The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) is the intergovernmental organisation in charge of overseeing and regulating World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano.

Follow the plastic brick road

Follow the plastic brick road

The production of construction materials has a significant negative environmental impact: cement alone accounts for between five and 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions (UNEP). In addition, plastic waste is an increasing global problem, oceans expected to contain more plastic than fish by 2050. With the world’s rising population, plastic waste and demand for construction materials are also set to grow.

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Cutting down plastic pollution with edible bowls

Cutting down plastic pollution with edible bowls

Only nine per cent of all plastic ever produced has been recycled; 12 per cent has been incinerated and 79 per cent has ended up in landfill or the natural environment. Global production of plastic waste is about 300 million tonnes every year, almost equivalent to the weight of the entire human population. Plastic waste related to food and beverages – including plastic bottles, bags, straws, wrappers, cups and utensils – are a significant portion of this total.

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A greener way to welcome refugees

A greener way to welcome refugees

When people are forced to flee their homes due to war, persecution or natural disaster, the provision of basic necessities is the utmost priority, but their welfare is also heavily dependent on the environment of where they settle. Deforestation, soil erosion and the depletion and pollution of water resources are among the most significant challenges that can be associated with the arrival and residency of internally displaced people and refuges.

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Accessible eye examinations using smartphones

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Around the world, a staggering one billion people suffer from some form of preventable or treatable vision impairment. This ranges from moderate and severe vision impairment to blindness, with the leading cause being uncorrected refractive errors and cataracts. A lack of access to necessary medical equipment and professionals means that visual impairment is four times higher in in low- and middle-income countries compared to high-income regions.

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Redirecting ‘waste’ food to the tables of those in need

Redirecting ‘waste’ food to the tables of those in need

The FAO estimates that around one third of global food production is lost or wasted each year, a subject that was at the heart of the most recent World Expo – Expo 2015 Milan, themed “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. This challenge is a global one – rich countries waste around the same amount of food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, hunger remains a global problem with around 9% of the world’s population lacking access to sufficient food.

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Breaking mental health stigma through online therapy

Breaking mental health stigma through online therapy

Accessing mental health services can be a major challenge, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, where more than 65 million people suffer from mental health issues. Care providers are stretched thin, with as few as one psychiatrist per 100,000 people in the MENA region, while social stigma, discrimination and neglect often prevent people from attending psychotherapy clinics or seeking help. With two-thirds of global population not seeking treatment because of these challenges, and suicide the second-highest cause of death among young people, the need for mental health services is greater than ever.

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Building flood resilience with amphibious housing

Building flood resilience with amphibious housing

The impact of climate change, infrastructure projects and increased population means that 2 billion people around the world are expected to be vulnerable to flood disaster by 2050. While addressing the causes of flooding is essential, it is also imperative to improve flood resilience in the most affected areas, with people’s lives and livelihoods increasingly threatened by intense and unpredictable weather events.

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Education as the cornerstone of social change

Education as the cornerstone of social change

Education is perhaps the most effective way to pull children out of poverty and addressing social problems, yet 260 million children around the world are out of school. This is why a group of concerned citizens in Pakistan created The Citizens Foundation (TCF), a non-government organisation aimed at improving access to education as a way of reducing social barriers and making students become agents of positive change.

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Inspiring visitors to live greener and healthier lives

Inspiring visitors to live greener and healthier lives

Floriade Expo 2022 Amsterdam-Almere will open its gates to the public in less than a year under the theme “Growing Green Cities”. As preparations gather pace on the site, the Floriade’s Commissioner-General Annemarie Jorritsma - the former mayor of Almere and a former minister - shares her beliefs and expectations for this transformational green event.

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Empowering communities with sustainable livelihoods

Empowering communities with sustainable livelihoods

Climate change, unsustainable farming practices and deforestation not only pose serious challenges for biodiversity and the protection of nature, but in many places also threaten the livelihoods of indigenous communities.

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Turning fog into water

Turning fog into water

Only about 0.007 per cent of the planet’s water is available for human consumption, with the vast majority of water – in frozen glaciers or seawater – of no use for drinking, cooking, bathing or cleaning. Furthermore, the scarcity of freshwater is exacerbated by polluted rivers, lakes and groundwater, and the depletion of these water sources in many populated areas.

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Harnessing the sun for clean water

Harnessing the sun for clean water

Around the world, 785 million people lack access to safe water and children are amongst the most affected by the threats linked to a lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene services. While these diseases are preventable, every 90 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease.

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5 things you might not know about Expo 1851 London

5 things you might not know about Expo 1851 London

170 years ago today, the United Kingdom invited ‘All Nations’ to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Taking place in Hyde Park between 1 May 1851 and 11 October 1851, Expo 1851 London was an occasion for the United Kingdom and international participants to showcase human progress, notably in the area of industry and technology.

Here are some interesting facts about this unique global event:

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Anti-desertification with liquid nanoclay

Anti-desertification with liquid nanoclay

Desertification, and specifically the loss of fertile arable land, is a phenomenon that poses a major threat to global food production, particularly in the developing world. About 12 million hectares of arable land is lost to erosion each year, and it is estimated that land degradation in the next 25 years has the potential to reduce global food production by up to 12% (UNCCD).

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Drones flying in life-saving vaccines

Drones flying in life-saving vaccines

Vaccine wastage is a global problem: WHO estimates that up to half of all vaccines are lost every year, largely due to the vials not being stored at the right temperature during storage and transport.

For this reason, many children miss out on essential vaccinations. To help combat this issue, Expo 2020 Dubai’s Global Best Practice Programme selected the UNICEF Drones Programme, which works towards efficiently delivering vaccines via drones, as a way to spotlight and expand the initiative on a global scale.

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Lend your eyes through a smartphone

Lend your eyes through a smartphone

At least 2.2 billion people are blind or visually impaired. That’s more than a third of the global population who may have difficulties with daily tasks that are dependent on the ability to see correctly: checking expiration dates, distinguishing colours, reading instructions, etc.

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Expo Live: unlocking opportunities to shape the future

Expo Live: unlocking opportunities to shape the future

On 1 October 2021, Expo 2020 Dubai will open to the public, embarking visitors on a discovery of its theme, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, through educational and immersive exhibitions and events. Less than six months before it opens, the achievements of the Expo Live programme demonstrates the real-life impact that Expo 2020 Dubai is already having around the world. Yousuf Caires, Senior Vice President, Expo Live, explains the importance of this unique initiative and offers a glimpse of how Expo 2020 Dubai is delivering positive change.

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Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai: connection, collaboration and co-creation

Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai: connection, collaboration and co-creation

World Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai will open to the public in 1,500 days, embarking millions of visitors on a six-month discovery of its theme “Designing Future Society for Our Lives”.

On this occasion, Hiroyuki Ishige, the Secretary-General of the Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition, sets out the vision for the World Expo as well as the various programmes being organised in preparation for the event.

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World Expos and the celebration of Human Fraternity

World Expos and the celebration of Human Fraternity

On 4 February, the United Nations and countries around the world are marking, for the first time, the International Day of Human Fraternity. Maher Nasser, the Commissioner-General of the United Nations at Expo 2020 Dubai, takes this occasion to explain the significance of this new International Day and to reflect on the role that World Expos can play in reaffirming and strengthening global solidarity.

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On the importance of an “interference” between art and science

On the importance of an “interference” between art and science

On 1 December 2020, the 167th General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) formally recognised the 23rd edition of the International Exhibition of Triennale Milano, taking place between 20 May and 20 November 2022 under the theme “Unknown Unknowns”. To mark this important step, Stefano Boeri, President of Triennale Milano, reflects on the past, present and future of the International Exhibition of Triennale Milano.

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5 things you might not know about Expo 1855 Paris

5 things you might not know about Expo 1855 Paris

It was 165 years ago that Expo 1855 Paris, France's first World Expo, drew to a close. Here are some interesting facts about this singular event:

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5 things you might not know about Expo 1900 Paris

5 things you might not know about Expo 1900 Paris

It was the event that welcomed a new century and showcased the greatest arts, creations and technologies from around the world. World Expo 1900 Paris, which closed its gates 120 years ago today, was a transformational event for Paris, for France and for the world. Discover five interesting facts about this historic gathering:

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5 things you might not know about Expo 2015 Milan

5 things you might not know about Expo 2015 Milan

It has been five years since Expo 2015 Milan closed its gates to the public after a six month immersive journey around the theme of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for life”. Here are some interesting facts about the most recent World Expo:

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5 things you might not know about Expo 2010 Shanghai

5 things you might not know about Expo 2010 Shanghai

On 31 October 2010, the most visited Expo in history - World Expo 2010 Shanghai - closed its gates to the public after 185 days. The transformative event embarked tens of millions of visitors on a journey into the theme “Better City, Better Life”, and left a lasting impact on Shanghai, China, and the world. Here are a few interesting facts about this truly groundbreaking World Expo:

 

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Al Wasl Plaza: the heart and soul of Expo 2020 Dubai

Al Wasl Plaza: the heart and soul of Expo 2020 Dubai

Al Wasl Plaza, designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, will be the centrepiece of Expo 2020 Dubai. With one year until the opening of the World Expo, Gordon Gill explains what Al Wasl Plaza is, and shares his thoughts on how this central hub will make a dramatic impression on visitors to Expo 2020 Dubai and have a lasting impact on Dubai.

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5 things you might not know about Expo 1880 Melbourne

5 things you might not know about Expo 1880 Melbourne

140 years ago today, the capital of Victoria, Melbourne, welcomed the first World Expo in the southern hemisphere under the theme of the Arts, Manufactures and Agricultural and Industrial Products of all Nations. Here are some interesting facts about World Expo 1880 Melbourne:

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Share your images: World Expo Museum wants your Expo 2010 memories!

Share your images: World Expo Museum wants your Expo 2010 memories!

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Expo 2010 Shanghai, the World Expo Museum has launched a call for all those involved in the World Expo to share their photos of the event.

The shared photos will be in the running to feature in a commemorative image exhibition set to open in October 2020 that will celebrate all the participants, staff, volunteers, visitors and citizens who participated in Expo 2010 Shanghai. The exhibition will seek to immortalise the memory of Expo 2010 by showcasing all the different people and stories that helped make the event such a tremendous success.

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Expo 2020 Dubai : Reconnecter le monde

Expo 2020 Dubai : Reconnecter le monde

À un peu plus d’un an de l’ouverture de la prochaine Exposition Universelle, le 1er octobre 2021, les préparatifs de l'Expo 2020 Dubai se poursuivent. A l’aune de la pandémie de covid-19, les pays participants interprètent différemment, le thème de l’Expo 2020 Dubai «Connecter les Esprits, Construire le Futur » et ses trois sous thèmes , Mobilité, Durabilité, Opportunité.

Dans un entretien avec le BIE, S.E.M. Patrick Vercauteren Drubbel, Commissaire Général de la Belgique, Mohamed Boina Hassani, Commissaire Général des Comores et Dr. Malick Diop, Commissaire Général du Sénégal, partagent leurs réflexions sur le thème de la prochaine Exposition Universelle et les perspectives que l’Expo 2020 Dubai offre dans un monde post-Covid.

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Expo 2020 Dubai : Construire le Futur

Expo 2020 Dubai : Construire le Futur

Les modes de vie à travers le monde ont été récemment modifiés. La pandémie de la Covid-19 a soulevé et suscite de nombreuses questions existentielles quant à l’avenir de la planète et de l’humanité. En réunissant plus de 190 pays participants autour du thème « Connecter les Esprits, Construire le Futur », l’Exposition Universelle Expo 2020 Dubai, qui ouvrira désormais ses portes du 1er octobre 2021 au 31 mars 2022, constituera la plateforme idéale pour que chaque pays y propose et partage ses réponses et ses pistes de réflexion.

Dans un entretien avec le BIE, Mokhtar Attar, Commissaire Général de l’Algérie, Erik Linquier, Commissaire Général de la France et Président de la COFREX, et Gabriel Curtis, Ministre en charge des Investissements et des Partenariats Publics Privés et Commissaire Général de la Guinée, partagent leurs réflexions sur les perspectives qu’offre l’Expo 2020 Dubai dans un monde post-Covid.

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5 ways that H55 changed the world of design

5 ways that H55 changed the world of design

Hosted in the Swedish city of Helsingborg in 1955, “H55”, was a Specialised Expo dedicated to architecture, industrial design and home furnishing. Taking place as functional and utilitarian design was growing in success, Expo 1955 marked the arrival of ‘Scandinavian Modern’ as a new genre. With prominent Scandinavian designers responding to the public’s demand for aesthetically pleasing yet practical household goods, the Expo drew global attention to the influential role of Nordic countries in advancing it.

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5 things you might not know about Expo 2000 Hannover

5 things you might not know about Expo 2000 Hannover

Twenty years ago today, Expo 2000 Hannover welcomed visitors to envision what the theme “Humankind – Nature – Technology” could mean in the 21st century. Here are a few interesting facts about this World Expo:

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International Museum Day: “See the world” at the World Expo Museum

International Museum Day: “See the world” at the World Expo Museum

On the occasion of International Museum Day on 18 May, and coinciding with the 10th anniversary of Expo 2010 Shanghai, the World Expo Museum (WEM) has released "See the world", a series of miniature-films recounting some of the most memorable World Expos in history.

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Expo memories abound as the World Expo Museum turns three

Expo memories abound as the World Expo Museum turns three

Having been inaugurated on 1 May 2017, the World Expo Museum (WEM) in Shanghai is now three years old, and is today more than ever a hub for exploring and celebrating Expo memories.

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A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Zipper

A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Zipper

Fastening clothes and accessories may seem too simple to be the focus of an important innovation. Indeed, visitors to World Expo 1893 Chicago may have seen Whitcomb Judson’s “Clasp Locker” on display without realising how this device would be the predecessor of an overlooked everyday innovation: the zipper.

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5 things you might not know about Expo 1935 Brussels

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85 years ago today, Expo 1935 Brussels opened its doors to visitors from all over Europe and the world. Here are a few facts about the World Expo that you might not have known:

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A to Z of Innovation at Expos: Yablochkov candle

A to Z of Innovation at Expos: Yablochkov candle

Widely known as La Ville Lumière or the ‘City of Lights’, Paris is famed for its streetlights, first tested in the late 18th century and which became a symbol of the city during the Belle Époque. It was when the whole world was in Paris, during World Expo 1878, that one of the most advanced forms of electrical lighting of its time – the Yablochkov candle – made its debut.

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A to Z of Innovations at Expos: X-ray machine

A to Z of Innovations at Expos: X-ray machine

Taking place in the world’s largest economy and in midst of the second industrial revolution, World Expo 1904 St. Louis introduced many new technologies and innovations to the public. One of these innovations was the X-ray machine, a fledgling technology that has revolutionised healthcare.

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A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Washing machine

A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Washing machine

Most modern products are the result of years of continuous innovations. The washing machine is one such product. For years, innovators have been looking into this household chore to save time, energy and water. One of these innovators, Richard Lansdale, took the opportunity to showcase his creation – the Compound Rotary Washing Machine – at World Expo 1862 in London.

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A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Voice recognition

A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Voice recognition

In 2020, voice recognition technology can be used by anyone with a smartphone. Back in the 1960s, the idea of a human operating a machine by using vocal commands seemed like science fiction. Visitors to World Expo 1962 Seattle – the Space Age Expo - were therefore amazed by IBM’s Shoebox – an early computer that responded to voice controls.

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A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Ultra HDTV

A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Ultra HDTV

World Expo 2005 Aichi, which opened its gates 15 years ago today, was the venue for numerous technological innovations, including the Super Hi-Vision Theater - where the public was introduced to what is commonly known as Ultra HDTV for the first time.

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A to Z of Expo Innovations: Touchscreen

A to Z of Expo Innovations: Touchscreen

The chances are that most people reading this blog post are doing so via a touchscreen, a ubiquitous part of modern life whether it be on phones, tablets, or supermarket checkouts. Though it is very much a 21st century phenomenon, the history of the touchscreen goes back decades, with Expo 1982 Knoxville being the venue for the first public showcase of this technology.

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A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Solar oven

A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Solar oven

Inventors and entrepreneurs have long been hoping to harness the power of the sun as a long-term source of sustainable energy. French mathematics professor Augustin Mouchot was a precursor, when he first demonstrated the potential of this form of energy, showcasing the parabolic solar collector, at World Expo 1878 in Paris.

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A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Vulcanised Rubber

A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Vulcanised Rubber

Present in thousands of everyday products, rubber is ubiquitous in the modern world. While it has been used in its natural form for thousands of years, it was only after the development of vulcanisation by American inventor Charles Goodyear – showcased with grandeur at World Expo 1851 London – that rubber became the widespread material it is today.

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A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Qwerty keyboard

A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Qwerty keyboard

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of American Independence, World Expo 1876 Philadelphia introduced the public to a multitude of innovations, including the Sholes & Glidden typewriter, sold under the brand name Remington No. 1. While other typewriters had already been produced, the Remington No. 1 was the first to be a commercial success and the first ever to feature the Qwerty format keyboard.

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A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Phonograph

A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Phonograph

In an era of rapid technological change and regularly updated devices, it is easy to underestimate the revolutionary impact of new inventions in the late 19th century. At World Expo 1878 Paris, one such invention - Thomas Edison’s phonograph, capable of recording and playing back sound – seemed so amazing to visitors that many were convinced it was a fake.

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A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Organic photovoltaics

A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Organic photovoltaics

With Expos serving as a showcase for the creativity and technological innovation of their participating countries, pavilions provides an ideal element to combine both unique design and technical prowess. Such was the case with Germany’s pavilion at World Expo 2015 Milan, which boldly incorporated organic photovoltaics (OPV) – an exciting and rapidly developing form of solar power – into the structure of its “Field of Dreams” themed pavilion.

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A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Nylon

A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Nylon

Heralding the “World of Tomorrow”, World Expo 1939 New York introduced the public to a wide range of consumer goods, offering a modern new era of accessible comfort. Among these new products were nylon stockings, an innovative item of clothing that went on to revolutionise wardrobes and fashion.

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A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Mobile phone

A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Mobile phone

Without mobile phones, modern society would not be the same. Fifty years ago, visitors to World Expo 1970 Osaka had the first opportunity to discover what this technology offered, giving them a glimpse into a much more connected – and mobile – future.

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A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Live Television

A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Live Television

In a world in which images and videos can be shared instantaneously to an unlimited audience, it is difficult to imagine how events were communicated and consumed by the public without modern technology. In the case of live television broadcasting, a major milestone was made with the first live address on the occasion of the opening ceremony of World Expo 1939 New York.

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A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Ketchup

A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Ketchup

Expos create opportunities for businesses to stand out. They provide a unique platform to showcase new products, to measure up the competition, to be in direct contact with consumers and to test new tactics. For one particularly well-known company – Heinz – three Expos in the late 19th century marked the expansion of the small-scale family firm to a global player.

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