Shanghai's premier corporate trainer.


EditRegion4 - right column space for ads


welcome to

Shanghai , China 上海 - facts and figures

Land area; 6,340.5 sq km

Population; 13.5m (estimates range up to 20m)


Public holidays 2006

Telephone codes;


Time zone; GMT + 8

Electricity; The electricity supply is 220 volts AC, 50Hz.

Shanghai in brief

Shanghai city, in, but independent of, Jiangsu province, East China, on the Huangpu (Whangpoo) River where it flows into the Chang Jiang (Yangtze) estuary. It is an independent unit of 6,218 sq km administered directly by the central government. One of the world's great seaports, Shanghai is China's largest city.

History of Shanghai, China.

The name Shanghai dates from the Sung dynasty (11th century), but the town, which became a walled city in the 16th century, was unimportant until it was opened to foreign trade by the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842. The ensuing Western influence launched the city on its phenomenal growth. The greater part of the city was incorporated into the British concession (1843), just north of the old walled city, and into the U.S. concession of Hongkou (1862). In 1863 the United States and Great Britain consolidated into the International Settlement the areas that had been conceded to them. The French, who had obtained a concession in 1849, continued it as a separate entity. The foreign zones, which were under extraterritorial administration, maintained their own courts, police system, and armed forces. Thus Shanghai until World War II was a divided city.

In 1927, Chiang Kai-shek [蒋介石 Jiang Jieshi], at the head of the Nationalist army and with the support of the Chinese Communists, captured Shanghai. The Chinese section was immediately placed under the Guomindang [Kuomintang] government. Japan invaded and attacked the Chinese city in 1932 to force the government to break an unofficial boycott of Japanese goods. In August 1937, as part of the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese again attacked the Chinese city, and resistance was overcome in November. The foreign zones were occupied by the Japanese after December 7 1941.

In 1943 the United States and Great Britain renounced their claims in Shanghai, as did France in 1946. The city was restored to China at the end of World War II, and the Chinese central government for the first time gained control of the entire city. In May, 1949, it fell to the Communist forces. Since Pudong (East Shanghai) was declared (1990) a special development zone, government and foreign investment has revived Shanghai as an international trade and financial center.


The only large port of central China not cut off from the interior by mountains, it is the natural seaward outlet of, and the gateway to, the Chang Jiang basin, one of China's richest regions. It handles much of the country's foreign shipping and a large coastal trade. Great sums are expended to keep open its continually silting harbor. A submarine base is in the harbour. Although water transport is of prime importance, highways radiate outward, and there are rail connections with Nanjing and Hangzhou, with links through those cities to the North and South China networks. A new international airport opened in Pudong (East Shanghai) in 1999.

Despite a lack of fuel and raw materials, Shanghai is China's leading industrial city, with large steelworks; textile mills; shipbuilding yards; oil-refining, gas-extracting, and diamond-processing operations; and plants making light and heavy machinery, electrical, electronic, and computer equipment, machine tools, turbines, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, aircraft, tractors, motor vehicles, plastics, and consumer goods. The city is a major publishing center. Shanghai includes much of the surrounding rural area (over 5,000 sq km); there farms produce the food crops that support the city's population.

In the 1970s and 80s, Shanghai's industrial base was shifted to include more light industries in order to reduce pollution. There was much rebuilding and expansion; new factories emerged around the outskirts of the city, and the northwest section was developed as an industrial district. Development in the 1990s concentrated on Pudong, an area formerly dominated by farms and marshland that was designated a special economic development zone. A project to divert much-needed water for the city from the Chang Jiang River into the Huangpu was completed in 1996. The 1990s also brought new bridges and tunnels and a subway system.

Shanghai Overview

Shanghai economic profile

Nowhere is China’s continuing transformation from Communist backwater to economic powerhouse more visible than in Shanghai. Fifteen years ago, its streets were filled with workers in drab blue Mao suits, silently pushing identical black bicycles down derelict streets. Shops spread the few goods they stocked across bare shelves and there was so little to do that the city was asleep by early evening. Today, Shanghai is wide awake at every hour, seething with energy, noise and unbelievable traffic. Foreign labels in glittering shops entice China’s newly wealthy, while the skyline is dotted with futuristic skyscrapers.

During the early part of the 20th century, Shanghai (known then as the “Paris of the Orient”) was China’s most important and cosmopolitan city — and consequently suffered badly under the Communists, particularly during the Cultural Revolution.

When Deng Xiaoping started China on its path to reform at the end of the 1970s, following the death of Mao Zedong, he chose Guangdong province in the south, far away from the centre of power, for his experiment. Shenzhen, bordering Hong Kong, became the country’s first modern city.

It was only in 1992, during the second wave of reform and opening that followed the crackdown after Tiananmen Square, that Shanghai got the chance to reclaim its pre-eminence as China’s most international city. That was because the top leadership (many by then hailing from Shanghai, like the future president Jiang Zemin) wanted to shift China’s economic future away from the pernicious influence of a free-thinking Hong Kong.

Shanghai’s government seized the opportunity with both hands. In the ensuing decade, it built a new road and rail system, countless office blocks and hotels, and turned Pudong — on the east bank of the Huangpo River — from marshland flats and abandoned factories into a neon-lit metropolis. With the futuristic Oriental Pearl TV Tower as its landmark, Pudong is linked to the new international airport by the underused maglev rail link — the fastest train in the world, which takes just over seven minutes to travel 19 miles at a top speed of 270 mph from the airport to eastern Pudong.

Since China joined the World Trade Organisation in 2001, Shanghai has become one of the principal locations for foreign companies hoping to benefit from the opening of China's markets. By 2003, Pudong alone had attracted over $20 billion in foreign investment. Shanghai is the world’s third-largest container-shipping port (behind Hong Kong and Singapore and ahead of Shenzhen): in 2003 it handled 11.37m 20-foot equivalent units, nearly double that of 2001. Booming property prices (prices climbed 18% in 2004, and the pace of demolitions of older areas to aid development has led to supply shortages) are a source of official concern. A State Council report in March 2005 stressed the government’s determination to clamp down on this potential source of inflation and social instability. Interest rates are on the increase and state-owned banks are under pressure to be more cautious in their lending.

Tourism is climbing. Official figures estimated 3.5m international and 95m domestic visitors in 2004 (although counting methods make it hard to distinguish between transit passengers and actual visitors). Trade fairs and conventions give hotels no shortage of custom even outside peak season. The city hosted a Formula One Grand Prix race for the first time in 2004, and will host the World Expo in 2010.

Shanghai is China’s leading industrial centre, with much of the manufacturing inside the city’s free-trade and export-processing zones. Products include machinery, electronics consumer goods, textiles, chemicals and petrochemicals. The city’s stockmarket is one of China’s two trading floors (the other is Shenzhen), though both bourses have suffered from declining share prices over the past several years. In February 2005, domestic A-share indices hit their lowest levels for over five years: investors seem to prefer to put their savings into property. To address the problem, China’s rulers are planning wide-ranging capital-market reforms.

China's wealthiest city, with more than 6,000 skyscrapers, has its problems. Like the rest of the country, it suffers from poorly regulated property markets, a weak rule of law, widespread official corruption and a rickety financial system. The state remains the majority owner of most big companies. Soil and water pollution is a cause for growing concern: although the city sits near the junction of the Yangtze and Huangpu rivers, it has one of the lowest ratios of drinkable water to people in China. Han Zhen, Shanghai's mayor, is addressing the issue. Shanghai's aging population is another worry: 11.5% of its citizens are over 65 (the highest level in China). That eternal curse of a fast-growing urban economy — traffic congestion — is also huge, and growing, despite a fast and efficient subway system and big investments in transport improvements.