Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Shànghăi (上海) is China's largest city and is situated on the banks of the Chang Jiang delta. In Chinese, Shanghai's abbreviations are (滬 or 沪) and Shēn (申). Administratively, Shanghai is one of 4 municipalities of the People's Republic of China, which have provincial-level status.

Province Abbreviation(s): 沪 hu
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 31st
6,340.5 km²
 - Total (Year)
 - Density
Ranked 25th
Administration Type Municipality

Table of contents
1 Administration
2 History
3 Economy
4 Geography
5 Transportation
6 Culture
7 Colleges and Universities
8 Miscellaneous
9 Shanghai in fiction
10 External links


Nanjing Road, one of the world's busiest shopping streets.

Shanghai is divided into 18 districts and 1 county:

  • Baoshan
  • Changning
  • Fengxian
  • Hongkou
  • Huangpu
  • Jiading
  • Jing'an
  • Jinshan
  • Luwan
  • Minhang
  • Nanhui
  • Pudong
  • Putuo
  • Qingpu
  • Songjiang
  • Xuhui
  • Yangpu
  • Zhabei

As of 2002, there were 132 towns, 3 townships, 99 subdistrict committees, 3,393 neighborhood committees and 2,037 villagers' committees in Shanghai.

List of towns:


Before the forming of Shanghai city, Shanghai was called Songjiang county, a part of Suzhou city. The county was formed 1000 years ago around (1007?).

During the First Opium War in the mid-19th Century, British forces plundered 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 Taiping Rebellion broke out in 1850, and in 1853 Shanghai was occupied by a triad offshoot of the rebels, called the Small Swords Society. The fighting destroyed the countryside but left the foreigners' settlements untouched, and Chinese arrived seeking refuge. Although previously Chinese were forbidden to live in foreign settlements, 1854 saw new regulations drawn up making land available to Chinese. Land prices rose substantially. The year also saw the first annual meeting of the Shanghai Municipal Council, substantiated in order to manage the foreign settlements. In 1863, the British and American settlements joined in order to form the International Settlement.

The Sino-Japanese War fought 1894-95 over control of Korea 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. During World War II, Shanghai was a centre for refugees from Europe.

Shanghai was then the biggest financial city in the Far East. Under the Republic of China, Shanghai was made a special city in 1927, and a municipality in May 1930. On May 27, 1947, Shanghai became under communist control and was one of the only two former ROC municipalities not immediately merged into neighbouring provinces (the other being Beijing). It then underwent a series of changes in the boundaries of its subdivisions, especially in the next decade.

After 1949, however, most foreign firms moved their offices from Shanghai to Hong Kong. During the 1950s and 1960s, Shanghai became an industrial center and center for revolutionary leftism. After the start of Chinese economic reform in the 1980s, Shanghai's role as economic center was eclipsed by southern provinces such as Guangdong who were more free to experiment with economic liberalization.

Shanghai has traditionally been seen as a stepping stone to positions within the PRC central government. In the 1990s, there was often described a "Shanghai clique" which included the president of the PRC Jiang Zemin and the premier of the PRC Zhu Rongji. Shanghainese people have been stereotyped by other Chinese as being pretentious, arrogant, and morally untrustworthy. In turn, the Shanghainese stereotype other Chinese as being uncultured country bumpkins.

In the 1990s, the central government under Jiang Zemin, a former Mayor of Shanghai, began to invest heavily in Shanghai in order to both promote it as the economic hub of east Asia and to encourage its role as gateway of investment to the Chinese interior.


Shanghai is the financial and cultural center of China. It is also developing at a very fast rate, approximately 12 per cent every year. Shanghai now is the biggest and most developed city in mainland China. The official registered population is about 16 million: however it is believed that there is a large unregistered floating population of economic migrants from the Chinese interior which may number several million.

Shanghai and Hong Kong have had a recent rivalry over which city is to be the economic center of China. Hong Kong has the advantage of a stronger legal system and greater banking and service expertise Shanghai has stronger links to the Chinese interior and to the central government in addition to a stronger manufacturing and technology base. Since the handover of Hong Kong to the PRC, Shanghai has increased its role in finance, banking, and as a major destination for corporate headquarters, fueling demand for a highly educated and westernized workforce.

Redevelopment dominates parts of Shanghai. Here twentieth-century housing next to a high school is being demolished to make way for new buildings


Shanghai is bisected by the Huangpu River. Puxi is the old city, while development since the 1990s has been focused in Pudong.


Shanghai has an excellent public transportation system and in contrast to other major Chinese cities has clean streets and surprisingly little air pollution. The public transportation system in Shanghai is flourishing: Shanghai has more than one thousand bus lines and four metro (subway) lines (line1 no.1, no.2, no.3 and no.5) at present. According to the developing schedule of the Government, by the year 2010, another 9 lines will be built in Shanghai.

Shanghai has two airports: Hongqiao Airport and Pu Dong International Airport. Transrapid (a German maglev company, which has a test track in Emsland, Germany), constructed the first operational maglev railway in the world, from Shanghai to its airport. It was inaugurated in 2002. Commercial exploitation is planned for 2003.

Three railways intersect in Shanghai: Beijing-Shanghai Railway (京滬), Shanghai-Hangzhou Railway (滬杭), and Xiaoshan-Ningpo (蕭甬 xiao1 yong3).


The native language spoken is Shanghainese, a dialect of Wu Chinese; while the official language is Mandarin Chinese.

Cultural sites in Shanghai include:

See also: Shanghai cuisine

Colleges and Universities


The tallest structure in China, the distinctive Oriental Pearl Tower, is located in Shanghai. The Jin Mao tower located nearby is mainland China's tallest skycraper.

Shanghai will be the host of Expo 2010, a world's fair.

Modern Pudong skyline.

Shanghai in fiction



See also: Shanghai woman

External links

Shanghai as short form for Shanghai solitaire, a Solitaire variant with Mahjong tiles.