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Page last updated at 06:34 GMT, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 07:34 UK

Ticket sales open for China Expo

By Chris Hogg
BBC News, Shanghai

Chinese pavilion under construction at the World Expo site
The Chinese pavilion is the only major structure that is well under way

Tickets for next year's World Expo in Shanghai have gone on sale.

The organisers are hoping to sell more than 60m tickets for the fair, which gets underway in the eastern Chinese city on 1 May 2010.

Determined to make next year's fair a success, they say 239 countries and international organisations have confirmed their participation.

Many national pavilions, to showcase innovation and technology from around the globe, are under construction.

The city feels like one big building site at the moment.

New metro lines are being constructed, new hotels built. New parks and riverside walks added and older buildings spruced up.

On housing estates you see signs inviting people to meetings where they can be told how to behave during the six-month exhibition.

In underground rail stations there are videos appealing to passengers to show more courtesy in the months ahead.

Hitches

It has not all gone smoothly.

The United States in particular has found it difficult to raise funds from sponsors to pay for the structure it wants to build.

The organisers hope to sell about 24m tickets in China and in foreign countries before the start of the Expo next May.

They are hoping that once it is underway, almost double that number again will be sold.

As this is China, with 1.3bn potential visitors in the country, it is likely the authorities will make sure that target is reached.



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