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What is the China International Import Expo and how will it affect your life

Economic stimulus, tightened security and a global influx of people and products

Photograph: courtesy Zhang Kaiyv via Unsplash
We know you don't need reminding, but just in case: Shanghai is hosting the first-of-its-kind China International Import Expo (CIIE) this week, bringing a global economic focus to the country and, according to Xinhua, an expected 300,000 visitors from over 130 countries. Or, if you don't care about any of that stuff, it's why you've seen a lot more police around lately, why your VPN may have been acting up and why a lot of nightclubs are shut this week. We've said it once, and we'll say it again: carry your passports/ID cards wherever you go. And otherwise, here's what you might like to know about this week's expo and how it's gonna affect us here in Shanghai.

The expo

From today (Monday 5) through Saturday 10 November, it's all eyes on China as it leverages its position as the world's second largest importer. According to Xinhua, CIIE is attracting around 3,000 companies from over 100 countries to showcase their products and commodities at the National Exhibition and Convention Center, along with over 160,000 buyers of 80,000 companies. Even Xi Jinping is in town.

Fun Expo fact: Beating out a list of highly innovative and expensive robotic and aeronautic machinery, the biggest item showcased at this expo will be a 200-ton milling machine arriving from Germany with a price tag of 2.6 million EUR, according to The Telegraph.

What the Expo means for you this week...


There has been a somewhat irregularly implemented holiday introduced, meaning you may well be off work today and tomorrow (Tue 6), but probably had to work last Saturday and will also have to this coming Sunday 11.

In terms of transport, there have been 100 buses added to the city's fleet with an extra eight routes servicing the Shanghai National Expo Center, according to Xinhua. And as for trains, passengers coming into Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai South Railway Station and Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station can expect heightened security, with more checking stations and 800 additional police from other provinces.

To aid the inevitable lost and confused masses, there will be 5,000 uniformed volunteers pointing visitors in the right direction while offering language services in English, Japanese, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese and French.

Shanghai has also been spruced up somewhat, with 20km of decorative lights hung along the banks of the Huangpu River and hundreds of thousands of trees and flowers arranged throughout the city, according to SHINE.

In an arguably strange effort to hide Shanghai's nightlife, late-night spots like Arkham, The Mansion, Taxx and more are all closed for the duration of the Expo, while others (like Le Baron) are operating on somewhat reduced hours. Because Shanghai may well be marketing itself as an importer of products, but seemingly not as an exporter of fun...

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