Fri, Jan 07, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Taiwan gears up to steal China's Olympic thunder

COMPETITION Economic policymakers are hoping a NT$19.5 billion expo will deflect some attention away from the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan is gearing up for the Taiwan Expo in 2008, an event aimed at stealing some of the limelight from China when Beijing hosts the Olympic Games.

The Taipei Times has obtained a copy of the plan mapped out by the Cabinet's Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD). According to the plan, the four-month-long exposition, from May to September, will cost an estimated NT$19.5 billion (US$608 million).

The council hopes the event will attract about 5.5 million visitors, including 5 million foreigners and 500,000 Taiwanese. The event is projected to generate NT$5 billion in revenues and create 13,000 job opportunities.

The Executive Yuan has earmarked about NT$1.5 billion in this year's annual budget toward the expo, and plans to earmark nearly NT$4.6 billion next year, about NT$7.4 billion for 2007 and NT$6.1 billion for 2008.

Expositions will be held in three counties along the north-south high-speed railway. The main exposition sites will be in Taoyuan and Tainan counties, with a supplementary site in Chiayi County.

The Taoyuan site, which covers about 69 hectares, is located near the Chingpu station of the high-speed railway system, while the 126-hectare Tainan site is close to the Shaloon station. The Chiayi site, which is about 35 hectares, is in Taipao, Chiayi County, where a branch of the National Palace Museum is located.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs has donated NT$31 million to set up a foundation to help organize the event.

The Executive Yuan hopes to see the statute governing the 2008 Taiwan Expo (2008台灣博覽會條例) clear the legislature in February or March to officially launch into the preparatory work.

Meanwhile, Tainan County is hosting the first International Candy World Festival from Jan. 15 to Jan. 28. The festival will be closed on Feb. 5, Lunar New Year's eve.

The 45-day event, which boasts candy exhibitions from 25 countries, will be held at the Hsiao-lung historic site in the county's Chia-li township.

During the peak of the nation's sugar industry, Tainan County had nine sugar factories. The Chia-li sugar factory has been transformed from an abandoned facility to an art and exhibition center.

The Hsiaolung cultural preservation site is now located at the old Chia-li sugar factory.

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