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Clockwise from top: Lujiazui skyline with the Huangpu River, Yu Garden, China pavilion at Expo 2010 (now China Art Museum), Qibao, Nanjing Road, and The Bund
Etymology: 上海浦 (Shànghăi Pǔ)
"The original name of the Huangpu River."
Location of Shanghai Municipality in China
Location of Shanghai Municipality in China
Coordinates (People's Square): 31°13′43″N 121°28′29″E / 31.22861°N 121.47472°E / 31.22861; 121.47472Coordinates: 31°13′43″N 121°28′29″E / 31.22861°N 121.47472°E / 31.22861; 121.47472
CountryPeople's Republic of China
Settledc. 4000 BC[1]
Establishment of
 - Qinglong Town

 - Shanghai County1292[3]
 - Municipality7 July 1927
 - County-level
 - Township-

16 districts
210 towns and subdistricts
 • TypeMunicipality
 • Party SecretaryLi Qiang
 • MayorYing Yong
 • Congress ChairwomanYin Yicui
 • Municipal CPPCC ChairmanDong Yunhu[4]
 • Municipality6,341 km2 (2,448 sq mi)
 • Water697 km2 (269 sq mi)
 • Urban
4,000 km2 (1,550 sq mi)
Elevation4 m (13 ft)
 • Municipality24,237,800
 • Rank1st in China
 • Density3,800/km2 (9,900/sq mi)
 • Metro
24 million
Time zoneUTC+08:00 (CST)
Postal code
Area code(s)21
ISO 3166 codeCN-SH
Nominal GDP[10]2018
 - Total¥3.27 trillion (11th)
$494 billion
 - Per capita¥135,212 (2nd)
$39,600 PPP
 - GrowthIncrease 6.6%
HDI (2017)0.863[12] (4th) – very high
License plate prefixes沪A, B, D, E, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N
沪C (outer suburbs only)
AbbreviationSH / (Hù)
City flowerYulan magnolia
LanguagesWu (Shanghainese), Mandarin (in Chinese)
English Version
Shanghai (Chinese characters).svg
"Shanghai" in regular Chinese characters
Hanyu PinyinAbout this soundShànghǎi
WuAbout this soundZaan22 he44
Literal meaning"Upon the Sea"

Shanghai (Chinese: 上海, Shanghainese pronunciation: [zɑ̃.hɛ] (About this soundlisten); Mandarin Chinese pronunciation: [ʂâŋ.xài] (About this soundlisten)) is one of the four municipalities of the People's Republic of China. Located on the southern estuary of the Yangtze, Shanghai has a population of 24.2 million as of 2018.[10] It is the most populous urban area in China and the second most populous city proper in the world. Shanghai is a global center for finance,[13] innovation,[14] and transportation; the Port of Shanghai is the world's busiest container port.[15]

Originally a fishing village and market town, Shanghai grew in importance in the 19th century due to trade and its favorable port location. The city was one of five treaty ports forced open to foreign trade after the First Opium War. The Shanghai International Settlement and the French Concession was established subsequently. The city then flourished to a primary commercial and financial hub of the Asia-Pacific region in the 1930s.[16] During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the city was the site of the major Battle of Shanghai. After the war, with the CPC takeover of mainland China in 1949, trade was limited to other socialist countries, and the city's global influence declined.

In the 1990s, economic reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping resulted in an intense re-development of the city, especially the Pudong district, aiding the return of finance and foreign investment to the city. The city has since re-emerged as a hub for international trade and finance; it is the home of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, one of the world's largest by market capitalization,[17] and the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone, the first free-trade zone in China.[18]

Shanghai has been described as the "showpiece" of the booming economy of mainland China.[19][20] The city is renowned for its Lujiazui skyline, museums, and historic buildings—including the City God Temple, the Yu Garden, the China pavilion, and those along the Bund—and for its sugary cuisine and unique dialect, Shanghainese. Every year, Shanghai hosts numerous national and international events, including Shanghai Fashion Week, the Chinese Grand Prix, and Chinajoy.


The two Chinese characters in the city's name are (shàng/zan, "upon") and (hǎi/hae, "sea"), together meaning "Upon the Sea". The earliest occurrence of this name dates from the 11th-century Song dynasty, when there was already a river confluence and a town with this name in the area. How the name should be understood has been disputed, but Chinese historians have concluded that during the Tang dynasty, the area of modern-day Shanghai was under the sea level, so the land appeared to be literally "on the sea".[21]

Shanghai is officially abbreviated [a] (/Vu2) in Chinese, a contraction of 沪渎[b] (Hù Dú/Vu Doh, lit "Harpoon Ditch"), a 4th- or 5th-century Jin name for the mouth of Suzhou Creek when it was the main conduit into the ocean.[24] This character appears on all motor vehicle license plates issued in the municipality today.[25]

Alternative names[edit]

(Shēn) or (Shēnchéng, "Shen City") was an early name originating from Lord Chunshen, a 3rd-century BC nobleman and prime minister of the state of Chu, whose fief included modern Shanghai.[24] Shanghainese sports teams and newspapers often use Shen in their names, such as Shanghai Shenhua F.C. and Shen Bao.

(Huátíng) was another early name for Shanghai. In AD 751 during the mid-Tang dynasty, Huating County was established by Zhao Juzhen, the governor of Wu Commandery, at modern-day Songjiang, the first county-level administration within modern-day Shanghai. The first five-star hotel in the city was named after Huating.[26]

(Módū, lit "Demon City") is a contemporary nickname for Shanghai, being widespread among the youth.[27] The name was first mentioned in Shōfu Muramatsu's 1924 novel Mato, which portrayed Shanghai as a dichotomic city where both light and darkness existed.[28]

The city has various nicknames in English, including "Pearl of the Orient" and "Paris of the East".[29][30]


Ancient history[edit]

The western part of modern-day Shanghai was inhabited 6000 years ago.[31] During the Spring and Autumn period (approximately 771 to 476 BC), it belonged to the Kingdom of Wu, which was conquered by the Kingdom of Yue, which in turn was conquered by the Kingdom of Chu.[32] During the Warring States period (475 BC), Shanghai was part of the fief of Lord Chunshen of Chu, one of the Four Lords of the Warring States. He ordered the excavation of the Huangpu River. Its former or poetic name, the Chunshen River, gave Shanghai its nickname of "Shēn".[32] Fishermen living in the Shanghai area then created a fish tool called the , which lent its name to the outlet of Suzhou Creek north of the Old City and became a common nickname and abbreviation for the city.[33]

Imperial history[edit]

Songjiang Square Pagoda, built in the 11th century

During the Tang and Song dynasties, Qinglong Town (青龍鎮) in modern Qingpu District was a major trading port. Established in 746 (the fifth year of the Tang Tianbao era), it developed into what historically called a "giant town of the Southeast", with thirteen temples and seven pagodas. Mi Fu, a scholar and artist of the Song dynasty, served as its mayor. The port experienced thriving trade with provinces along the Yangtze and the Chinese coast, as well as with foreign countries such as Japan and Silla.[2]

The Mahavira Hall at Zhenru Temple, built in 1320

By the end of the Song dynasty, the center of trading had moved downstream of the Wusong River to Shanghai.[34] It was upgraded in status from a village to a market town in 1074, and in 1172, a second sea wall was built to stabilize the ocean coastline, supplementing an earlier dike.[35] From the Yuan dynasty in 1292 until Shanghai officially became a municipality in 1927, central Shanghai was administered as a county under Songjiang Prefecture, which had its seat in the present-day Songjiang District.[36]

Two important events helped promote Shanghai's development in the Ming dynasty. A city wall was built for the first time in 1554 to protect the town from raids by Japanese pirates. It measured 10 m (33 ft) high and 5 km (3 mi) in circumference.[37] And a City God Temple was built in 1602, during the Wanli reign. This honor was usually reserved for prefectural capitals and not normally given to a mere county seat such as Shanghai. Scholars have theorized that this likely reflected the town's economic importance, as opposed to its low political status.[37]

The walled Old City of Shanghai in the 17th century

During the Qing dynasty, Shanghai became one of the most important sea ports in the Yangtze Delta region as a result of two important central government policy changes: in 1684, the Kangxi Emperor reversed the Ming dynasty prohibition on oceangoing vessels—a ban that had been in force since 1525; and in 1732, the Qianlong Emperor moved the customs office for Jiangsu province (; see Customs House, Shanghai) from the prefectural capital of Songjiang to Shanghai, and gave Shanghai exclusive control over customs collections for Jiangsu's foreign trade. As a result of these two critical decisions, Shanghai became the major trade port for all of the lower Yangtze region by 1735, despite still being at the lowest administrative level in the political hierarchy.[38]

Rise and golden age[edit]

A map of Shanghai in 1884; Chinese area are in yellow, French in red, British in blue, American in orange.

In the 19th century, international attention to Shanghai grew due to European recognition of its economic and trade potential at the Yangtze. During the First Opium War (1839–1842), British forces occupied the city.[39] The war ended in 1842 with the Treaty of Nanking, which opened Shanghai as one of the five treaty ports for international trade.[40] The Treaty of the Bogue, the Treaty of Wanghia and the Treaty of Whampoa (signed in 1843, 1844 and 1844, respectively) forced Chinese concession to European and American desires for visitation and trade on Chinese soil. Britain, France, and the United States all carved out outside the walled city of Shanghai, which was still ruled by the Chinese.[41]

The Chinese-held Old City of Shanghai fell to rebels from the Small Swords Society in 1853, but was recovered by the Qing government in February 1855.[42] In 1854, the Shanghai Municipal Council was created to manage the foreign settlements. Between 1860 and 1862, the Taiping rebels twice attacked Shanghai and destroyed the city's eastern and southern suburbs, but failed to take the city.[43] In 1863, the British settlement to the south of Suzhou Creek (northern Huangpu District) and the American settlement to the north (southern Hongkou District) joined in order to form the Shanghai International Settlement. The French opted out of the Shanghai Municipal Council and maintained its own concession to the south and southwest.[44]

The dismantlement of Old City walls, 1911

The First Sino-Japanese War concluded with the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki, which elevated Japan to become another foreign power in Shanghai. Japan built the first factories in Shanghai, which was soon copied by other foreign powers. All this international activity gave Shanghai the nickname "the Great Athens of China".[45] In 1914, the Old City walls were dismantled because they blocked the city's expansion. In July 1921, the Communist Party of China was founded in the French Concession.[41] On May 30, 1925, the May Thirtieth Movement broke out when a worker in a Japanese-owned cotton mill was shot and killed by a Japanese foreman.[46] Workers in the city then launched general strikes against imperialism, which became nation-wide protests that gave rise to Chinese nationalism.[47]

The golden age of Shanghai began with its elevation to municipality on 7 July 1927.[41][48] This new Chinese municipality covered an area of 494.69 km2 (191.0 sq mi), including the modern-day districts of Baoshan, Yangpu, Zhabei, Nanshi, and Pudong, but excluded the foreign concessions territories.[48] Headed by a Chinese mayor and municipal council, the new city government's first task—the Greater Shanghai Plan—was to create a new city center in Jiangwan town of Yangpu district, outside the boundaries of the foreign concessions. The plan included a public museum, library, sports stadium, and city hall, which were partially constructed before being interrupted by the Japanese invasion.[49]

During the ensuing decades, citizens of many countries and all continents came to Shanghai to live and work; those who stayed for long periods⁠⁠—some for generations⁠—called themselves "Shanghailanders".[50] In the 1920s and 1930s, almost 20,000 White Russians fled the newly established Soviet Union to reside in Shanghai.[51] These Shanghai Russians constituted the second-largest foreign community. By 1932, Shanghai had become the world's fifth largest city and home to 70,000 foreigners.[52] In the 1930s, some 30,000 Jewish refugees from Europe arrived in the city.[53]


Zhabei District on fire, 1937

On 28 January 1932, Japanese forces invaded Shanghai and the Chinese resisted. More than 10,000 shops and hundreds of factories were destroyed, leaving Zhabei district ruined. About 18,000 civilians were either killed, injured, or declared missing.[41] A ceasefire was brokered on 5 May.[54] In 1937, the Battle of Shanghai resulted in the occupation of the Chinese-administered parts of Shanghai outside of the International Settlement and the French Concession. People who stayed in the occupied city suffered on a daily basis, experiencing hunger, oppression, or even death.[55] The foreign concessions were ultimately occupied by the Japanese on 8 December 1941 and remained occupied until Japan's surrender in 1945; many war crimes were committed during this time.[56]

On 27 May 1949, the People's Liberation Army took control of Shanghai through the Shanghai Campaign. Under the new People's Republic of China, Shanghai was one of only three municipalities not merged into neighboring provinces (the others being Beijing and Tianjin).[57] Most foreign firms moved their offices from Shanghai to Hong Kong, as part of a foreign divestment due to the PRC's victory.[58]

Modern history[edit]

After the war, Shanghai's economy was restored—from 1949 to 1952, the city's agricultural and industrial output increased by 51.5% and 94.2%, respectively.[41] There were 20 urban districts and 10 suburbs at the time.[59] On 17 January 1958, Jiading, Baoshan, and Shanghai County in Jiangsu became part of Shanghai Municipality, which expanded to 863 km2 (333.2 sq mi). The following December, the land area of Shanghai was further expanded to 5,910 km2 (2,281.9 sq mi) after more surrounding suburban areas in Jiangsu were added: Chongming, Jinshan, Qingpu, Fengxian, Chuansha, and Nanhui.[60] In 1964, the city's administrative divisions were rearranged to 10 urban districts and 10 counties.[59]

As the industrial center of China with most skilled industrial workers, Shanghai became a center for radical leftism during the 1950s and 1960s. The radical leftist Jiang Qing and her three allies, together the Gang of Four, were based in the city.[61] During the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), Shanghai's society was severely damaged, with 310,000 wrongful convictions involving more than 1 million people. About 11,500 people were unjustly persecuted to death. Yet, even during the most tumultuous times of the revolution, Shanghai was able to maintain economic production with positive annual growth rate.[41]

Lujiazui finance and trade zone

Since 1949, Shanghai has been a comparatively heavy contributor of tax revenue to the central government; in 1983, the city's contribution in tax revenue was greater than investment received in the past 33 years combined.[62] This came at the cost of the severely crippling welfare of Shanghainese people and Shanghai's infrastructural and capital development. Its importance to the fiscal well-being of the central government also denied it from economic liberalizations begun in 1978. In 1990, Deng Xiaoping finally permitted Shanghai to initiate economic reforms, which reintroduced foreign capital to the city and developed the Pudong district, resulting in the birth of Lujiazui.[63]


The urban area of Shanghai in 2016, along with its major islands. From northwest to southeast: Chongming, Changxing, Hengsha, and the Jiuduansha shoals off Pudong. The Yangtze's natural sediment discharging can be seen.

Shanghai is located on the Yangtze Estuary of China's east coast, with the Yangtze River to the north and Hangzhou Bay to the south. The land is formed by the Yangtze's natural deposition and modern land reclamation projects. As such, it has sandy soil, and skyscrapers are to be built with deep concrete piles to avoid sinking into the soft ground.[64] The provincial-level Municipality of Shanghai administers both the estuary and many of its surrounding islands. It is roughly equidistant from Beijing and Guangzhou, bordering the East China Sea to the east, Zhejiang to the south, and Jiangsu to the west and north.[65] The municipality's northernmost point is on Chongming Island, which is the second-largest island in mainland China after its expansion during the 20th century.[66] However, it does not include an exclave of Jiangsu on northern Chongming or the two islands forming Shanghai's Yangshan Port, which are parts of Zhejiang's Shengsi County.

Shanghai is located on an alluvial plain. As such, the vast majority of its 6,340.5 km2 (2,448.1 sq mi) land area is flat, with an average elevation of 4 m (13 ft).[9] The city's few hills, such as She Shan, lie to the southwest, and its highest point is the peak of Dajinshan Island (103 m or 338 ft) in Hangzhou Bay.[9] Shanghai has many rivers, canals, streams, and lakes, and it is known for its rich water resources as part of the Lake Tai drainage basin.[7]

View of Baoshan through Huangpu River

Downtown Shanghai is bisected by the Huangpu River, a man-made tributary of the Yangtze created by order of Lord Chunshen during the Warring States period.[32] The historic center of the city was located on the west bank of the Huangpu (Puxi), near the mouth of Suzhou Creek, connecting it with Lake Tai and the Grand Canal. The central financial district, Lujiazui, has been established on the east bank of the Huangpu (Pudong). Along Shanghai's eastern shore, the destruction of local wetlands due to the construction of Pudong International Airport has been partially offset by the protection and expansion of a nearby shoal, Jiuduansha, as a nature preserve.[67]


Shanghai has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with an average annual temperature of 15.8 °C (60.4 °F) for urban districts and 15.2–15.7 °C (59.4–60.3 °F) for suburbs.[64] The city experiences four distinct seasons. Winters are chilly and damp—northwesterly winds from Siberia can cause nighttime temperatures to drop below freezing. Each year, there are an average of 6.2 days with snowfall and 2.8 days with snow cover.[64] Summers are hot and humid, and occasional downpours or freak thunderstorms can be expected. On average, 8.7 days exceed 35 °C (95 °F) annually. In summer and the beginning of autumn, the city is susceptible to typhoons, which have not caused considerable damage in recent years.[68]

The most pleasant seasons are generally spring, although changeable and often rainy, and autumn, which is usually sunny and dry. The city averages 4.8 °C (40.6 °F) in January and 28.6 °C (83.5 °F) in July, for an annual mean of 17.1 °C (62.8 °F). With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 34% in March to 54% in August, the city receives 1,895 hours of bright sunshine annually. Extremes since 1951 have ranged from −10.1 °C (14 °F) on 31 January 1977 (unofficial record of −12.1 °C (10 °F) was set on 19 January 1893) to 40.9 °C (106 °F) on 21 July 2017 at a weather station in Xujiahui.[69][70]

Climate data for Shanghai (normals 1981–2010, extremes 1951–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 22.1
Average high °C (°F) 8.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 4.8
Average low °C (°F) 2.1
Record low °C (°F) −10.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 74.4
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 9.9 9.2 12.4 11.2 10.4 12.7 11.4 12.3 9.1 6.9 7.6 7.7 120.8
Average relative humidity (%) 74 73 73 72 72 79 77 78 75 72 72 71 74
Mean monthly sunshine hours 114.3 119.9 128.5 148.5 169.8 130.9 190.8 185.7 167.5 161.4 131.1 127.4 1,775.8
Source: China Meteorological Administration[71]


View of Lujiazui skyline from Puxi
Nighttime panoramic view of Shanghai's skyline from the Bund
Panoramic view of the Bund from Pudong


Shanghai has a rich collection of buildings and structures of various architectural styles. The Bund, located by the bank of the Huangpu River, is home to a row of early 20th-century architecture, ranging in style from the neoclassical HSBC Building to the Art Deco Sassoon House (now part of the Peace Hotel). Many areas in the former foreign concessions are also well-preserved, the most notable being the French Concession.[72] Shanghai is also home to many architecturally distinctive and even eccentric buildings, including the Shanghai Museum, the Shanghai Grand Theatre, the Shanghai Oriental Art Center, and the Oriental Pearl Tower. Despite rampant redevelopment, the Old City still retains some traditional architecture and designs, such as the Yu Garden, an elaborate Jiangnan style garden.[73]

Art Deco architecture[edit]

As a result of its construction boom during the 1920s and 1930s, Shanghai has among the most Art Deco buildings in the world.[72] One of the most famous architects working in Shanghai was László Hudec, a Hungarian-Slovak who lived in the city between 1918 and 1947.[74] His most notable Art Deco buildings include the Park Hotel, the Grand Theatre, and the Paramount.[75] Other prominent architects who contributed to the Art Deco style are Clement Palmer and Arthur Turner, who together designed the Peace Hotel, the Metropole Hotel, and the Broadway Mansions;[76] and Austrian architect GH Gonda, who designed the Capitol Theater. The Bund has been revitalized several times. The first was in 1986, with a new promenade by the Dutch architect Paulus Snoeren.[77] The second was before the 2010 Expo, which includes restoration of the century-old Waibaidu Bridge and reconfiguration of traffic flow.[78]


One uniquely Shanghainese cultural element is the shikumen (石库门, lit "stone storage door") residence, typically two- or three-story gray brick houses with the front yard protected by a heavy wooden door in a stylistic stone arch.[79] Each residence is connected and arranged in straight alleys, known as longtang[c] (弄堂). The house is similar to western-style terrace houses or townhouses, but distinguishes by the tall, heavy brick wall and archway in front of each house.[81]

The shikumen is a cultural blend of elements found in Western architecture with traditional Jiangnan Chinese architecture and social behavior.[79] Like almost all traditional Chinese dwellings, it has a courtyard, which reduces outside noise. Vegetation can be grown in the courtyard, and it can also allow for sunlight and ventilation to the rooms.[82]

Soviet and Stalinist architecture[edit]

Some of Shanghai's buildings feature Soviet neoclassical architecture or Stalinist architecture, though the city has fewer such structures than Beijing. These buildings were mostly erected between the founding of the People's Republic in 1949 and the Sino-Soviet Split in the late 1960s. During this time period, large numbers of Soviet experts, including architects, poured into China to aid the country in the construction of a communist state. An example of Soviet neoclassical architecture in Shanghai is the modern-day Shanghai Exhibition Center.[83]


Shanghai—Lujiazui in particular—has numerous skyscrapers, making it the fifth city in the world with the most skyscrapers.[84] Among the most prominent examples are the 421 m (1,381 ft) high Jin Mao Tower, the 492 m (1,614 ft) high Shanghai World Financial Center, and the 632 m (2,073 ft) high Shanghai Tower, which is the tallest building in China and the second tallest in the world.[85] Completed in 2015, the tower takes the form of nine twisted sections stacked atop each other, totaling 128 floors.[86] It is featured in its Double-skin facade design, which eliminates the need for either layer to be opaqued for reflectivity as the double-layer structure has already reduced the heat absorption.[87] The futuristic-looking Oriental Pearl Tower, at 468 m (1,535 ft), is located nearby at the northern tip of Lujiazui.[88] Skyscrapers outside of Lujiazui include the White Magnolia Plaza in Hongkou, the Shimao International Plaza in Huangpu, and the Shanghai Wheelock Square in Jing'an.



Current leaders of the Shanghai Municipal Government
Danghui.svg National Emblem of the People's Republic of China (2).svg National Emblem of the People's Republic of China (2).svg Charter of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) logo.svg
Title Party Committee Secretary SMPC Chairwoman Mayor Shanghai CPPCC Chairman
Name Li Qiang Yin Yicui Ying Yong Dong Yunhu
Ancestral home Ruian, Zhejiang Wenzhou, Zhejiang Taizhou, Zhejiang Taizhou, Zhejiang
Born July 1959 (age 60) January 1955 (age 64) November 1957 (age 61) November 1962 (age 56)
Assumed office October 2017[89] February 2013[90] January 2017[91] January 2018[4]
Shanghai municipal government building

Like virtually all governing institutions in mainland China, Shanghai has a parallel party-government system,[92] in which the Party Committee Secretary, officially termed the Communist Party of China Shanghai Municipal Committee Secretary, outranks the Mayor.[93] The party's committee [zh] acts as the top policy-formulation body, and is typically composed of 12 members (including the secretary).[94][95]

Political power in Shanghai has frequently been a stepping stone to higher positions in the central government. Since Jiang Zemin became the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China in June 1989, all former Shanghai party secretaries but one were elevated to the Politburo Standing Committee, the de facto highest decision-making body in China,[92] including Jiang himself (Party General Secretary),[96] Zhu Rongji (Premier),[97] Wu Bangguo (Chairman of the National People's Congress),[98] Huang Ju (Vice Premier),[99] Xi Jinping (current General Secretary),[100] Yu Zhengsheng,[101] and Han Zheng.[102] Zeng Qinghong, a former deputy party secretary of Shanghai, also rose to the Politburo Standing Committee and became the Vice President and an influential power broker.[103] The only exception is Chen Liangyu, who was fired in 2006 and later convicted of corruption.[104]

Officials with ties to the Shanghai administration collectively form a powerful faction in the central government known as the Shanghai Clique, which has often been viewed to compete against the rival Youth League Faction over personnel appointments and policy decisions.[105] However, Xi Jinping, successor to Hu Jintao as General Secretary and President, was largely an independent leader and took anti-corruption campaigns on both factions.[106]

Administrative divisions[edit]

Shanghai is one of the four municipalities under the direct administration of the Government of the People's Republic of China,[107] and is divided into 16 county-level districts.

Administrative divisions of Shanghai
Division code[108] Division Area (km2)[109] Total population 2017[109] Seat Postal code
310000 Shanghai 6340.50 24,183,300 Huangpu 200000
310101 Huangpu 20.46 654,800 Waitan Subdistrict 200000
310104 Xuhui 54.76 1,088,300 Xujiahui Subdistrict 200000
310105 Changning 38.30 693,700 Jiangsu Road Subdistrict 200000
310106 Jing'an 36.88 1,066,200 Jiangning Road Subdistrict 200000
310107 Putuo 54.83 1,284,700 Zhenru Town Subdistrict 200000
310109 Hongkou 23.46 799,000 Jiaxing Road Subdistrict 200000
310110 Yangpu 60.73 1,313,400 Pingliang Road Subdistrict 200000
310112 Minhang 370.75 2,534,300 Xinzhuang town 201100
310113 Baoshan 270.99 2,030,800 Youyi Road Subdistrict 201900
310114 Jiading 464.20 1,581,800 Xincheng Road Subdistrict 201800
310115 Pudong 1210.41 5,528,400 Huamu Subdistrict 201200 & 201300
310116 Jinshan 586.05 801,400 Shanyang town 201500
310117 Songjiang 605.64 1,751,300 Fangsong Subdistrict 201600
310118 Qingpu 670.14 1,205,300 Xiayang Subdistrict 201700
310120 Fengxian 687.39 1,155,300 Nanqiao town 201400
310151 Chongming 1185.49 694,600 Chengqiao town 202100

Although every district has its own urban core, the city hall and major administrative units are located in Huangpu District, which also serves as a commercial area, including the famous Nanjing Road. Other major commercial areas include Xintiandi and Huaihai Road[d] in Huangpu District, and Xujiahui[e] in Xuhui District. Many universities in Shanghai are located in residential areas in Yangpu District and Putuo District.

Map of central Shanghai

Seven of the districts govern Puxi (lit. "The West Bank", or "West of the River Pu"), the older part of urban Shanghai on the west bank of the Huangpu River. These seven districts are collectively referred to as Shanghai Proper (上海市区) or the core city (市中心), which comprise Huangpu, Xuhui, Changning, Jing'an, Putuo, Hongkou, and Yangpu.

Pudong (lit. "The East Bank", or "East of the River Pu"), the newer part of urban and suburban Shanghai on the east bank of the Huangpu River, is governed by Pudong New Area (浦东新区).[f]

Seven of the districts govern suburbs, satellite towns, and rural areas farther away from the urban core: Baoshan,[g] Minhang,[h] Jiading,[i] Jinshan,[j] Songjiang,[k] Qingpu,[l] and Fengxian.[m]

Chongming District comprises the islands of Changxing and Hengsha and most—but not all[n]—of Chongming Island.

The former district of Nanhui was absorbed into Pudong District in 2009. In 2011, Luwan District merged with Huangpu District. As of 2015, these county-level divisions are further divided into the following 210 township-level divisions: 109 towns, 2 townships, and 99 subdistricts. Those are in turn divided into the following village-level divisions: 3,661 neighborhood committees and 1,704 village committees.[113]


Shanghai is the commercial, financial, trade and transportation center of China,[114] with a GDP of ¥3.27 trillions (US$494 billions) that makes up 3.63% of China's GDP,[10][115] and a GDP per capita of ¥135,212 (US$20,425) in 2018.[10] The six pillar industries in Shanghai—retail, finance, IT, real estate, machine manufacturing and automotive manufacturing—consist about half the city's GDP.[116] Average annual disposable income of Shanghai residents was ¥64,183 (US$9,695) per capita in 2018, making it one of the wealthiest cities in China,[10] but the city is also the most expensive city to live in mainland China according to the study of Economist Intelligence Unit in 2017.[117]

Economy of Shanghai since the Chinese economic reform
Year 1978 1980 1983 1986 1990 1993 1996 2000 2003 2006 2010 2013 2016 2017 2018[10]
GDP (¥T)[118] 0.027 0.031 0.035 0.049 0.078 0.152 0.298 0.481 0.676 1.072 1.744 2.226 2.818 3.063 3.268
GDP per Capita (¥K)[118] 2.85 2.73 2.95 3.96 5.91 11.06 20.81 30.31 38.88 55.62 77.28 92.85 116.58 126.63 134.83
Average disposable income
(urban) (¥K)[119][120][121]
0.64 2.18 4.28 8.16 11.72 14.87 20.67 31.84 43.85 57.69 62.60 64.18
Average disposable income
(rural) (¥K)[122][120]
0.40 1.67 4.85 5.57 6.66 9.21 13.75 19.21 25.52 27.82

Shanghai was the largest and most prosperous city in East Asia during the 1930s, and rapid re-development began in the 1990s.[16] In the last two decades Shanghai has been one of the fastest developing cities in the world: it has recorded double-digit growth in almost every year between 1992 and the global recession of 2008.[123]


The Shanghai Stock Exchange has increasing influence over the global capital market.

Shanghai is a global financial center, ranking 5th in the 2018 edition of the Global Financial Centres Index (and third most competitive in Asia after Singapore and Hong Kong) published by the Z/Yen Group and Qatar Financial Centre Authority.[124] In 2009, the Shanghai Stock Exchange ranked third among worldwide stock exchanges in terms of trading volume and sixth in terms of the total capitalization of listed companies, and the trading volume of six key commodities including rubber, copper and zinc on the Shanghai Futures Exchange all ranked first in the world.[125] By the end of 2009, there were 787 financial institutions, of which 170 were foreign-invested.[126] In September 2013, with the backing of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang the city launched the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free-Trade Zone-the first free-trade zone in mainland China. The Zone introduced a number of pilot reforms designed to create a preferential environment for foreign investment. In April 2014, The Banker reported that Shanghai "has attracted the highest volumes of financial sector foreign direct investment in the Asia-Pacific region in the 12 months to the end of January 2014".[127] In August 2014, Shanghai was named FDi magazine's Chinese Province of the Future 2014/15 due to "particularly impressive performances in the Business Friendliness and Connectivity categories, as well as placing second in the Economic Potential and Human Capital and Lifestyle categories".[128]


The F-22P frigate built by Hudong-Zhonghua for the Pakistan Navy

Shanghai is one of the main industrial centers of China, playing a key role in China's heavy industries. A large number of industrial zones, including Shanghai Hongqiao Economic and Technological Development Zone, Jinqiao Export Economic Processing Zone, Minhang Economic and Technological Development Zone, and Shanghai Caohejing High-Tech Development Zone, are backbones of Shanghai's secondary industry. Heavy industries accounted for 78% of the gross industrial output in 2009. China's largest steelmaker Baosteel Group, China's largest shipbuilding base – Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group, and the Jiangnan Shipyard, one of China's oldest shipbuilders are all located in Shanghai.[129][130] Auto manufacture is another important industry. The Shanghai-based SAIC Motor is one of the three largest automotive corporations in China, and has strategic partnerships with Volkswagen and General Motors.[131]


The Nanjing Pedestrian Street in the evening, looking towards the Radisson New World Hotel. This is a popular commercial center in Shanghai.
The Nanjing Pedestrian Street in the evening, with the he Radisson New World Hotel in the background

Tourism in general is a major industry of the city. In 2016, 296 million domestic tourists and 8.54 million overseas tourists visited Shanghai for an approximate increase of 7% from the previous year.[132] The conference and meeting sector is also growing. In 2012, the city hosted 780 international gatherings, up from 754 in 2011. The high supply of hotel rooms has kept room rates lower than expected, with the average room rate for four- and five-star hotels in 2012 at just RMB950 (US$153).[133]

Free-trade zone[edit]

As of September 2013, Shanghai is also home to the largest free-trade zone in mainland China, the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free-Trade Zone. The zone covers an area of 29 km2 (11 sq mi) and integrates four existing bonded zones — Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone, Waigaoqiao Free Trade Logistics Park, Yangshan Free Trade Port Area and Pudong Airport Comprehensive Free Trade Zone. Several preferential policies have been implemented to attract foreign investment in various industries to the FTZ. Because the Zone is not technically considered PRC territory for tax purposes, commodities entering the zone are not subject to duty and customs clearance as would otherwise be the case.


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Population size may be affected by changes to administrative divisions.

As of 2018, Shanghai has a total population of 24,237,800, 14,551,300 (59.7%) of whom are hukou holders.[10] According to the nation census in 2010, 89.3% of Shanghai's population are urban and 10.7% are rural.[136] Based on the population of its total administrative area, Shanghai is the second largest of the four municipalities of China, behind Chongqing, but is generally considered the largest Chinese city because Chongqing's urban population is much smaller.[137]

Among all residents in Shanghai about 157,900 are foreigners, including 28,900 Japanese, 21,900 Americans and 20,800 Koreans,[138] but the real number of foreign citizens in the city is probably much higher.[139] Shanghai is also a domestic immigration city, with 40.3% (9.8 million) of the city's residents come from other regions of China.[10]

Shanghai has a life expectancy of 83.63 for the city's huji population,[140] putting it the top in mainland China in terms of life expectancy. However the longevity has also caused the city to age severely, with 33.1% (4.8 million) of the city's huji population aged 60 or above in 2017.[141]

The encompassing metropolitan area was estimated by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) to have, as of 2010, a population of 34 million.[142][11]

Residential houses in Fengxian Lu, Jing'an District

In 2017 the Chinese Government implemented population controls for Shanghai. The population of Shanghai has declined by 10,000 from this policy by the end of 2017.[143]


Religion in Shanghai (2012)[144]

  Non religious or traditional faiths (86.9%)
  Buddhism (10.4%)
  Protestantism (1.9%)
  Catholicism (0.7%)
  Others (0.1%)

Due to its cosmopolitan history, Shanghai has a blend of religious heritage as shown by the religious buildings and institutions still scattered around the city. According to a 2012 survey[144] only around 13% of the population of Shanghai belongs to organised religions, the largest groups being Buddhists with 10.4%, followed by Protestants with 1.9%, Catholics with 0.7% and other faiths with 0.1%. Around 87% of the population may be either irreligious or involved in worship of nature deities and ancestors, Confucian churches, Taoism and folk religious sects.

There are folk religious temples such as the City God Temple, at the heart of the Old City, and a temple dedicated to the Three Kingdoms general Guan Yu. The White Cloud Temple of Shanghai is an important Taoist center in the city. The Wenmiao (Temple of the God of Culture) is dedicated to Confucius.

Buddhism, in its Chinese varieties, has had a presence in Shanghai since ancient times. The Longhua Temple, the largest temple in Shanghai, and the Jing'an Temple, were first founded in the Three Kingdoms period. Another important temple is the Jade Buddha Temple, which is named after a large statue of Buddha carved out of jade in the temple. In recent decades, dozens of modern temples have been built throughout the city.

Islam came into Shanghai 700 years ago and a mosque was built in 1295 in Songjiang. In 1843, a teachers' college was also set up. The Shanghai Muslim Association is located in the Xiaotaoyuan Mosque in Huangpu.

Shanghai has one of the largest proportions of Catholics in China (2003).[145] Among Catholic churches, St Ignatius Cathedral in Xujiahui is one of the largest, while She Shan Basilica is an active pilgrimage site.

Other forms of Christianity in Shanghai include Eastern Orthodox minorities and, since 1996, registered Christian Protestant churches. During World War II thousands of Jews emigrated to Shanghai in an effort to flee Hitler's regime. The Jews lived side-by-side in a designated area called Shanghai Ghetto and formed a vibrant community centered on the Ohel Moishe Synagogue,[146] which is a preserved remnant of this portion of Shanghai's complex religious past.[147]


The vernacular language spoken in the city is Shanghainese, a dialect of the Taihu Wu subgroup of the Wu Chinese family. This makes it a different language from the official language nationwide, which is Mandarin, itself completely mutually unintelligible with Wu Chinese. Most Shanghai residents are the descendants of immigrants from the two adjacent provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang who moved to Shanghai in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The population of those regions speak different Wu Chinese dialects. From the 1990s, many migrants outside of the Wu-speaking region have come to Shanghai for work and education. They often cannot speak or learn the local language and therefore use Mandarin as a lingua franca.

Modern Shanghainese is based on different dialects of Taihu Wu: Suzhounese, Ningbonese and dialects of Shanghai's traditional areas (now lying within the Hongkou, Baoshan and Pudong districts). The prestige dialect of Wu Chinese is spoken within the city of Shanghai prior to its modern expansion. Known as "the local tongue" (), it is influenced to a lesser extent by the languages of other nearby regions from which large numbers of people have migrated to Shanghai since the 20th century, and includes a significant number of terms borrowed from European languages. The prevalence of Mandarin fluency is generally higher for those born after 1949 than those born before, while the prevalence of English fluency is higher for people who received their secondary and tertiary education before 1949 than those who did so after 1949 and before the 1990s. On the other hand, however, Shanghainese started to decline and fluency amongst young speakers weakened, as Mandarin and English are being favoured and taught over the native language. In recent years though, there have been movements within the city to protect and promote the local language from ever fading out.[148][149]


University City District in Songjiang

The city government's education agency is the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission.

Shanghai is a major center of higher education in China with over 30 universities and colleges. By the end of 2018, Shanghai had 64 universities and colleges, 913 secondary schools, 721 primary schools and 30 special schools.[10] A number of China's most prestigious universities are based in Shanghai, including Fudan University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Tongji University, East China Normal University (these universities are selected as "985 universities" by the Chinese Government in order to build world-class universities). In 2012 NYU Shanghai was established in Pudong by New York University in partnership with East China Normal University as the first Sino-US joint venture university. In 2013 the Shanghai Municipality and the Chinese Academy of Sciences founded the ShanghaiTech University in the Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park in Pudong. This new research university is aiming to be a first-class institution on a national and international level.[150] The cadre school China Executive Leadership Academy in Pudong is also located in Shanghai, as well as the China Europe International Business School.


Public transportation[edit]

The Shanghai Metro is the largest metro system in the world.

Shanghai has an extensive public transportation system, largely based on metros, buses and taxis. It is also home to the world's busiest port, the Shanghai Port.[151] Payment for all these public transportation tools can be made by using the Shanghai Public Transportation Card.

Shanghai's rapid transit system, the Shanghai Metro, incorporates both subway and light metro lines and extends to every core urban district as well as neighboring suburban districts. As of 2017, there are 16 metro lines (excluding the Shanghai Maglev Train and Jinshan Railway), 395 stations and 673 km (418 mi) of lines in operation, making it the longest network in the world.[152] On 8 March 2019, it set a record of daily ridership of 13.3 million.[153] The fare depends on the length of travel distance starting from ¥3.

A maglev train leaving Pudong International Airport

Opened in 2004, Shanghai maglev train is the first and the fastest commercial high-speed maglev in the world, with a daily maximum operation speed of 430 km/h (267 mph).[154] The train connects the 30 km journey between Longyang Road Station and Pudong International Airport in 7 minutes 20 seconds,[155] comparing to 32 minutes by Metro Line 2[156] and 30 minutes by car.[157] A one-way ticket costs ¥50 (US$8), or ¥40 ($6.40) for those with airline tickets or public transportation cards. A round-trip return ticket costs ¥80 ($12.80) and VIP tickets cost double the standard fare.[158]

A tram of Songjiang Tram T2 at Canghua Road Station

Shanghai reintroduced trams in 2010, this time as a modern rubber tyred Translohr system, in Zhangjiang area of East Shanghai as Zhangjiang Tram.[159] Another regular tram network, Songjiang Tram started operating in Songjiang District in 2018.[160] Additional tram lines are under study in Hongqiao Subdistrict and Jiading District.

Shanghai also has the world's most extensive bus network, including the world's oldest continuously operating trolleybus system, with nearly 1,500 lines covering a total length of 24,161 km (15,013 mi) by 2017.[161] The system is operated by a combination of companies.[162] Bus fare normally costs ¥2.

BRT line 71 on the Bund

Taxis are plentiful in Shanghai: By 2017, a total number of 46,400 vehicles were in operation.[161] Taxis base fare is ¥14(sedan)/¥16(MPV) (inclusive of a ¥1 fuel surcharge; ¥18 between 11:00 pm and 5:00 am) which covers the first 3 km (2 mi). Additional km cost ¥2.4 each (¥3.2 between 11:00 pm and 5:00 am).[163] Ride share giants like DiDi and Uber are playing major roles in urban tranportation besides the traditional taxi system. Cost of DiDi rides are comparable to that of taxis and sometimes even lower due to subsidies from DiDi.[164]

Roads and expressway network[edit]

Shanghai is a major hub of China's expressway network. Many national expressways (prefixed with G) pass through or terminate in Shanghai, including China Expwy G2 sign no name.svg Jinghu Expressway (overlapping China Expwy G42 sign no name.svg Hurong Expressway), China Expwy G15 sign no name.svg Shenhai Expressway, China Expwy G40 sign no name.svg Hushaan Expressway, China Expwy G50 sign no name.svg Huyu Expressway, China Expwy G60 sign no name.svg Hukun Expressway (overlapping China Expwy G92 sign no name.svg Hangzhou Bay Ring Expressway), and China Expwy G1503 sign no name.svg Shanghai Ring Expressway.[165] In addition, there are also numerous municipal expressways prefixed with S (S1, S2, S20, etc.).[165] As of 2019, Shanghai has a total 12 bridges and 14 tunnels across the Huangpu River.[166][167] Shanghai Yangtze River Bridge to the north of the city is the only bridge–tunnel complex across Yangtze River in Shanghai.

The expressway network within the city center consists of North–South Elevated Road, Yan'an Elevated Road and Inner Ring Road, followed by Middle Ring Road, Shanghai Expwy S20 sign no name.svg Outer Ring Expressway and China Expwy G1503 sign no name.svg Shanghai Ring Expressway.

Bicycle-sharing systems, such as ofo and Mobike (both pictured), are common in Shanghai.

Bicycle lanes are commonplace in Shanghai, separating non-motorized traffic from car traffic on most surface streets. However, on some main roads, including all expressways, bicycles and motorcycles are banned. In recent years cycling has seen a resurgence in popularity thanks to the emergence of a large number of dockless app-based bicycle-sharing systems such as Mobike, Bluegogo, and ofo.[168]

Private car ownership in Shanghai has been rapidly increasing in recent years, but a new private car cannot be driven until the owner buys a license in the monthly private car license plate auction. Around 11,500 license plates are auctioned each month and the average price is about 84,000 RMB ($12,758). According to the municipal regulation in 2016, only those who are Shanghai registered residents or have paid social insurance or individual incomer tax for over 3 years in a row. The purpose of this policy is to limit the growth of automobile traffic and to alleviate congestion.[169]


A CR400AF high-speed bullet train departing from Shanghai railway station

Shanghai has four major railway stations: Shanghai railway station, Shanghai South railway station, Shanghai West railway station, and Shanghai Hongqiao railway station.[170] All are connected to the metro network and serve as hubs in the railway network of China.

The earliest railway in Shanghai was the Woosung railway built in 1876, which was also the earliest railway in operation in China.[171] By 1909, Huning Railway (Shanghai-Nanjing) and Huhang Railway (Shanghai-Hangzhou) had been in service.[172][173] Today, the two railways has been integrated into China Railways.svgJinghu railway from Beijing, and China Railways.svgHukun railway from Kunming, respectively, forming two main railways in China.[174]:2353

Shanghai has four high-speed railways: Beijing–Shanghai high-speed railway, Shanghai–Kunming high-speed railway, Shanghai–Wuhan–Chengdu passenger railway and Shanghai–Nanjing intercity railway, with two high-speed rail lines in construction: Shanghai–Nantong railway and Shanghai–Suzhou–Huzhou railway [zh].[175][176]

Shanghai also has four commuter railways: Pudong railway and Jinshan Railway operated by China Railway and Line 16 and Line 17 operated by Shanghai Metro.[177][178] Three more lines: Chongming line, Jiamin line and Shanghai Airport Link [zh] are in construction.[178][179]


Shanghai is one of the leading air transportation gateways in Asia. The city has two commercial airports: Aiga departingflights inv.svgShanghai Pudong International Airport and Aiga departingflights inv.svgShanghai Hongqiao International Airport.[180] Pudong International Airport is the main international airport, while Hongqiao Airport mainly operates domestic flights with limited short-haul international flights. In 2018 Pudong International Airport served 74.0 million passengers and handled 3.8 million tons of cargo, making it the ninth busiest airports by passengers and third busiest by cargoes.[181] Hongqiao Airport served 43.6 million passengers, making it the nineteenth busiest airports by passengers.[181]


Due to Yangshan Port, Shanghai has become the world's busiest container port.

The Port of Shanghai has grown rapidly to the largest port in China since it opened.[182] Wharves are clusttered along the Huangpu River at first. Yangshan Port is built in 2005 because the river is not suitable for docking large container ships. The port is connected with the continent through Donghai Bridge, which has a total length of 32 kilometers. Although the port is run by Shanghai International Port Group under Shanghai government, it locates in Shengsi County, Zhejiang.[183]

Overtaking Singapore in 2010,[184] the Port of Shanghai has become world's busiest container port with an annual TEU transportation of 42,010,000 in 2018.[185] Besides cargoes, the Port of Shanghai handled 512 cruises and 2.97 millions of passengers in 2017.[186]


Shanghai Citi Bank Building operates a light show, shining the phrase "I love Shanghai".

Shanghai was formerly a part of Jiangsu province and still shares strong cultural similarities with Jiangsu although mass migration from all across China and the rest of the world has made Shanghai a melting pot of different cultures. It is geographically a part of the Jiangnan region and as such, Wuyue culture dominated Shanghai but the influx of Western influences since the 20th century has generated a unique "East Meets West" Haipai culture. Shanghai is sometimes considered a center of innovation and progress in China. It was in Shanghai, for example, that the first motor car was driven and (technically) the first train tracks and modern sewers were laid. It was also the intellectual battleground between socialist writers who concentrated on critical realism, which was pioneered by Lu Xun, Mao Dun, Nien Cheng and the famous French novel by André Malraux, Man's Fate, and the more "bourgeois", more romantic and aesthetically inclined writers, such as Shi Zhecun, Shao Xunmei, Ye Lingfeng and Eileen Chang.[citation needed]

In the past years Shanghai has been widely recognized as a new influence and inspiration for cyberpunk culture.[187] Futuristic buildings such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the neon-illuminated Yan'an Elevated Road are a few examples that have helped to boost Shanghai's cyberpunk image.


The China Art Museum, located in Pudong

Cultural curation in Shanghai has seen significant growth since 2013, with several new museums having been opened in the city.[188] This is in part due to the city's most recently released city development plans, with aims in making the city "an excellent global city".[189] As such, Shanghai has several museums[190] of regional and national importance.[191] The Shanghai Museum has one of the best collections of Chinese historical artifacts in the world, including a large collection of ancient Chinese bronzes. The China Art Museum, located in the former China Pavilion of Expo 2010, is the largest art museum in Asia. Power Station of Art is built in a converted power station, similar to London's Tate Modern. The Shanghai Natural History Museum and the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum are major natural history and science museums. In addition, there is a variety of smaller, specialist museums housed in important archaeological and historical sites such as the Songze Museum, the Museum of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, the site of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea, the former Ohel Moshe Synagogue (Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum), and the General Post Office Building (Shanghai Postal Museum). The Rockbund Art Museum is also in Shanghai. There are also many art galleries, concentrated in the M50 Art District and Tianzifang. Shanghai is also home to one of China's largest aquariums, the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium. MoCA, Museum of Contemporary Art of Shanghai, is a private museum centrally located in People's Park on West Nanjing Road, and is committed to promote contemporary art and design.


Xiaolongbao, a type of steamed bun from the Jiangnan region

Shanghai cuisine emphasises the use of condiments and meanwhile retaining the original flavours of the raw ingredients materials. Sugar is an important ingredient in Shanghai cuisine, especially when used in combination with soy sauce.[192] Another characteristic is the use of a great variety of seafood and freshwater food. Followings are Shanghai's signature dishes:

  • Xiaolongbao – A type of steamed bun made with a thin skin of dough and stuffed with pork or minced crabmeat, and soup. The delicious soup inside can be hold up until it is bitten.[193]
  • Shengjian mantou – A type of small, pan-fried steamed bun which is a specialty of Shanghai. It is made from leavened or semi-leavened dough, wrapped around pork (most commonly found) and gelatin fillings that melts into soup/liquid when cooked.[194]
  • Shanghai hairy crab– A variety of Chinese mitten crab. The crab is usually steamed with fragrant ginger, and consumed with a dipping sauce of rice vinegar, sugar and ginger. Mixing crabmeat with lard to make Xiefen, and consuming it in xiaolongbao or with tofu is another highlight of hairy crab season.[195]
Shanghai hairy crab's original taste is best preserved with steaming.
  • Squirrel-shaped mandarin fish – This dish uses fresh mandarin fish. The fish is deep-fried and has a crispy exterior and soft interior. Yellow and red in color, it is displayed in the shape of a squirrel on the plate. Hot broth is poured over, which produces a high-pitched sound. Sour and sweet flavours are combined in this dish.[196]
  • Sweet and sour spare ribs – One of the best known rib dishes. The fresh pork ribs, which appear shiny and red after being cooked, are traditionally deep fried then coated in a delicious sweet and sour sauce.[197]
  • Shanghai-style borscht – A Shanghai variety of borscht. The recipe was changed by removing beetroot and using tomato paste to color the soup and to add to its sweetness, cream is replaced by flour to generate thickness without inducing sourness as well.[198]

Visual arts[edit]

十万图之四 (No. 4 of a Hundred Thousand Scenes) by Ren Xiong, a pioneer of the Shanghai School of Chinese art, c. 1850

The "Songjiang School" (淞江派), containing the "Huating School" (华亭派) founded by Gu Zhengyi,[199] was a small painting school appeared in Shanghai during the Ming Dynasty and dominanted the painting style in Jiangnan during the Qing Dynasty.[200] It was represented by Dong Qichang.[201] The school was commonly considered as a further development of the Wu School in the then-cultural center of the region, Suzhou.[202]

In the mid 19th century, the "Shanghai School" movement commenced, focusing less on the symbolism emphasized by the Literati style but more on the visual content of the painting itself through the use of bright colors. Secular objects like flowers and birds were often selected as themes.[203] Western art was introduced to Shanghai in 1847 by a Spanish missionary named Joannes Ferrer (范廷佐), and the first western atelier in Shanghai was established in 1864 inside the T'ou-sè-wè orphanage [zh].[204] During the Republic of China, many famous artists including Zhang Daqian, Liu Haisu, Xu Beihong, Feng Zikai and Yan Wenliang settled in Shanghai thus it gradually became the art center of China. Various art forms—photography, wood carving, sculpture, comics (Manhua) and Lianhuanhua—emerged. Sanmao, one of the most well-known comics in China, was created then to dramatize the confusion brought about to society by the Second Sino-Japanese War.[205]

Today, the most comprehensive art and cultural facility in Shanghai is the China Art Museum. In addition, the city's Guohua is represented by the Chinese painting academy[206] while the Power Station of Art plays an important role in the contemporary art.[207] First held in 1996, the Shanghai Biennale has now become an important place for Chinese and foreign arts to interact.[208]

Performing arts[edit]

Mei Lanfang performing the Peking opera "Resisting the Jin Army" at Tianchan Theatre

Traditional Xiqu became the main way of entertainment for the public in the late 19th century. In the early 20th century, monologue and burlesque in Shanghainese appeared in Shanghai, absorbing elements from traditional dramas. The Great World opened in 1912 is a significant stage at the time.[209]

In 1920s, Pingtan expanded from Suzhou to Shanghai due to the arrival of many famous performers.[210] With the abundant commercial radio stations, Pingtan art developed rapidly to 103 programs every day by the 1930s. At the same time, Shanghai also formed a Shanghai style of Beijing Opera led by Zhou Xinfang and Gai Jiaotian [zh], and attracted lots of Xiqu masters like Mei Lanfang to the city.[211] A small troupe from Shengxian (now Shengzhou), Zhejiang also began to promote Yue opera on the Shanghainese stage.[212] A unique style of opera, Shanghai opera, is formed when the local folksongs collided with modern operas.[213]

As of 2012, the well-known Xiqu troupes in Shanghai include Shanghai Jingju Theatre Company, Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe [zh], Shanghai Yue Opera House and Shanghai Huju Opera House.[214] The Kunqu Troupe often perform overseas.[215]

Drama appeared in missionary schools in Shanghai in the late 19th century. Back then, it was mainly performed in English. Scandals in Officialdom (官场丑史; guānchǎng chóushǐ), staged in 1899, was one of the earliest recorded plays.[216] In 1907, Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly (黑奴吁天录; hēinú xūtiānlù) was performed at the Lyceum Theatre [zh].[217] After the New Culture Movement, drama had become a popular way for students and intellectuals to express their views.

Numerous influential musicals and operas have taken place in Shanghai, including Les Misérables, Cats[218] and La bohème from Giacomo Puccini,[219] etc. Conversely, many dramas and stage plays set in Shanghai, for example, The Bund series produced by TVB and Secret Love for the Peach Blossom Spring directed by Stan Lai.[220]

Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre, Shanghai Opera House and Shanghai Theatre Academy are four major institutes of theater training in Shanghai. The Dramatic Arts Centre focuses on drama,[221] while the musicals and western operas mainly rely on international troupes. Notable theaters in Shanghai today include the Shanghai Grand Theatre, the Oriental Art Center and the People's Theatre.


Nanking Theatre (now Shanghai Concert Hall) in 1934, showing Tarzan and His Mate

Shanghai was the birthplace of Chinese cinema[222] and theater. China's first short film, The Difficult Couple (1913), and the country's first fictional feature film, An Orphan Rescues His Grandfather (孤兒救祖記; Gū'ér jiù zǔjì, 1923) were both produced in Shanghai. These two films were very influential, and established Shanghai as the center of Chinese film-making. Shanghai's film industry went on to blossom during the early 1930s, generating great stars such as Hu Die, Ruan Lingyu, Zhou Xuan, Jin Yan, and Zhao Dan. Another film star, Jiang Qing, went on to become Madame Mao Zedong. The exile of Shanghainese filmmakers and actors as a result of the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Communist revolution contributed enormously to the development of the Hong Kong film industry. Many aspects of Shanghainese popular culture ("Shanghainese Pops") were transferred to Hong Kong by the numerous Shanghainese emigrants and refugees after the Communist Revolution. The movie In the Mood for Love, which was directed by Wong Kar-wai (a native Shanghainese himself), depicts a slice of the displaced Shanghainese community in Hong Kong[223] and the nostalgia for that era, featuring 1940s music by Zhou Xuan.


In this Shanghainese soap advertisement from the 1930s, two women are wearing Shanghai-styled qipao while playing golf.

Other Shanghainese cultural artifacts include the cheongsam (Shanghainese: zansae), a modernization of the traditional Manchurian qipao. This contrasts sharply with the traditional qipao, which was designed to conceal the figure and be worn regardless of age. The cheongsam went along well with the western overcoat and the scarf, and portrayed a unique East Asian modernity, epitomizing the Shanghainese population in general. As Western fashions changed, the basic cheongsam design changed, too, introducing high-neck sleeveless dresses, bell-like sleeves, and the black lace frothing at the hem of a ball gown. By the 1940s, cheongsams came in transparent black, beaded bodices, matching capes and even velvet. Later, checked fabrics became also quite common. The 1949 Communist Revolution ended the cheongsam and other fashions in Shanghai. However, the Shanghainese styles have seen a recent revival as stylish party dresses. The fashion industry has been rapidly revitalizing in the past decade. Like Shanghai's architecture, local fashion designers strive to create a fusion of western and traditional designs, often with innovative if controversial results.

In recent times Shanghai has established its own fashion week called Shanghai Fashion Week. It is held twice every year in October and April. The April session is a part of Shanghai International Fashion Culture Festival which usually lasts for a month, while Shanghai Fashion Week lasts for seven days, and the main venue is in Fuxing Park, Shanghai, while the opening and closing ceremony is in Shanghai Fashion Center.[224] Supported by the People's Republic Ministry of Commerce, Shanghai Fashion Week is a major business and culture event of national significance hosted by the Shanghai Municipal Government. Shanghai Fashion Week is aiming to build up an international and professional platform, gathering all of the top design talents of Asia. The event features international designers but the primary purpose is to showcase Chinese designers.[225] The international presence has included many of the most promising young British fashion designers.[226]


F1 Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai
Shanghai Masters in Qizhong Stadium

Shanghai is home to several soccer teams, including two in the Chinese Super LeagueShanghai Greenland Shenhua and Shanghai SIPG. Another professional team, Shanghai Shenxin, is currently in China League One. China's top tier basketball team, the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association, developed Yao Ming before he entered the NBA. Shanghai also has an ice hockey team, China Dragon, and a baseball team, the Shanghai Golden Eagles, which plays in the China Baseball League.

Yao Ming was born in Shanghai.

Shanghai is home to many outstanding and well-known Chinese professional athletes, such as Yao Ming, the 110-meter hurdler Liu Xiang, the table-tennis player Wang Liqin and the former world women's single champion and current Olympic silver medalist badminton player Wang Yihan.

As of 2004, Shanghai hosts the Chinese Grand Prix, a round of the Formula One World Championship. The race is staged annually at the Shanghai International Circuit.[227] It hosted the 1000th Formula One race on 14 April 2019. In 2010, Shanghai also became the host city of Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM), which raced in a street circuit in Pudong. In 2012, Shanghai started to host 6 Hours of Shanghai as one round from the inaugural season of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Shanghai also holds the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament which is part of ATP World Tour Masters 1000, and the BMW Masters and WGC-HSBC Champions golf tournaments.[228]

The Shanghai Cricket Club is a cricket club based in Shanghai. The club dates back to 1858 when the first recorded cricket match was played between a team of British Naval officers and a Shanghai 11. Following a 45-year dormancy after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the club was re-established in 1994 by expatriates living in the city and has since grown to over 300 members. The Shanghai cricket team was a cricket team that played various international matches between 1866 and 1948. With cricket in the rest of China almost non-existent, for that period they were the de facto Chinese national side.[229]

On 21 September 2017, Shanghai hosted a National Hockey League (NHL) ice hockey exhibition game featured the Los Angeles Kings vs. the Vancouver Canucks as an effort to garner fan interest in China for the 2017–18 season.[230]


Parks and resorts[edit]

The extensive public park system in Shanghai offers the citizens some reprieve from the urban jungle. By 2017, the city had 248 parks with a total area of 19,805 hectares.[231] Some of the parks, aside from offering a green public space to locals, became popular tourist attractions due to their unique location, history or architecture.

The former racetrack turned central park, People's Square park, located in the heart of downtown Shanghai, is especially well known for its proximity to other major landmarks in the city. Fuxing Park, located in the former French Concession, features formal French-style gardens and is surrounded by high end bars and cafes. Zhongshan Park in northwestern central Shanghai is famous for its monument of Chopin, the tallest statue dedicated to the composer in the world. Built in 1914 as Jessfield Park, it once contained the campus of St. John's University, Shanghai's first international college; today, it is known for its extensive rose and peony gardens, a large children's play area, and as the location of an important transfer station on the metro system. One of the newest parks is in the Xujiahui—Xujiahui Park [zh]—built in 1999 on the former grounds of the Great Chinese Rubber Works Factory and the EMI Recording Studio (now La Villa Rouge restaurant). The park has an artificial lake with a sky bridge running across the park, offering a pleasant respite for Xujiahui shoppers. Shanghai Botanical Garden is located 12 km (7 mi) southwest of the city center and was established in 1978. In 2011, another yet the biggest botanical garden in Shanghai—Shanghai Chen Shan Botanical Garden—opened in Songjiang District.[232]

Enchanted Storybook Castle of Shanghai Disneyland

Other well-known parks in Shanghai include Lu Xun Park, Century Park, Gucun Park [zh], Gongqing Forest Park, and Jing'an Park.

The Shanghai Disney Resort Project was approved by the government on 4 November 2009,[233] and opened in 2016.[234] The $4.4 billion theme park and resort in Pudong features a castle that is the biggest among Disney's resorts.[235]

Environmental protection[edit]

A residual waste truck and a kitchen waste truck on Zhonghua Road

Public awareness of the environment is growing, and the city is investing in a number of environmental protection projects. A 14-year cleanup of Suzhou Creek, which runs through the city-center, was finished in 2012, and 1.3 million cubic meters of sludge has been removed.[236] Additionally, the government has moved almost all the factories within the city center to either the outskirts or other provinces,[237] and provided incentives for transportation companies to invest in LPG buses and taxis.

From 1 July 2019, Shanghai adopt a new garbage classification. This system sort out waste into: recyclable waste, hazardous waste, residual waste, and kitchen waste.[238]

Air pollution[edit]

Air pollution in Shanghai is not as severe as in many other Chinese cities, but still substantial by world standards.[239] During the December 2013 Eastern China smog, air pollution rates reached between 23 and 31 times the international standard.[240][241] On 6 December 2013, levels of PM2.5 particulate matter in Shanghai rose above 600 micrograms per cubic meter and in the surrounding area, above 700 micrograms per cubic metre.[241] Levels of PM2.5 in Putuo District reached 726 micrograms per cubic meter.[242][243] As a result, the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission received orders to suspend students' outdoor activities. Authorities pulled nearly one-third of government vehicles from the roads, while a mass of construction work was halted. Most of inbound flights were canceled, and more than 50 flights were diverted at Pudong International Airport.[244]

On 23 January 2014, Yang Xiong, the mayor of Shanghai municipality announced that three main measures would be taken to manage the air pollution in Shanghai, along with surrounding Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.[245] The measures involved delivery of the 2013 air cleaning program, linkage mechanism with the three surrounding provinces and improvement of the ability of early warning of emergency situation.[245] On 12 February 2014, China's cabinet announced that a 10-billion-renminbi (US$1.7-billion) fund will be set up to help companies to meet new environmental standards.[246]


In regard to foreign publications in Shanghai, Hartmut Walravens of the IFLA Newspapers Section said that when the Japanese controlled Shanghai in the 1940s "it was very difficult to publish good papers – one either had to concentrate on emigration problems, or cooperate like the Chronicle".[247]

Newspapers publishing in Shanghai include:

Newspapers formerly published in Shanghai include:


International relations[edit]

The city is the home of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a Eurasian political, economic, and security organization.

Shanghai is twinned with:[248]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Traditional Chinese: [22]
  2. ^ Traditional Chinese: 滬瀆[23]
  3. ^ Shanghainese romanization: longdhang; pronunciation: [lòŋdɑ̃́][80]
  4. ^ historically "Avenue Joffre"[110]
  5. ^ Shanghainese romanization: Xhigawhe, Zikawei, or Siccawei; pronunciation: [ʑìkᴀ̋ɦuᴇ᷆]
  6. ^ Chuansha County until 1992;[59] merged with Nanhui District in 2009 with oversight of the Jiuduansha shoals[111]
  7. ^ Baoshan County and Wusong District until 1988[59]
  8. ^ Original Minhang District and Shanghai County until 1992[59]
  9. ^ Jiading County until 1992[59]
  10. ^ Jinshan County until 1997
  11. ^ Songjiang County until 1998
  12. ^ Qingpu County until 1999
  13. ^ Fengxian County until 2001
  14. ^ The absorption of the separate island of Yonglongsha by Chongming in the 1970s has produced a narrow pene-enclave of Jiangsu along about 20 kilometers (12 mi) of the northern shore of the island, separately administered as Nantong's Haiyong and Qilong townships.[112]


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]