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The official World Expo Shanghai 2010 mascot was welcomed to Liverpool yesterday (19th October).
Haibao has been landing all over the world in recent weeks and can now be spotted at six sites across Liverpool for the next month.
The distinctive, six feet tall, blue models have been placed in the Arena and Convention Centre, Liverpool Town Hall, the Metquarter, Liverpool Lime Street Station, The Capital Building and Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
Liverpool is the only city in the UK to have a dedicated pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai, which runs from May 1st until October 31st 2010.
It is regarded as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to consolidate existing and forge new relationships in the world’s emerging markets and is predicted to deliver up to £50m in GVA growth to Liverpool and the North West over the next decade.
Organisers of the World Expo 2010 estimate that 70 million people will visit the Expo during the six months.
Haibao, which is a traditionally lucky name in China meaning treasure of the sea, has been created to embody the character of Chinese culture.
The statues have been positioned across the city to encourage residents to find out more about Liverpool’s plans for the World Expo.
The Haibaos will still be in place later this month during celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of Liverpool’s twinning relationship with Shanghai.
Robin Tudor, Head of PR for Peel Airports, said: "With more than 400,000 passengers travelling through John Lennon Airport over the next month, the arrival of Haibao is an excellent opportunity to promote Liverpool’s forthcoming presence at the World Expo – not just to passengers from the North West, but also to the many international visitors passing through the Airport.
"Peel is the lead sponsor for Liverpool and we see Haibao’s visit to the Airport as a way to help raise awareness of the unique opportunities surrounding the Expo."
Liverpool Vision’s director of investment and enterprise, Mike Taylor, said: "The arrival of Haibao is a really exciting part of the run up to the World Expo in Shanghai next May.
"There are many similarities between Shanghai and Liverpool – we share a similar maritime heritage and past economic development pattern. By welcoming Shanghai’s ambassador, Haibao, we are welcoming further business and friendship links which will benefit Liverpool’s future."
After the mascots’ month-long stint in their city locations, they will be found alternative homes in the city, possibly in selected schools.
Further information is available at http://www.liverpoolshanghai2010.com/
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