The World Exposition 2010 has officially opened in Shanghai.
Some 70 million people are expected to visit pavilions of more than 200 countries and international organizations during the exhibition's run until October.
This year's expo is focused on the challenges of urbanization under the motto "Better City, Better Life." Shanghai, with its 18 million inhabitants, is among the 10 largest cities in the world.
The Chinese government is spending billions on the expo -- local media estimate some $58 billion if infrastructure is included -- transforming an area larger than Monaco into a giant exhibition site.
Several foreign leaders, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, are due to attend today's opening ceremony, which could rival Beijing's 2008 Olympics in terms of scale and cost.
compiled from agency reports