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China Pavilion a major draw at 2015 World Expo

China’s pavilion at the 2015 World Expo in Milan has proved a big hit, drawing more than 3 million visitors and leading to a wealth of trade deals, especially with host country Italy. Even as the expo closed, organizers were already looking forward to the next World Expo in 2017.

Ever since China hosted the Shanghai World Expo in 2010, the country has become increasingly involved in international expos.

China was the largest exhibitor at the Milan World Expo that closed October 31 and stood out with a uniquely shaped national pavilion that resembled a billowing wheat field. The Milan organizing committee awarded the pavilion a bronze medal for its architectural design.

Wang Jinzhen, chief representative of the China Pavilion, said that the pavilion received 15 percent of the expo’s visitors, among the most of all exhibitors.

“The turnout of visitors to China Pavilion amounted to over 3 million, which exceeded our expectations. That’s fully demonstrated that people are very interested in China and in getting to know more about how China is going to develop itself in the future,” Wang said.

China ranked first among the 145 countries taking part in the expo for having an environmentally-friendly pavilion and was second in popularity behind Japan for visitors.

China’s high-profile participation in the expo also boosted pragmatic cooperation. This year’s expo focused on food and agriculture, and data shows that Italy’s food exports to China rose by the unprecedented rate of more than 30 percent in the first seven months of 2015. In addition, China’s Shandong province secured deals worth 60 million euros and reached initial agreements on investments totaling more than 200 million euros during the expo.

“I think this is just the preliminary result, and I’m pretty sure that more results are coming. I believe this expo has greatly promoted the bilateral ties between China and Europe, particularly the hosting country, Italy,” Wang said.

As the Milan World Expo wraps up, the China Pavilion’s chief representative says his team has already started to prepare for the 2017 World Expo that will be held in Kazakhstan. The focus of that expo will be on energy, and China hopes to use the gathering to promote energy cooperation along the Belt and Road.