Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Shanghai this week, hoping to drum up some business for California. Sure, all the jobs and innovations are moving West to the Far East, but he wants to reverse that trend and bring them East, to the West Coast, in 2020. More specifically, he wants Silicon Valley to host the 2020 World Expo. Shanghai is hosting it this year, and 2015 is reserved for Milan, which leaves 2020 for Silicon Valley.

The idea is a winner, if the Shanghai Expo is any example. Experts claim that 70 million people will have trekked through the vast collection of pavilions by the time the Expo ends on Oct. 31. What this means in practice is that profits are soaring. Shanghai International Airport alone reports a surge in profits of 112 percent, a stat Mineta would be proud to assume. Local department stores are reporting an increase of 48 percent in their profits, while hotels, tourist attractions, and restaurants around the city are all showing similar profits.

Of course, winning the World’s Fair 2020 means competing with a long list of cities, including California’s own Los Angeles, while New York and Houston are also in the running. The last time the event was held in the US was in 1984 in New Orleans. Chicago, which was supposed to host the 1992 World Fair, cancelled. Since then, the event has been held in a series of European and Asian cities. And it’s worth pointing out that Shanghai’s unprecedented success has much to do with the ultra-high-tech exhibits by countries and corporations from all around the world. Ultra-high-tech?  Sounds like the perfect match for Silicon Valley.
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