Miss World pageant meets Chinese mining city
BEIJING (AFP) - More than 100 beauty queens from around the globe have descended on the northern Chinese mining city of Ordos on the edge of the Gobi desert ahead of the Miss World final this Saturday.
Built on the arid and sparsely populated steppes of Inner Mongolia and around 700km from the nearest beach, Ordos makes an unlikely setting for the world's biggest beauty pageant.
But that will not stop the 116 contestants - the highest number ever - from donning their finest evening gowns and swimwear on Saturday night for the contest, which is watched annually by around a billion people around the globe.
Ordos has grown rich over the last decade on the back of a coal mining boom that has transformed it from a sandstorm-afflicted backwater into one of China's wealthiest cities.