A flurry of recent activity regarding the US Pavilion at next year’s Expo has resulted in US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirming the United States’ participation in the Expo after the USA Pavilion organizers announced PepsiCo signing on in a US$5 million deal.
However, even with Clinton’s support and PepsiCo laying down the cash, it is still unclear exactly how the US plans to finance and implement its plans for the pavilion, which is due at the opening of the Shanghai World Expo in 310 days. The future of the US’s involvement in the 2010 Expo has been in doubt for quite a while, as private funding has so far failed to meet the total budget of US$61 million set by the pavilion organizers.
The continued lackluster support has drawn exasperation and prodding from those involved and Chinese officials have repeatedly warned against the possibility of the US’s absence from the Expo. To add to the mess, the US has already missed the construction deadline, which will most likely end up being extended until the US can gather enough funds.
In a prolonged drama filled with barely anything but bad news, PepsiCo’s announcement is the break that the pavilion organizers have been longing for. As the US Pavilion’s newest “Global Partner,” PepsiCo will become the pavilion’s exclusive non-alcoholic drink and snack provider. Perhaps even more important to the pavilion, though, are the 5 million US dollars that PepsiCo will contribute to the building of the US Pavilion.
Yet, even with Pepsi’s vital partnership, no one seems to know exactly how much funding the pavilion really has. The AFP is reporting that the USA Pavilion steering committee has only raised a measly US$2.8 million out the required US$61 million, but has US$36 million “under negotiation.” Shanghai Daily, on the other hand, has the total figure at US$35 million collected or pledged, while BusinessWeek is reporting that fundraisers have gathered less than a third (US$20 million) of the required funds.
And of course, the official USA Pavilion website has nothing to say as far as concrete numbers.
At this point, beyond PepsiCo’s 5 million, we aren’t even really sure if they have any funding at all.