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From our correspondent in Shanghai

Romania's green apple attracted 10,000 visitors in the first day

Luni, 3 mai 2010, 12:21 English | Business

"Marul romanesc" la Expo Shanghai 2010
Foto: HotNews.ro
10,000 people visited the Romanian pavilion on Saturday, the opening day. The public was allowed to visit it after the cutting of the red tape, at noon. Visitors were lured by the show on the stage and a restaurant with Romanian food, though the prices were not cheap.

The Japanese used little robots and technology to attract visitors, the Spanish - the power of the Spanish symbols: corridas, tomato fights, Rafael Nadal and a six-meters high baby; the Germans used grandiose settings and the French - art exhibitions: Cesanne, Van Goch, Miller, Manet, Bonnard, Gauguin and Rodin.

The Romanian organisers placed their bets on cultural events, which seem to attract the visitors to their pavilion, most of them Chinese. The shows last 15 minutes each, with a 10 minutes break. It is a challenge and sometimes the break is too short. The heat outside, nearly 30 degrees Celsius, is exhausting.

Ferdinand Nagy, Romania's councillor for the event, stressed the importance of the cultural events as a means to promote the pavilion to the mainstream public. So the shows will be put on for the entire next six months. The Romanian folklore is being presented in Shanghai, with classical music, ballet and theatre to follow. Bulandra Theatre and The Mask Theatre will hold representing in Greenopolis. One of their shows will be scheduled during the two weeks when Bucharest will be promoted in Shanghai. Tandarica and the 10 poles orchestra will also be present at the Expo.

Expo 2010 Chinese organisers asked for some Romanian artists names to be included in a bigger show, featuring artists from the participating countries. Romania will be represented by Danian Draghici with a new project - Balkan Jazz, and Grigore Lese, who got an award last year in Shanghai.

The restaurant selling Romanian food at the exhibition is, indeed, a point of attraction, despite the prices. In the first day, 100 visitors were curious enough to taste cabbage rolls with "mamaliguta" and other Romanian traditional food. "Mititeii" are also on the menu. Even if the number of clients does not seem significant, the restaurant opened around 4 pm, after the cocktail.

The business plan

The cultural and gastronomic events are there to introduce Romania to visitors. The economic events are delayed. The central Romanian authorities are discouraged by volcanic ash clouds and their economic mission was postponed for June. But businessmen are more active. The Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) sealed a partnership with Romania's Chamber of Commerce and Industry which sees a business week in the Shanghai in September.

Moreover, the country Chambers of Commerce will have their own economic missions. 14 counties have already expressed their interest to sent reps to Shanghai to meet Chinese business people

Te Romanian-Chinese business Chamber from Shanghai will help make these intentions more popular and will set up a group of Chinese business people that are going to meet Romanian counterparts.

Commissioner Ferdinand Nagy hopes that these economic missions will also include local authorities, so that discussions with Chinese investors can touch regional infrastructure, a sector for which the Chinese have already stated their interest.

Ex-minister Ovidiu Szilaghi will lead an economic delegation in Shanghai the end of May. The costs of such delegations are not a burden, Nagy claims: one week in Shanghai, including hotels and return flights costs around 2-3000 euros. For a self-respecting company, this sum is manageable even during crisis, he believes.

Romania decided to use the 600 free tickets that the Chinese authorities gave the Romanian pavilions for business representatives. This goes to prove that the Romanians expect great interest from the business environment. "The pavilion is starting to work", Nagy said in the second exhibition day.

But there are still things to be done. Some countries are still working on their pavilions. It's not Romania's case, though. The challenge for the team in Bucharest was to solve the border formalities, quite bureaucratic and slow. The Romanian drinks were delayed at the border because Chinese labels had to be stuck on them. In the same situation are 4000 albums on Romania - meant to be offered to visitors at the pavilion (officials, business people, but not to the large public) - and the China artefacts from Corund.

"I am against leaflets, because they make it to the first garbage bin. I'm for gadgets, for something that people have to keep", Nagy says. Something in the shape of an apple, he adds. But the gadgets lack and they do not know for how long.

The Romanian organisers have not managed to stage not even the public auction for buying them. It was not even decided if there will be a public auction or a designation. Nagy refused to comment on the reasons why this was not possible so far and if it will happen by the end of the exhibition. The Boc Cabinet decided to cut public spending and the budget for promotions was affected as well.


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