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Students Use Holiday to Cash in on Expo

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Students in Shanghai have come up with a unique way to earn extra cash this summer.

With Expo 2010 Shanghai visitors desperate to get reservations to popular pavilions, some college students are happy to spend hours standing in line to get the tickets for paying customers.

"I have little to do at home during the summer break. I have time to stand in line to get reserved tickets in the Expo Garden. Anyone who would like to visit the China or other hot pavilions, please feel free to contact me," read an advertisement on a leading Chinese online retail website.

Reservation tickets on an online shop are selling for 249 yuan ($37) each.

At another online store that sells tickets to popular Expo pavilions, the prices for reserved tickets are non-negotiable, with tickets to the Saudi Arabia Pavilion priced at 600 yuan each.

The online shop owner, a postgraduate student, said he charges according to the time he spends in the queue.

The earlier he needs to line up for the tickets, sometimes as early as 10 pm the night preceding, the higher the price.

While some students have gone solo with the business, others have formed groups.

An online retailer said he has recruited 20 college students to purchase tickets.

For some, reselling reserved tickets is a second job.

A woman who operates an online store called Strawberry Charm, which is well patronized, said she has a regular job at an office in in Shanghai.

Her online store sells reserved tickets to the China Pavilion for 200 yuan, while tickets for the Spain Pavilion cost 100 yuan and these for the Italy Pavilion go for 400 yuan.

"I have asked some of my friends to join me, but we can't do it every day because we all have regular jobs during the week," said the shop owner, surnamed Shi.

"A standard day Expo ticket is sold for 160 yuan. A reserved ticket to the China Pavilion is priced at 200 yuan in our shop," Shi said. "Actually, we can't make a lot of money out of the business, so I told my friends that we might as well take this opportunity to visit the Expo Garden."

She said that VIP cards to the Saudi Arabia Pavilion were available for 600 yuan, but the pavilion has since stopped distributing these cards.

"Of course, we can ask some staff at the pavilion for help, but their service would cost as much as 800 yuan and we probably wouldn't get many buyers," Shi said.

The Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination has developed new electronic reserve tickets for the China Pavilion.

The tickets, which cannot be deplicated, aim to resolve the nagging problem of fake tickets.

(China Daily August 4, 2010)

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