Shanghai (Chinese: 上海) is the largest city in China, and one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, with over 20 million people.Located on China’s central eastern coast at the mouth of the Yangtze River, the city is administered as a municipality of the People’s Republic of China with province-level status.
Originally a fishing and textiles town, Shanghai grew to importance in the 19th century due to its favorable port location and as one of the cities opened to foreign trade by the 1842 Treaty of Nanking. The city flourished as a center of commerce between east and west, and became a multinational hub of finance and business by the 1930s. However, Shanghai’s prosperity was interrupted after the 1949 Communist takeover and the subsequent cessation of foreign investment. Economic reforms in 1990 resulted in intense development and financing in Shanghai, and in 2005 Shanghai became the world’s largest cargo port.
The city is a tourist destination renowned for its historical landmarks such as the Bund and City God Temple, its modern and ever-expanding Pudong skyline including the Oriental Pearl Tower, and its new reputation as a cosmopolitan center of culture and design. Today, Shanghai is the largest center of commerce and finance in mainland China, and has been described as the “showpiece” of the world’s fastest-growing major economy.
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CS Shanghai covers the Consular District of Jiangsu, Anhui and Zhejiang provinces and the City of Shanghai. The region’s GDP was over US$ 197.9 billion in 2008, accounting for roughly 4.5 percent of China’s total GDP. The economy of this region, known as East China, is roughly equivalent to that of the Philippines. The GDP of Shanghai alone grew 9.7percent to over the same period in 2007, accounting for over 4.5 percent of China’s total output. GDP per capita in Shanghai is over US$ 10,529.
Shanghai is the industrial, financial, and commercial center of China. It hosts a concentration of manufacturing activity in such key industries as automotive, electronics, telecommunications, machinery, textiles, iron and steel, and petrochemicals. Shanghai has a population of some 18.8 million, not including up to three million visitors who are in the city on any given day.
In 2008, exports from Shanghai to other parts of the world were US$ 152 billion, an increase of 10% over 2007, and constituting about 10.6 of China’s total. About 44 percent of China’s total exports pass through Shanghai’s ports. Two-way trade between Shanghai and the U.S. was more than US$ 53.4 billion in 2008, an 8.4% increase over 2007.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in East China has been increasing steadily for several years. In Shanghai, contracted FDI in 2008 was US$ 17.1 billion, and actual realized investment was US$ 10 billion.
The U.S. is one of the top investors in Shanghai. The U.S. share of Shanghai’s cumulative FDI, at approx. US$ 11.42 billion, is roughly 1/8 of Shanghai’s total. There are some 5,500 U.S.-invested projects in Shanghai. The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai is the largest in Asia, with over 3,800 members, and some 80 new members per month. Some 11,000 Americans are long-term residents of Shanghai, and many more work on short-term visas. The City of Shanghai has the status of a province and receives preferential treatment from the central government, particularly as an incubator for reforms and pilot projects. Costs tend to be somewhat higher in Shanghai than in nearby cities, but the business environment is generally more transparent.
Sectors to watch in the region are IT, telecommunications services, transportation infrastructure (ports, metro and light rail), distribution services, environmental technologies, construction materials, architectural and engineering services, industrial equipment, machine tools and manufacturing process controls.
The two Chinese characters in the name “Shanghai”, literally mean “up, on, or above” and “sea” The earliest occurrence of this name dates from the Song Dynasty (11th century), at which time there was already a river confluence and a town with this name in the area. There are disputes as to how the name should be interpreted, but official local histories have consistently said that it means “the upper reaches of the sea”. Due to the changing coastline, Chinese historians have concluded that in the Tang Dynasty Shanghai was literally on the sea, hence the origin of the name. However, another reading, especially in Mandarin, also suggests the sense of “go onto the sea,” which is consistent with the seaport status of the city. A more poetic name for Shanghai switches the order of the two characters, Hǎishàng , and is often used for terms related to Shanghainese art and culture.
Shanghai is commonly abbreviated in Chinese as Hù . The single character Hu appears on all motor vehicle license plates issued in Shanghai today. This is derived from Hu Du , the name of an ancient fishing village that once stood at the confluence of Suzhou Creek and the Huangpu River back in the Tang Dynasty. The character Hu is often combined with that for Song, as in Wusong Kou, Wu Song River, and Songjiang to form the nickname Song Hu. For example, the Japanese attack on Shanghai in August 1937 is commonly called the Song Hu Battle. Another early name for Shanghai was Hua Ting, now the name of a four star hotel in the city. One other commonly used nickname Shēn is derived from the name of Chunshen Jun , a nobleman and locally-revered hero of the Chu Kingdom in the 3rd century BC whose territory included the Shanghai area. Sports teams and newspapers in Shanghai often use the character Shēn in their names. Shanghai is also commonly called Shēnchéng . The city has also had various nicknames in English, including “Paris of the East”.
During the Song Dynasty (AD 960–1279) Shanghai was upgraded in status from a village (cun) to a market town (zhen) in 1074, and in 1172 a second sea wall was built to stabilize the ocean coastline, supplementing an earlier dike. From the Yuan Dynasty in 1292 until Shanghai officially became a city for the first time in 1297, the area was designated merely as a county (xian) administered by the Songjiang Prefecture (Songjiang Fu).
Two important events helped promote Shanghai’s development in the Ming Dynasty. A city wall was built for the first time during in 1554, in order to protect the town from raids by Wokou (Japanese pirates). It measured 10 meters high and 5 kilometers in circumference. During the Wanli reign (1573-1620), Shanghai received an important psychological boost from the erection of a City God Temple (Cheng Huang Miao) in 1602. This honor was usually reserved for places with the status of a city, such as a prefectural capital (fu), and was not normally given to a mere county town (zhen) like Shanghai. The honor was probably a reflection of the town’s economic importance, as opposed to its low political status.
During the Qing Dynasty, Shanghai became the most important sea port in the whole Yangtze Delta region. This was a result of two important central government policy changes. First of all, Emperor Kangxi (1662-1723) in 1684 reversed the previous Ming Dynasty prohibition on ocean going vessels, a ban that had been in force since 1525. Secondly, Emperor Yongzheng in 1732 moved the customs office (hai guan) for Jiangsu province from the prefectural capital of Songjiang city to Shanghai, and gave Shanghai exclusive control over customs collections for the foreign trade of all Jiangsu province. As a result of these two critical decisions, Professor Linda Cooke Johnson has concluded that by 1735 Shanghai had become the major trade port for all of the lower Yangzi River region, despite still being at the lowest administrative level in the political hierarchy.
The importance of Shanghai grew radically in the 19th century, as the city’s strategic position at the mouth of the Yangtze River made it an ideal location for trade with the West. During the First Opium War in the early 19th century, British forces temporarily held Shanghai. The war ended with the 1842 Treaty of Nanjing, which saw the treaty ports, Shanghai included, opened for international trade. The Treaty of the Bogue signed in 1843, and the Sino-American Treaty of Wangsia signed in 1844 together saw foreign nations achieve extraterritoriality on Chinese soil, the start of the foreign concessions.
1854 saw the first meeting of the Shanghai Municipal Council, created in order to manage the foreign settlements. In 1860-1862, civil war had been two times invaded Shanghai(Battle of Shanghai (1861)). In 1863, the British settlement, located to the south of Suzhou creek (Huangpu district), and the American settlement, to the north of Suzhou creek (Hongkou district), joined in order to form the International Settlement. The French opted out of the Shanghai Municipal Council, and maintained its own French Concession, located to the south of the International Settlement, which still exists today as a popular attraction. Citizens of many countries and all continents came to Shanghai to live and work during the ensuing decades; those who stayed for long periods — some for generations — called themselves “Shanghailanders”. In the 1920s and 1930s, almost 20,000 so-called White Russians and Russian Jews fled the newly-established Soviet Union and took up residence in Shanghai. These Shanghai Russians constituted the second-largest foreign community. By 1932, Shanghai had become the world’s fifth largest city, home to 70,000 foreigners.
The Sino-Japanese War concluded with the Treaty of Shimonoseki, which saw Japan emerge as an additional foreign power in Shanghai. Japan built the first factories in Shanghai, which were soon copied by other foreign powers to effect the emergence of Shanghai industry. Shanghai was then the most important financial center in the Far East.
Under the Republic of China (1911-1949), Shanghai’s political status was finally raised to that of a municipality on July 14, 1927. Although the territory of the foreign concessions was excluded from their control, this new Chinese municipality still covered an area of 828.8 square kilometers, including the modern-day districts of Baoshan, Yangpu, Zhabei, Nanshi, and Pudong. Headed by a Chinese mayor and municipal council, the new city governments first task was to create a new city center in Jiangwan town of Yangpu district, outside the boundaries of the foreign concessions. This new city center was planned to include a public museum, library, sports stadium, and city hall.
The Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service bombed Shanghai on 28 January 1932, nominally in an effort to crush down Chinese student protests of the Manchurian Incident and the subsequent Japanese occupation of northeast China. The Chinese fought back in what was known as the January 28 Incident. The two sides fought to a standstill and a ceasefire was brokered in May. The Battle of Shanghai in 1937 resulted in the occupation of the Chinese administered parts of Shanghai outside of the International Settlement and the French Concession. The International Settlement was occupied by the Japanese on 8 December 1941 and remained occupied until Japan’s surrender in 1945. According to historian Zhiliang Su, at least 149 “comfort houses” for sexual slaves were established in Shanghai during the occupation.
On 27 May 1949, the Communist Party of China controlled the People’s Liberation Army and took control of Shanghai, which was one of only three former Republic of China (ROC) municipalities not merged into neighbouring provinces over the next decade (the others being Beijing and Tianjin). Shanghai underwent a series of changes in the boundaries of its subdivisions, especially in the next decade. After 1949, most foreign firms moved their offices from Shanghai to Hong Kong, as part of an exodus of foreign investment due to the Communist victory.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Shanghai became an industrial center and center for revolutionary leftism. Yet, even during the most tumultuous times of the Cultural Revolution, Shanghai was able to maintain high economic productivity and relative social stability. In most of the history of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Shanghai has been the largest contributor of tax revenue to the central government compared with other Chinese provinces and municipalities. This came at the cost of severely crippling Shanghai’s infrastructure and capital development. Its importance to China’s fiscal well-being also denied it economic liberalizations that were started in the far southern provinces such as Guangdong during the mid-1980s. At that time, Guangdong province paid nearly no taxes to the central government, and thus was perceived as fiscally expendable for experimental economic reforms. Shanghai was finally permitted to initiate economic reforms in 1991, starting the huge development still seen today and the birth of Lujiazui in Pudong.
Shanghai sits on the Yangtze River Delta on China’s eastern coast, and is roughly equidistant from Beijing and Hong Kong. The municipality as a whole consists of a peninsula between the Yangtze and Hangzhou Bay, China’s third largest island Chongming, and a number of smaller islands. It is bordered on the north and west by Jiangsu Province, on the south by Zhejiang Province, and on the east by the East China Sea. The city proper is bisected by the Huangpu River, a tributary of the Yangtze. The historic center of the city, the Puxi area, is located on the western side of the Huangpu, while a new financial district, Pudong, has developed on the eastern bank.
The vast majority of Shanghai’s 6,218 km2 (2,401 sq mi) land area is flat, apart from a few hills in the southwest corner, with an average elevation of 4 m (13 ft). The city’s location on the flat alluvial plain has meant that new skyscrapers must be built with deep concrete piles to stop them sinking into the soft ground. The highest point is at the peak of Dajinshan Island at 103 m (340 ft). The city has many rivers, canals, streams and lakes and is known for its rich water resources as part of the Taihu drainage area.
Public awareness of the environment is growing, and the city is investing in a number of environmental protection projects. A 10-year, US$1 billion cleanup of Suzhou Creek, which runs through the city center, is expected to be finished in 2008, and the government also provides incentives for transportation companies to invest in LPG buses and taxis. Air pollution in Shanghai is low compared to other Chinese cities such as Beijing, but the rapid development over the past decades means it is still high on worldwide standards, comparable to Los Angeles.
Shanghai has a humid subtropical climate (Koppen climate classification Cfa) and experiences four distinct seasons. In winter, cold northerly winds from Siberia can cause nighttime temperatures to drop below freezing, and although not usually associated with snow, the city can receive one or two days of snowfall per year. In contrast, and in spite of being the peak tourist season, summer in Shanghai is very warm and humid, with occasional downpours or freak thunderstorms. The city is also susceptible to typhoons, none of which in recent years has caused considerable damage. The most pleasant seasons are Spring, although changeable, and Autumn, which is generally sunny and dry. Shanghai experiences on average 1,778 hours of sunshine per year, with the hottest temperature ever recorded at 40 °C (104 °F), and the lowest at −12 °C (10 °F). The average number of rainy days is 112 per year, with the wettest month being June. The average frost-free period is 276 days.
|Weather data for Shanghai(1971-2000)|
|Average high °C (°F)||8.1
|Average low °C (°F)||1.1
|Precipitation mm (inches)||50.6
|Source: China Meteorological Administration (CMA)2009-03-17|
Shanghai has been a political hub of China since the 20th century. The 1st National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held in Shanghai. In addition, many of China’s top government officials in Beijing are known to have risen in Shanghai in the 1980s on a platform that was critical of the extreme leftism of the Cultural Revolution, giving them the tag “Shanghai Clique” during the 1990s. Many observers of Chinese politics view the more right-leaning Shanghai Clique as an opposing and competing faction of the current Chinese administration under President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao. Shanghai’s top jobs, the Party Chief and the position of Mayor, have always been prominent on a national scale. Four secretaries of municipal Party committee or mayors from Shanghai eventually went on to take prominent Central Government positions, including former President Jiang Zemin, former Premier Zhu Rongji, and current Vice-President Xi Jinping. The top administrative jobs are always appointed directly by the Central Government.
The current Shanghai government under Mayor Han Zheng has openly advocated transparency in the city’s government. However, in previous years a complicated system of relationships between Shanghai’s government, banks, and other civil institutions has been under scrutiny for corruption, motivated by faction politics in Beijing; these allegations from Beijing did not go anywhere until late 2006. Since Jiang’s departure from office there has been a significant amount of clash between the local government in Shanghai and the Central People’s Government, an evolving example of de facto Chinese federalism. The Shanghai government looks after almost all of the city’s economic interests without interference from Beijing.
By 2006, Shanghai’s actual level of autonomy has arguably surpassed that of any autonomous regions, raising alarm bells in Beijing. In September 2006, the Shanghai Communist Party Secretary Chen Liangyu, Shanghainese in origin and often clashing with central government officials, along with a number of his followers, were removed from their positions after a probe into the city’s pension fund. Over a hundred investigators, sent by the Central Government, reportedly uncovered clues of money diversion from the city’s pension fund to unapproved loans and investments. Chen’s abrupt removal is viewed by many Chinese as a political manoeuvre by President Hu Jintao to further secure his power in the country, and retain administrative centralism. In March 2007 the central government appointed Xi Jinping, who is not a Shanghai native, to become the Party Secretary, the most powerful office in the city. Xi would eventually be transferred to work for the central government in Beijing and was replaced by Yu Zhengsheng in November 2007.
The Politics of Shanghai is structured in a dual party-government system like all other governing institutions in the mainland of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In the last few decades the city has produced many of the country’s eventual senior leaders. The city has been important politically to China since the end of the 19th Century.
The Mayor of Shanghai (上海市长) is the highest ranking official in the People’s Government of Shanghai. Since Shanghai is a centrally administered municipality, the mayor occupies the same level in the order of precedence as provincial governors. However, in the city’s dual party-government governing system, the mayor has less power than the Shanghai Communist Party of China Municipal Committee Secretary (上海市委书记), colloquially termed the “Shanghai CPC Party chief”.
Before 1941, Shanghai had a split administration: the International Settlement (governed under the Shanghai Municipal Council), the French Concession, and the Chinese City. The Chinese city was invaded by the Japanese in 1937 and the foreign concessions were occupied by the Japanese in 1941. After the occupation, the foreign powers formally ceded the territory to the Nationalist Government in Chongqing (a move largely symbolic until the Japanese surrender since the Nationalists no longer controlled Shanghai).
Since Shanghai-born Chen Liangyu took municipal leadership in 2002, because of the increasing friction between the Shanghai clique and the central government under Hu Jintao, Shanghai’s economic development has deviated from national policy considerably. Chen believed that wealth produced in Shanghai should stay in Shanghai and benefit only Shanghai citizens. Before Chen was charged with corruption in 2006, Shanghai’s level of autonomy alarmed central authorities, as it surpassed that of many autonomous regions.
- Administrative divisions