoint. It is reflected in the amount of road works going on right now all across Shanghai, the media spend on outdoor billboards consumed with Expo promotional messages and the growing number of tender opportunities that are apparent.
The investment is large and China have a great ability in showing the world what a progressive country they can be, anyone who viewed the Beijing opening and closing ceremonies in 2008 would appreciate that. Even though, I have still been on the fence but the more I think about it the more I feel, right or wrong that simply the bulk of the local population (including Shanghai) won’t go and potentially couldn’t care less about it at all.
The key factors I believe the locals won’t embrace the Shanghai EXPO 2010 is simply:
Overindulgence and a basic need of survival
Overindulgence is something most of us do on an hourly basis. Simply sipping that cup of latte or the extra cardio work out would constitute an expression of overindulgence to over 95% of China’s population. The fact is they live (now more than ever) on a needs based lifestyle. To me, they simply do what is absolutely required of them to complete their days – overspending on gifts, food and more personal luxuries are not an option. What is popular is saving what you have and enjoying basic tings with your family.
They just don’t need to go to the Expo and they don’t see the point.
And to be honest I don’t blame them at all. Given the repercussions that followed the Mao period of the 1960’s, this generation of baby boomers are holding on to what ‘ever’ they have. Things were taken away and equalised. Any sign of luxury, overindulgence or simply ‘having more’ was forbidden and punished.
The next generation however are another story – but we are still at least two decades away before the cultural trend is exposed across a larger piece of the population in China. In addition this ‘younger’ more aggressive, urban, trend setting group seem to be a lot more into their own personal interests rather than pursue cultural and international agendas.
Even so I still believe the traffic will flock the Expo 2010. The local government have a lot riding on this so Im certain every school within a 300km radius will attend, many foreigners will be curious and the privileged guests will make a significant number.