It was developed out of the Shanghai
Construction Engineering Division
and was established in 1953. Since its
establishment, especially after being
transformed into a state-owned enterprise in 1994, SCG had completed a
large number of landmark projects.
Among these projects were the Oriental Pearl Television Tower in Shanghai,
LuPu Bridge (the world’s longest steel
arch bridge), Shanghai International F1
Circuit, and the Shanghai World Financial Center. SCG is under the supervision of the Shanghai government.
Other major contractors in the project
included Shanghai Baoye Group and
Hongrun Construction Group, both
large-scale, state-owned enterprises.
Deputy Director A of CHO described
the manager’s confidence in the main
We are inclined to choose the biggest and
best contractor. Seventy percent of EXPO
construction was undertaken by SCG.
Other contractors were all large-scale,
state-owned companies. We trust them. We
gave SCG the permanent projects through
bidding and authorized them to lead on
site. They completed their work excellently
and even assisted CHO to coordinate other
stakeholders for free.
To open a high-quality EXPO, the
government drew up strict terms in the
contract, to limit the participation of
less qualified contractors. For instance,
one of the requirements was that the
EXPO Culture Center would be good
enough to become a recipient of the
annual LuBan Award, the top award for
the best construction project in China.
The contractors would be fined if the
project did not achieve this goal. Given
this requirement, the designer and constructor needed to follow very high standards in their work. SCG utilized the best
resources of the company to ensure that
the EXPO would win this award, which
they did it.
In the Chinese institutional context,
social ties with the government have a
special meaning for companies. Con-
tractors that were able to participate
in EXPO expected that their chances of
winning contracts in the future would be
significantly improved. SCG stationed
its best personnel from 17 subsidiaries
and 13 business units into the EXPO
project. To enhance its collaboration
with the government, SCG asked a group
of its leaders to live on site to ensure the
company’s readiness to cope with any
unforeseen event. The commander of
SCG’s Puxi Department described the
company’s intentions when it came to
participating in the EXPO:
Even if we don’t make a profit in EXPO, we
insist on doing our best. Participating in
EXPO is indeed an intangible asset. Everyone
will know us and that our service is the best.
SCG appointed elite members in the subprojects. For instance, an engineer who had
been in charge of Shanghai Stadium and
the National Theatre was named as project
manager of Culture Center. In the peak-hour construction, we had 12 onsite project
departments and more than 10,000 workers.
The government made significant
efforts to ensure that the process for
selecting suppliers and investors was
transparent. Based on publicly available
information, no prosecuted corruption
cases were recorded in the EXPO from
the construction phase to the present.
Deputy Director A of CHO described
the mechanisms that were in place to
We insist on choosing contractors and
suppliers through competitive tender and
invitational tender. To regularize the construction behavior, we established a leading
group led by the secretary of Disciplinary
Inspection, which exercised power in accordance with the law and worked painstakingly to improve party conduct, promote
integrity, and fight corruption.
When selecting suppliers and
investors, the BEC signed an “Integrity
Agreement” with all 648 contractors
and suppliers, promised to maintain
cleanliness with 42 state organizations,
and signed a “Building a Clean EXPO”
agreement with 139 companies involved
in the exhibition.
Promoting Personal Accountability of
Leaders of the EXPO project faced the
challenge of managing a large group
of parties, including different levels of
agents, contractors, suppliers, investors, operators, and the public. Both the
leaders of owner and contractors were
Communist Party members. The executive leaders in the project organization
were held personally responsible for the
project. When a project required coordination and decision making, administrative instruction from upper officials
was considered crucial.
Formerly, we just needed to allocate tasks
to stakeholders. Whether the task was finished or not had nothing to do with us.
The stakeholders were in charge of it and
assumed their respective obligations and
responsibilities. But now, after the establishment of the Construction Headquarter,
this responsibility falls on all of us. (Vice
Commander of CHQ)
The impressive progress of the EXPO
relied largely on the project leaders,
who demonstrated the ability to both
carry responsibility and secure the commitment of their teams. According to
Deputy Director B of CHO, “Whenever
there is a difficulty, our leaders always
support the staff to the greatest extent.”
Most interviewees emphasized the traits
of leadership—in particular in terms of
expressing passion and energy for the
project. Deputy Director A of CHO elaborated on this:
We advocate that the leader, the cadre, and
the party member should set an example.
The leaders threw themselves into work
and influenced others. In the meantime,
main leaders in CHQ and CHO are officials
and in our culture, the role and authority of
the leader are rarely questioned.
Rather than stay behind the workers,
EXPO leaders took the initiative and let
the others follow. The leaders devoted
themselves to their work, and as a
result, driving the enthusiasm of subordinates was manageable. The subordinates, in turn, devoted all their energy