By Claire West

As the World Expo in Shanghai comes to a close on Sunday, 31 October, the head of UK Trade & Investment Andrew Cahn, the Government official responsible for the development of the UK Pavilion, has welcomed the news that it is on course to receiving its eight millionth visitor.

Since its opening in May, the UK Pavilion has been viewed by an average of 45,000 visitors per day, and its creator, Thomas Heatherwick has received a string of accolades, including the prestigious RIBA Lubetkin Award for International Architecture and the London Design Medal.

In addition to this, UKTI facilitated over 140 trade and investment events to showcase the UK’s strengths across a series of sectors including ICT, creative industries, advanced engineering, life sciences and aerospace. Hundreds of British firms and 1,000 Chinese companies were directly involved in this extensive business programme.

Sir Andrew Cahn, CEO of UKTI, said:

“The UK Pavilion has been an incredible ambassador of contemporary Britain. It has demonstrated to the coming generation of Chinese that the UK is the heart of creative industries and artistic talent, and a key destination for trade opportunities.

“In 2009, UK exports to China were worth £7.7 billion and we attracted 74 new investment projects from Chinese companies. The positive feedback we received from the hundreds that took part in our business programme leaves me confident our partnership with China is destined to move to a new level”

John McManus, Director of the Expo Project for the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO), said:

"Shanghai Expo has been a huge success for China and the UK. Our award-winning pavilion was at the centre of an extensive programme of business and cultural events which has advanced our wide-ranging objectives in China, from trade and investment to education and cooperation on climate-change. We are now focused on making the most of the legacy - from following up the increase in business leads, to an imaginative project where we will distribute of some of the Pavilion's seed rods to Chinese schools."

Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of the British Council, said:

“The UK Pavilion and programme of events at Shanghai Expo were hugely ambitious but have been a tremendous success. The cultural and educational links that have flowed from the Expo will provide a solid foundation for future trade and co-operation.”