The Chinese government wanted to make this event a symbol of its emergence as a modern industrial power. To this end, China submitted a bid and in 2004, ahead of Moscow, Queretaro, wroclaw and Yeosu, won the organisation of the 2010 World Expo.
The theme of the exhibition, "Better City, Better Life", was a first, as it was the first time in the history of world exhibitions that the "city" was taken as a theme.
This exhibition broke all records in terms of pomp and expense, with 4.3 billion dollars for the exhibition itself and tens of billions more to improve the infrastructure in Shanghai; the total sum would reach 58 billion.
242 countries and international organisations were represented, and over 20,000 shows and performances were staged.
The 2010 Expo was held in the central area of Shanghai, located mainly on the riverbank between Nanpu Bridge and Lupu Bridge, and on both sides of the Huangpu River in the urbanized area of Shanghai. The total area of the exhibition was 528 hectares, divided into 5 zones (A, B, C, D, E).
Zones A, B, C were in Pudong (on the east side of the river) and zones D, E in Puxi (on the other side of the river).
In order not to "hide" the impressive Chinese pavilion, all nation and organisation pavilions were limited in height.
Despite queues that sometimes lasted ten hours in the sweltering heat, more than 73 million people visited during the six months of the exhibition, 95% of them Chinese, with a peak of 1.03 million visitors in one day. This broke the previous record set in 1970 at the World Expo in Osaka, Japan.