By Jonathan Chow
Old habits die hard, but when Shanghai says “No” to smoking, it ain’t playin’. Organizers of the Shanghai World Expo 2010 have returned a $29.3 million sponsorship from Shanghai Tobacco after they felt it clashed with the Expo’s “living healthier” image.
As BusinessWeek points out, “That’s a huge amount considering how the U.S. is still struggling to raise $61 million from U.S. companies [though no tobacco companies] to build its USA National Pavilion.”
The move shows Shanghai’s willingness to drop large sums of money for prestige, and China’s growing awareness of the dangers of cigarette smoking.
China may be the world’s largest market for tobacco, but this shift in attitudes toward cigarettes has been moving forward, especially in Shanghai. In April the city announced the most recent phase of its anti-smoking campaign, and in May it began enforcing it.
Meanwhile, much like the Beijing Olympics before it, the Expo is Shanghai’s turn to showcase the best of China. Smoking apparently did not make the roster. In line with its “better city, better life” motto, “the event wants to promote itself as a healthy world expo in what analysts believe is a growing anti-smoking trend in China’s top-tier markets” said Brand Republic.