Haibao, the Shanghai Expo mascot, is everywhere in (and outside of) this city. Designed to represent the Chinese character for person (人), he’s been likened to Gumby and toothpaste, among other erm, less PG things. He even has a music video, the music from which can be heard on his website (I think the video is also there, unfortunately).
With the Expo’s official opening fast approaching, Haibao is out in full force. Sometimes, when it looks like they got a little carried away with it, one really has to wonder who’s behind all this.
Expectedly, Haibao has been a victim of piracy around the country, so much so that Shanghai had to organize a World Exposition intellectual property rights protection exhibition showcasing real and fake Haibao stuffies, and Haibao himself has had to star in a commercial against fake goods. Despite this, the situation has become such that it’s increasingly hard to tell which Haibao images are “real”/government-approved and which aren’t, especially when even the official Haibao has taken on so many personae (see his website, linked above).
Anyway, I’d like to share some of Haibao’s more interesting and/or grotesque incarnations that I’ve come across:
The official Haibao is blue to represent the ocean, Shanghai, and his name 海宝 (treasure of the seas). So why all this green? Has he also become treasure of the woods now?
Other weird Haibaos:
And last but not least, this is Haibao after the Expo, when everyone’s long forgotten about him and he becomes sedentary, fat, and bald: