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New convention center opens in Dalian
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Dalian -- a major Chinese seaport, industrial, trade and tourism center located on the Liaodong Peninsula -- has a new 146,000-square-meter convention center, which includes an opera house and an exhibition center.

Designed by Austrian architecture firm Coop Himmelblau, who designed the BMW Welt in Munich and the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, the convention center took four years to construct.

The design resembles a seashell with a surface that contains a million separate aluminum plates that change light reflections according to the time of day or the weather.

"The Dalian International Convention Center (DICC) is comparable to the world's most famous modern buildings. It will also create a new urban lifestyle," said Wolfgang Haid, the architect in charge of the project.

The DICC has an underground level used as a logistics and service space. There are four floors above ground, including a multi-functional hall with a capacity of 1,800 people and six large meeting rooms with capacities ranging from 300 to 800 people.

The fourth floor houses 26 smaller meeting rooms, two 32-seat multi-functional VIP rooms and two multimedia meeting rooms.

The center's completion comes on the heels of Hainan Airlines' recent launch of the first direct air link from Northeast China to the United States with a service between Dalian and Seattle.

Recent research from Reed Travel Exhibitions showed that China was the most popular meeting destination in Asia among international conference buyers, with 62 percent of those polled choosing it ahead of Hong Kong and Thailand.

Edited by Zhao Qian and Michael Thai