Municipalities of China: Shanghai - the most populous and prosperous city of China


China Territory  Updated: Sat, Jul 21, 2012 07:56 AM   By HugChina


Municipalities of China,Shanghai


Shanghai Municipality 上海, located at the mouth of Yangtze River Delta in East China, is the most populous and prosperous city and financial hub of China. Tourist attractions of Shanghai include Pudong New Area, the Huangpu River, Shanghai Bund, Yuyuan Garden, etc.

General information

Area (City) 610 square km

Area (Metro) 6,341 square km

Population: 18.88 million (2008)

Coordinates: 30°40'-31°53'N 120°51'-122°12'E

January Average Temperature: 3 ºC (37 ºF)

July Average Temperature: 27ºC (81ºF)

Average Frost Free Days: 230 days/year

Average Elevation: 4 meters

Annual Rainfall: 1,200 mm

Annual Sunshine: 1,712 hours

Phone Area Code: 21

Postal Code: 200000

Shanghai (Chinese: 上海; pinyin: Shànghǎi) is one of the four municipalities under the direct jurisdiction of the central government, the most populous city in China and the most populous city proper in the world. A global city, Shanghai exerts influence over global commerce, finance, culture, art, fashion, research and entertainment. The city is located at the middle portion of the Chinese coast, and sits at the mouth of the Yangtze River.

Once a fishing and textiles town, Shanghai grew to importance in the 19th century due to its favourable port location and as one of the cities opened to foreign trade by the 1842 Treaty of Nanking. The city flourished as a centre of commerce between east and west, and became a multinational hub of finance and business by the 1930s.

With the advantages of good location and convenient communications, Shanghai’s economy had once prospered and the city flourished. Since the beginning of the 1990's, the economic reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping resulted in intense re-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, and its modern and ever-expanding Pudong skyline including the Oriental Pearl Tower.

Geography of Shanghai

One of the four municipalities under the direct jurisdiction of the Central Government, Shanghai is situated in the middle of China's coastline, bordering on the East China Sea in the east, lying at the month of Changjiang (Yangtze) River and covering a coastline of about 200 kilometers. It has a total area of 6,200 square kilometers and a population of 18.88 million (including Han, Hui, Manchu and other nationalities).

Climate of Shanghai

Shanghai has a humid temperate climate with four distinct seasons. The average temperature of January—the coldest month is about 3 ºC (37 ºF), and that of July - the warmest month about 27ºC (81ºF). The average annual precipitation is over 1,100 mm, of which 40 per cent is in summer.

Shanghai is often affected by typhoon between July and September. Even in the mid-summer days, Shanghai's warmest spell of the year is rather short.

Economy of Shanghai

Shanghai is often regarded as the centre of finance and trade in mainland China. Modern development began with the economic reforms in 1992, a decade later than many of the Southern Chinese provinces, but since then Shanghai quickly overtook those provinces and maintained its role as the business centre in mainland China. Shanghai also hosts the largest share market in mainland China.

Since 2005, Shanghai has ranked first of the world's busiest cargo ports throughout, handling a total of 560 million tons of cargo in 2007. Shanghai container traffic has surpassed Hong Kong to become the second busiest port in the world, behind Singapore. Shanghai and Hong Kong are rivaling to be the economic centre of the Greater China region. Shanghai has recorded a double-digit growth for 15 consecutive years since 1992.

In 2008, Shanghai's nominal GDP posted a 9.7% growth to 1.37 trillion yuan. Statistics showed that Hong Kong’s Economy was Overtaken by Shanghai in 2009.

As in many other areas in China, Shanghai is undergoing a building boom. In Shanghai the modern architecture is notable for its unique style, especially in the highest floors, with several top floor restaurants which resemble flying saucers. The bulk of Shanghai buildings being constructed today are high-rise apartments of various height, color and design. There is now a strong focus by city planners to develop more "green areas" (public parks) among the apartment complexes in order to improve the quality of life for Shanghai's residents, in accordance to the "Better City – Better Life" theme of Shanghai's Expo 2010.

History of Shanghai

During the Song Dynasty (AD 960–1279) Shanghai was upgraded in status from a village (村) to a market town (镇) in 1074. Shanghai officially became a city for the first time in 1297 during the Yuan Dynasty, the area was designated merely as a county (縣) administered by the Songjiang prefecture.

International attention to Shanghai grew in the 19th century due to its economic and trade potential at the Yangtze River. During the First Opium War (1839–1842), British forces temporarily held the city. The war ended with the 1842 Treaty of Nanjing, opening the treaty ports, Shanghai included, for international trade. The Treaty of the Bogue signed in 1843, and the Sino-American Treaty of Wangsia signed in 1844 together allowed foreign nations to visit and trade on Chinese soil, the start of the foreign concessions.

In 1854, the Shanghai Municipal Council was created to manage the foreign settlements. Citizens of many countries and all continents came to Shanghai to live and work during the ensuing decades; 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 and home to 70,000 foreigners. In the 1930s, some 30,000 Jewish refugees from Europe arrived in the city.

The Sino-Japanese War concluded with the Treaty of Shimonoseki, which elevated Japan to become another foreign power in Shanghai. Japan built the first factories in Shanghai, which were soon copied by other foreign powers. Shanghai was then the most important financial centre 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.

On January 28, 1932, Japanese forces struck and the Chinese resisted, fighting to a standstill; 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, not to mention the presence of war crimes during the occupation.

On May 27, 1949, the Communist People's Liberation Army took control of Shanghai. Shanghai underwent a series of changes in the boundaries of its subdivisions, especially in the next decade.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Shanghai became an industrial centre and centre for radical leftism; In most of the history of the People's Republic of China (PRC), in order to funnel wealth to the rural areas, Shanghai has been a comparatively heavy contributor of tax revenue to the central government.

Shanghai was finally permitted to initiate economic reforms in 1991, starting the massive development still seen today and the birth of Lujiazui in Pudong.

Administrative divisions

Shanghai is administratively equal to a province and is divided into 18 county-level divisions: 17 districts and one county. Even though every district has its own urban core, the real city centre is between Bund to the east, Nanjing Rd to the north, Old City Temple and Huaihai Road to the south. Prominent central business areas include Lujiazui on the east bank of the Huangpu River, and The Bund and Hongqiao areas in the west bank of the Huangpu River. The city hall and major administration units are located in Huangpu District, which also serve as a commercial area, including the famous Nanjing Road. Other major commercial areas include Xintiandi and the classy Huaihai Road in Luwan district and Xujiahui in Xuhui District.

Nine of the districts govern Puxi (literally Huangpu River west), or the older part of urban Shanghai on the west bank of the Huangpu River. These nine districts are collectively referred to as Shanghai Proper (上海市区) or the core city (市中心):

* Huangpu District (黄浦区 Huángpǔ Qū)

* Luwan District (卢湾区 Lúwān Qū)

* Xuhui District (徐汇区 Xúhuì Qū)

* Changning District (长宁区 Chángníng Qū)

* Jing'an District (静安区 Jìng'ān Qū)

* Putuo District (普陀区 Pǔtuó Qū)

* Zhabei District (闸北区 Zháběi Qū)

* Hongkou District (虹口区 Hóngkǒu Qū)

* Yangpu District (杨浦区 Yángpǔ Qū)

Pudong (literally Huangpu River east), or the newer part of urban and suburban Shanghai on the east bank of the Huangpu River, is governed by:

* Pudong New District (浦东新区 Pǔdōng Xīn Qū) — Chuansha County until 1992, merged with Nanhui District in 2009

Seven of the districts govern suburbs, satellite towns, and rural areas further away from the urban core:

* Baoshan District (宝山区 Bǎoshān Qū) — Baoshan County until 1988

* Minhang District (闵行区 Mǐnháng Qū) — Shanghai County until 1992

* Jiading District (嘉定区 Jiādìng Qū) — Jiading County until 1992

* Jinshan District (金山区 Jīnshān Qū) — Jinshan County until 1997

* Songjiang District (松江区 Sōngjiāng Qū) — Songjiang County until 1998

* Qingpu District (青浦区 Qīngpǔ Qū) — Qingpu County until 1999

* Fengxian District (奉贤区 Fèngxián Qū) — Fengxian County until 2001

Chongming Island, an island at the mouth of the Yangtze, is governed by:

* Chongming County (崇明县 Chóngmíng Xiàn)

Shanghai Local Cuisine

As a major city developed in modern times, Shanghai has become a gastronomic centre of all the major cuisine of China, having more than 2,000 restaurants and snack houses. And through years of culinary practice, it has absorbed the art and skills of other major styles of cuisine and created a style of cuisine peculiar to its own.

Shanghai dishes are mellow in flavor, rich in sauce, original in gravy and agreeable to the taste. Shanghai cooking noted for its art of braising, stewing, simmering, pickling in rice wine, stir-frying and deep-frying. Shanghai is particularly renowned for its vegetarian dishes.

Taking vegetable, bean products, dried mushrooms, agarics and bamboo shoots as main ingredients, chefs make savoury dishes resembling meat or fish in color, fragrance, shape and flavor but devoid of the unpalatable fishy and greasy taste. Shanghai also has a number of western-style restaurants offering English, French, German, Italian and Russian cuisine to suit the palate of tourists.

Places of Interests and Tourist Attractions of Shanghai

The Huangpu River is the symbol of Shanghai, and a cruise on the it is a must on the tourist itinerary in Shanghai. The Huangpu River offers some remarkable views of the Bund and river front activity.

the Bund

The Bund, which extends from Jinling Road in the south to the Waibaidu Bridge over the Suzhou Creek in the north, is on the western bank of the Huangpu River.

It is a 1.5-kilometer boulevard and used to be called the Huangpu Shoal. It used to be a 10-meter-wide boulevard lined with canopy-like sycamores as cedars, cassias, and camphor trees made the street green all the year round. Flower beds were always in blossom.

Today, it has become the favored place for tourists to tarry and enjoy the river scene and cultural activities going on along the Bund. Walking up to the dam, you will be fascinated by the sight of forest of masts, the glittering waves, the impressive skyline, and the shadowy trees interlacing with beautiful flowers. It is just like a magnificent scroll. The Bund - a miniature museum of international architecture with dozens of high buildings standing along the shore, overlooking the shuttling sailing vessels on the Huangpu River amid the whistle blasts here and there.

Nanjing Road

The Nanjing Road is 5 kilometers long with its east end at the Huangpu River and its west end connecting Yanan Toad. With a history of over 150 years, it is the busiest street for shopping.

Nanpu Bridge

The Nanpu Bridge, located at the South Dock - the narrowest part of the lower reaches of the Huangpu River, was constructed in 1991. Tourists can take the elevator to get to the sidewalk of the bridge and overlook the scenery on both banks of the Huangpu River.

Yu Yuan

Located in the southern section of Shanghai on Yuyuan Road, Yu Yuan is one of the most famous ancient gardens south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Yu Yuan means "Garden of Lesurely Repose" and was formerly a private garden built in 1559 (the 21st year Wan Li's reign of the Ming Dynasty). Inside the garden there are exquisite rockeries, dragon walls, and differently shaped pavilions and towers as well as other tourist attractions.

Longhua Temple

Longhua Temple at 2853 Longhua Road is an ancient monastery south of Yangtze River. The temple is the biggest and oldest temple in Shanghai, and according to legend, it was built during the Three Kingdoms Period (242 A.D.).

Yu Fo, the Jade Buddha Temple

With a history of over 100 years, the Jade Buddha Temple is one of the well-known Buddhist temples in Shanghai. The temple was built in 1882, covering an area of 8,000 square meters. The temple is famous for its jade Buddha statues which are pure white and elegant.

Songjiang Mosque

Located in Songjiang County on the Zhongshan Road of Chenxiang, the Songjiang Mosque, also called the White Crane in the Cloud Mosque, was built between the years of 1341 and 1367 during the reign of Zhizheng of the Yuan Dynasty (1341 - 1368). It is the oldest Muslin building in Shanghai (and one of the oldest in China) and consists of halls, towers, and bathrooms.

Grand Mansions

The Grand Mansions is a collection of architectural beauties.

the People's Plaza

The People's Plaza, in the center of the city of Shanghai, is a square where no tourist forgets to visit.

the Shanghai Museum

The world-renowned Shanghai Museum, a museum of ancient Chinese art, was established in December, 1952. The new building was constructed in 1995 in the south part of the Peoples' Plaza.

Transportation in Shanghai

Shanghai has an extensive public transport system, largely based on buses, trolleybuses, taxis, and a rapidly expanding metro system. All of these public transport tools can be accessed using the Shanghai Public Transportation Card, which uses radio frequencies so the card does not have to physically touch the scanner.

The Shanghai Metro rapid-transit system and elevated light rail has eleven lines at present and extends to every core urban district as well as neighbouring suburban districts such as Songjiang, Minhang and Jiading. As of 2010, the Shanghai Metro is the 9th busiest system worldwide and the largest in the world by length (420 km). Shanghai also has the world's most extensive bus system with nearly one thousand bus lines, operated by numerous transportation companies.

Taxis in Shanghai are plentiful and government regulation has set taxi fares at an affordable rate for the average resident—¥12 for 3 km, ¥16 after 23:00, and 2.4RMB/km thereafter. Before the 1990s, bicycling was the most ubiquitous form of transport in Shanghai, but the city has since banned bicycles on many of the city's main roads to ease congestion. However, many streets have bicycle lanes and intersections are monitored by "Traffic Assistants" who help provide for safe crossing.

With rising disposable incomes, private car ownership in Shanghai has also been rapidly increasing in recent years. The number of cars is limited, however, since 1998 the number of new car registrations is limited to 50,000 vehicles a year.

In cooperation with the Shanghai municipality and the Shanghai Maglev Transportation Development Co. (SMT), German Transrapid constructed the first commercial high speed Maglev railway in the world in 2002, from Shanghai's Longyang Road subway station in Pudong to Pudong International Airport. Commercial operation started in 2003.

Two railways intersect in Shanghai: Jinghu Railway (京沪) Railway passing through Nanjing, and Huhang Railway (Shanghai–Hangzhou). There are also two 350-km/h high-speed railways intersect in Shanghai: Shanghai–Nanjing HSR line opened on July 1, 2010 and Shanghai–Hangzhou HSR line set to open on October 26, 2010. The 380-km/h Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway is currently under construction, and once complete in 2011, it will be possible to travel to Beijing, 1,305 km (811 mi) away, in just four hours. Shanghai is served by three main railway stations, Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai South Railway Station and Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station. Express service to Beijing through D-series trains is more convenient.

More than six national expressways (prefixed with "G") from Beijing and from the region around Shanghai connect to the city. Shanghai itself has six toll-free elevated expressways (skyways) in the urban core and 18 municipal expressways (prefixed with "A").

Shanghai has two commercial airports: Hongqiao International and Pudong International, the latter of which has the third highest traffic in China, following Beijing Capital International Airport and Hong Kong International Airport. Hongqiao mainly serves domestic routes, with a few city-to-city flights to Tokyo's Haneda Airport and Seoul's Gimpo Airport.
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