Hsinchu City Wins bid for Taiwan Pavillion at Shanghai EXPO

Hsinchu City won the right to buy the Taiwan pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo Thursday with a bid totaling NT$458.88 million (US$14.46 million), reports said.

The city defeated the Miaoli County Government and Haur Luen Enterprise Co., Ltd. in the bidding, but critics pointed out that Hsinchu City already bore more than NT$19 billion (US$598 million) in debt.

In addition, the cost of the move itself, estimated at up to NT$800 million (US$25 million) was not included in the bid price, scaring away some potential candidates, according to the Chinese-language United Evening News.

Since the expo only closes at the end of October, the work to dismantle the pavilion and rebuild it in Hsinchu is expected to last well into next year.

The city official present at the bidding, Wu Tsung-chi, told reporters that the present configuration of the building did not leave much room for change. At the most, Hsinchu would like to add some local flavor, he said.

Wu said the city had chosen a 5-hectare plot owned by the Taiwan Fertilizer Corporation close to the Hsinchu Science Park and to a freeway interchange. The city’s plan was for the Taiwan Pavilion to function as the center of a new business area with office buildings, an international hotel and an exhibition center.

The Taiwan External Trade Development Council expressed satisfaction with the price it received for the pavilion. The team which had worked on the original design and construction of the building would assist Hsinchu with its work next year, officials said.

Hsinchu City Mayor Hsu Ming-tsai brushed aside concern over the price of the pavilion. The city government would raise funds from the private sector and rely on the generosity of its citizens, he said. In the long term, the cost of the operation would be regained by increased tourism and business in Hsinchu, Hsu said.

Local politicians welcomed the purchase because it would develop a new part of the city and boost tourism, reports said. They cautioned however that the city needed to watch its management of the pavilion and introduce frequent changes to its contents.

Taichung City Mayor Jason Hu, who once invited the Guggenheim Museum to open a local affiliate, said that with the money needed to buy the Taiwan Pavilion it would be possible to build something even better.

Hu said the building should not have gone to the highest bidder but to the most suitable one. The mayor was reportedly the first local government chief to express an interest in rebuilding the pavilion.

(Source: 17SEP2010)

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