The only large port of central China not cut off from the interior by mountains, it is the natural seaward outlet of, and the gateway to, the Chang basin, one of China's richest regions. It handles much of the country's foreign shipping and a large coastal trade. Great sums are expended to keep open its continually silting harbor. A submarine base is in the harbor. A new deepwater port, Yangshan, located on islands 17 mi (27.5 km) SE of Shanghai in the South China Sea, opened in 2005; the port is connected to the mainland by the 20.2-mi (32.5-km) Donghai Bridge. Although water transport is of prime importance, highways radiate outward, and there are rail connections with Nanjing and Hangzhou, with links through those cities to the N and S China networks. A new international airport opened in Pudong (East Shanghai) in 1999.
Despite a lack of fuel and raw materials, Shanghai is China's leading industrial city, with large steelworks; textile mills; shipbuilding yards; oil-refining, gas-extracting, and diamond-processing operations; and plants making light and heavy machinery, electrical, electronic, and computer equipment, machine tools, turbines, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, aircraft, tractors, motor vehicles, plastics, and consumer goods. The city also is a major financial and publishing center, and is a regional headquarters for many multinational companies. Shanghai includes much of the surrounding rural area (over 2,000 sq mi/5,000 sq km); there farms produce the food crops that support the city's population.
In the 1970s and 80s, Shanghai's industrial base was shifted to include more light industries in order to reduce pollution. There was much rebuilding and expansion; new factories emerged around the outskirts of the city, and the northwest section was developed as an industrial district. Development in the 1990s concentrated on Pudong, an area formerly dominated by farms and marshland that was designated a special economic development zone. A project to divert much-needed water for the city from the Chang River into the Huangpu was completed in 1996. The 1990s also brought new bridges and tunnels and a subway system.
The city's commercial section, the former International Settlement, is modern and Western in appearance, with broad streets and boulevards lined with imposing buildings. The Bund (which runs along the waterfront), Nanjing Road, and Bubbling Well Road are the most noted thoroughfares. Typical Asian buildings are found only in the original Chinese town (no longer walled), known as Nanshi. The Oriental Pearl Television Tower (1,535 ft/468 m high), the 88-story Jin Mao building, and the butterfly-orchid-shaped Oriental Arts Center with its four performance halls are in Pudong.
Next to Beijing, Shanghai is the country's foremost educational center and is home to Fudan Univ., Jiaotong Univ., Shanghai Univ. of Science and Technology, Tongji Univ., three medical colleges, and numerous technological and scientific institutes. Shanghai has an astronomical observatory and many research institutes and learned societies. People's Square, refurbished in the late 1990s, is the site of an opera house and a museum containing the country's finest collection of Chinese art (both 1996).
The name Shanghai dates from the Sung dynasty (11th cent.), but the town, which became a walled city in the 16th cent., was unimportant until it was opened to foreign trade by the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842. The ensuing Western influence launched the city on its phenomenal growth. The greater part of the city was incorporated into the British concession (1843), just north of the old walled city, and into the U.S. concession of Hongkew (1862). In 1863 the United States and Great Britain consolidated into the International Settlement the areas that had been conceded to them. The French, who had obtained a concession in 1849, continued it as a separate entity. The foreign zones, which were under extraterritorial administration, maintained their own courts, police system, and armed forces. Thus Shanghai until World War II was a divided city.
In 1927, Chiang Kai-shek, at the head of the Nationalist army and with the support of the Chinese Communists, captured Shanghai. The Chinese section was immediately placed under the Kuomintang government. Japan invaded and attacked the Chinese city in 1932 to force the government to break an unofficial boycott of Japanese goods. In Aug., 1937, as part of the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese again attacked the Chinese city, and resistance was overcome in November. The foreign zones were occupied by the Japanese after Dec. 7, 1941.
In 1943 the United States and Great Britain renounced their claims in Shanghai, as did France in 1946. The city was restored to China at the end of World War II, and the Chinese central government for the first time gained control of the entire city. In May, 1949, it fell to the Communist forces. Since Pudong (East Shanghai) was declared (1990) a special development zone, government and foreign investment has revived Shanghai as an international trade and financial center.
See studies by F. L. H. Pott (1928, repr. 1973) and S. Dong (2000).
Municipality with provincial status (pop., 2003 est.: city, 10,030,800; 2002 est.: municipality, 16,250,000), east-central China. The municipality, on the East China Sea, is bordered by Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces and has an area of 2,400 sq mi (6,200 sq km). The city is located on the Huangpu River, which gives oceangoing vessels access to it. The site was settled during the Bei (Northern) Song period (AD 960–1127), and later under the Ming dynasty it was an area of intense cotton production. This changed when it became the first Chinese port opened to trade with the West after China's defeat by Britain in the Opium Wars (1842); it came to dominate the nation's commerce. The site of the Chinese Communist Party's founding in 1921, it saw severe fighting in the Sino-Japanese War of 1937–45 and was occupied by Japan during World War II. Since 1949, it has become China's chief industrial and commercial centre and one of its leading centres of higher education and scientific research.
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Shanghai is the largest city in China in terms of population and one of the largest urban areas in the world, with over 20 million people in its extended metropolitan area. Located on China's central eastern coast at the mouth of the Yangtze River, the city is administered as a municipality with province-level status.
Originally 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 center of commerce between east and west, and became a multinational hub of finance and business by the 1930s. However, Shanghai's prosperity ended after the 1949 Communist takeover and the subsequent cessation of foreign investment. Economic reforms in 1990 have resulted in intense development and financing, and in 2005 Shanghai became the world's largest cargo port.
The city is an emerging tourist destination renowned for its historical landmarks such as the Bund and Xintiandi, its modern and ever-expanding Pudong skyline including the Oriental Pearl Tower, and its new reputation as a center of culture and design. Today, Shanghai is mainland China's center for commerce and finance, and has been described as the "showpiece" of the world's fastest-growing economy.
The two Chinese characters in the name "Shanghai", (shàng; and , hǎi) literally mean "up, on, or above" and "sea", respectively, evident of Shanghai's location next to the East China 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 the 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 ("City of Shēn"). 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 1927, the area was designated merely as a county (xian) administered by the Songjiang (松江) 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 Japanese pirates (wako), but this wall was neither very high nor very long by comparison with those of other Chinese cities. 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 Yangzi 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 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.
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 the 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 and Pudong.
Shanghai sits on the Yangtze River Delta on China's east coast roughly equidistant between 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 the new Pudong financial district has developed on the eastern bank.
The vast majority of Shanghai's land area is flat, apart from a few hills in the southwest corner, with an average elevation of :). 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 . 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 , and the lowest at . The average number of rainy days is 112 per year, with the wettest month being June. The average frost-free period is 276 days.
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.
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):
Eight of the districts govern suburbs, satellite towns, and rural areas further away from the urban core:
As of 2003, these county-level divisions are further divided into the following 220 township-level divisions: 114 towns, 3 townships, 103 subdistricts. Those are in turn divided into the following village-level divisions: 3,393 neighborhood committees and 2,037 village committees.
Shanghai is often regarded as the center 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 center in mainland China. Shanghai also hosts the largest share market in mainland China.
Shanghai has one of the world's busiest ports. Since 2005, Shanghai has ranked first of the world's busiest ports in terms of cargo throughout, handling a total of 560 million tons of cargo in 2007. In terms of container traffic, it 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 center of the Greater China region. Hong Kong has the advantage of a stronger legal system, international market integration, superior economic freedom, greater banking and service expertise, lower taxes, and a fully-convertible currency. Shanghai has stronger links to both the Chinese interior and the central government, and a stronger base in manufacturing and technology. Shanghai has increased its role in finance, banking, and as a major destination for corporate headquarters, fueling demand for a highly educated and modernized workforce. Shanghai has recorded a double-digit growth for 15 consecutive years since 1992. In 2007, Shanghai's nominal GDP posted a 13.3% growth to 1.2 trillion yuan. The Shanghai Stock Exchange is the world's fastest growing, with the Shanghai Composite Index growing 130% in 2006.
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. For a gallery of these unique architecture designs, see Shanghai (architecture images).
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, quite in accordance to the "Better City - Better Life" theme of Shanghai's Expo 2010.
Industrial zones in Shanghai include Shanghai Hongqiao Economic and Technological Development Zone, Jinqiao Export Economic Processing Zone, Minhang Economic Economic and Technological Development Zone, and Shanghai Caohejing High and New Technological Development Zone.
Most registered Shanghainese residents are descendants of immigrants from the two adjacent provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang who moved to Shanghai in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, regions that generally also speak Wu Chinese. The many migrants coming to Shanghai from inland China have raised tensions in the past decade, often they do not speak the local dialect and therefore use Mandarin as a lingua franca. Rising crime rates, littering, harassive panhandling, and an overloading of the basic infrastructure (mainly public transportation and public schools) associated with the rise of these migrant populations (over 3 million new migrants in 2003 alone) have been generating some ill will from the Shanghainese. Efforts have been made by the local Shanghai municipal government to provide adequate welfare for the migrant populations in Shanghai, while also being cautious not to further increase the burdens of the native-born population.
The vernacular language is Shanghainese, a dialect of Wu Chinese, while the official language is Standard Mandarin. The local dialect is mutually unintelligible with Mandarin, and is an inseparable part of the Shanghainese identity. The modern Shanghainese dialect is based on the Suzhou dialect of Wu, the prestige dialect of Wu spoken within the Chinese city of Shanghai prior to the modern expansion of the city, the Ningbo dialect of Wu, and the dialect of Shanghai's surrounding rural areas now within the Hongkou, Baoshan and Pudong districts, which is simply called "Bendihua", or "the local dialect". It is influenced to a lesser extent by the dialects of other nearby regions from which large numbers of people have have migrated to Shanghai since the 20th Century. Nearly all Shanghainese under the age of 40 can speak Mandarin fluently. Fluency in foreign languages is unevenly distributed. Most senior residents who received a university education before the revolution, and those who worked in foreign enterprises, can speak English. Those under the age of 26 have had contact with English since primary school, as English is taught as a mandatory course starting at Grade one.
Due to its cosmopolitan history, Shanghai has a rich blend of religious heritage as shown by the religious buildings and institutions still scattered around the city. Taoism has a presence in Shanghai in the form of several temples, including the City God Temple, at the heart of the old city, the Wenmiao, dedicated to Confucius, and a temple dedicated to the Three Kingdoms general Guan Yu. Buddhism has had a presence in Shanghai since ancient times. Longhua temple, the largest temple in Shanghai, and 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. Shanghai is also an important center of Christianity in China. Churches belonging to various denominations are found throughout Shanghai and maintain significant congregations. Among Catholic churches, St Ignatius Cathedral in Xujiahui is the largest, while She Shan Basilica is the only active pilgrimage site in China. The city is also home to Muslim, Jewish, and Eastern Orthodox communities.
While Beijing is considered the educational center of China, Shanghai is also home to some of the country's most prestigious universities, including Fudan University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Tongji University.
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 eight lines (numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9) at present and extends to every core urban district as well as neighbouring suburban districts such as Songjiang and Minhang. According to the development schedule of the municipal government, by the year 2010, another 4 lines (numbers 7, 10, 11 and 12) will be built. It is one of the fastest-growing systems in the world - the first line opened in just 1995. Shanghai also has the world's most extensive bus system with nearly one thousand bus lines, operated by numerous transportation companies. Not all of Shanghai's bus routes are numbered - some have names exclusively in Chinese. Bus fares are usually ¥1, ¥1.5 or ¥2, sometimes higher, while Metro fares run from ¥3 to ¥9 depending on distance.
Taxis in Shanghai are plentiful and market competition has driven taxi fare down to affordable prices for the average resident (¥11 (¥14 after 11pm) or a little over one US dollar for 3 km). 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. Further, most motorists in China were raised riding bikes and so are fairly careful of them. Further, the city government has pledged to add 180 km of cycling lanes over the next few years. With rising disposable incomes, private car ownership in Shanghai has also been rapidly increasing in recent years. The number of cars is limited, however, by the number of available number plates available at public auction.
In cooperation with the Shanghai municipality and the Shanghai Maglev Transportation Development Co. (SMT), German Transrapid constructed the first commercial 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. The 30 km trip takes 7 minutes and 21 seconds and reaches a maximum speed of 431 km/h (267.8 mph). Normal operating speeds usually reach 431km/h, but during a test run, the Maglev has been shown to reach a top speed of 501km/h.
Two railways intersect in Shanghai: Jinghu Railway (Beijing–Shanghai) Railway passing through Nanjing, and Huhang Railway (Shanghai–Hangzhou). Shanghai is served by two main railway stations, Shanghai Railway Station and Shanghai South Railway Station. Express service to Beijing through Z-series trains is fairly convenient. A maglev train route to Hangzhou (Shanghai-Hangzhou Maglev Train) might begin construction in 2010. A high-speed railroad to Beijing is also in the works.
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"). There are ambitious plans to build expressways connecting Shanghai's Chongming Island with the urban core. For a city of Shanghai's size, road traffic is still fairly smooth and convenient but getting more congested as the number of cars increases rapidly.
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. Pudong International handles more international traffic than Beijing Capital however, with over 17.15 million international passengers handled in 2006 compared to the latter's 12.6 million passengers. Hongqiao mainly serves domestic routes, with a few city-to-city flights to Tokyo's Haneda Airport and Seoul's city airport.
Shanghai also has one general aviation airport, Longhua Airport, which is partly used for pilot training.
In recent years, a large number of architecturally distinctive, even eccentric, skyscrapers have sprung up throughout Shanghai. Notable examples of contemporary architecture include the Shanghai Museum and Shanghai Grand Theatre in the People's Square precinct.
One uniquely Shanghainese cultural element is the shikumen (石库门) residences, which are two or three-story townhouses, with the front yard protected by a high brick wall. Each residence is connected and arranged in straight alleys, known as a lòngtang (弄堂), pronounced longdang in Shanghainese. The entrance to each alley is usually surmounted by a stylistic stone arch. The whole resembles terrace houses or townhouses commonly seen in Anglo-American countries, but distinguished by the tall, heavy brick wall in front of each house. The name "shikumen" literally means "stone storage door", referring to the strong gateway to each house.
The shikumen is a cultural blend of elements found in Western architecture with traditional Lower Yangtze (Jiangnan) Chinese architecture and social behavior. All traditional Chinese dwellings had a courtyard, and the shikumen was no exception. Yet, to compromise with its urban nature, it was much smaller and provided an "interior haven" to the commotions in the streets, allowing for raindrops to fall and vegetation to grow freely within a residence. The courtyard also allowed sunlight and adequate ventilation into the rooms.
The city has also got some beautiful examples of Soviet neoclassical architecture. These buildings were mostly erected during the period from the founding of the People's Republic in 1949 until the Sino-Soviet Split in the late 1950s. During this decade, large numbers of so-called Soviet experts poured into China to aid the country in the construction of a communist state, some of them were architects. Examples of Soviet neoclassical architecture in Shanghai include what is today the Shanghai International Exhibition Center. Beijing, the nation's capital, displays an even vaster array of this particular type of architecture.
The Pudong district of Shanghai displays a wide range of supertall skyscrapers. The most prominent examples include the Jin Mao Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center, which at 492 metres tall is the tallest skyscraper in mainland China and ranks second in the world. The distinctive Oriental Pearl Tower at 468 metres, is located nearby in downtown Shanghai. Its lower sphere is now available for living quarters, starting at very high prices.
Perhaps one of the most spectacular buildings of modern times, Shanghai Center, a supertall skyscraper is under construction in the Pudong District of the metropolis. At 580 metres, the building is expected to offer 127 stories and propel the city to be an advanced financial capital upon planned completion in 2010.
Because of Shanghai's status as the cultural and economic center of East Asia for the first half of the twentieth century, it is popularly seen as the birthplace of everything considered modern in China. It was in Shanghai, for example, that the first motor car was driven and the first train tracks and modern sewers were laid. It was also the intellectual battleground between socialist writers who concentrated on critical realism (pioneered by Lu Xun and Mao Dun) and the more "bourgeois", more romantic and aesthetically inclined writers (such as Shi Zhecun, Shao Xunmei, Ye Lingfeng, Eileen Chang).
Besides literature, Shanghai was also the birthplace of Chinese cinema and theater. China’s first short film, The Difficult Couple (Nanfu Nanqi, 1913), and the country’s first fictional feature film, Orphan Rescues Grandfather (Gu'er jiu zuji, 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 Thirties, generating Marilyn Monroe-like stars such as Zhou Xuan. Another film star, Jiang Qing, went on to become Madame Mao Zedong. The talent and passion of Shanghainese filmmakers following World War II and the Communist revolution in China 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 (Huayang nianhua) directed by Wong Kar-wai (a native Shanghainese himself) depicts one slice of the displaced Shanghainese community in Hong Kong and the nostalgia for that era, featuring 1940s music by Zhou Xuan.
Shanghai boasts several museums of regional and national importance. The Shanghai Museum of art and history has one of the best collections of Chinese historical artifacts in the world, including important archaeological finds since 1949. The Shanghai Art Museum, located near People's Square, is a major art museum holding both permanent and temporary exhibitions. The Shanghai Natural History Museum is a large scale natural history museum. In addition, there is a variety of smaller, specialist museums, some housed in important historical sites such as the site of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea and the site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
The Shanghai School (海上画派 Haishang Huapai or 海派 Haipai) is a very important Chinese school of traditional arts during the Qing Dynasty and the whole of the twentieth century. Under efforts of masters from this school, traditional Chinese art reached another climax and continued to the present in forms of the "Chinese painting" (中国画) or guohua (国画) for short. The Shanghai School challenged and broke the literati tradition of Chinese art, while also paying technical homage to the ancient masters and improving on existing traditional techniques. Members of this school were themselves educated literati who had come to question their very status and the purpose of art, and had anticipated the impending modernization of Chinese society. In an era of rapid social change, works from the Shanghai School were widely innovative and diverse, and often contained thoughtful yet subtle social commentary. The most well-known figures from this school are Ren Xiong (任熊), Ren Yi (任伯年), Zhao Zhiqian (赵之谦), Wu Changshuo (吴昌硕), Sha Menghai (沙孟海, calligraphist), Pan Tianshou (潘天寿), Fu Baoshi (傅抱石) and Wang Zhen (Wang Yiting) (王震). In literature, the term was used in the 1930s by some May Fourth Movement intellectuals, notably Zhou Zuoren and Shen Congwen, as a derogatory label for the literature produced in Shanghai at the time. They argued that so-called Shanghai School literature was merely commercial and therefore did not advance social progress. This became known as the Jingpai (Beijing School) versus Haipai (Shanghai School) debate.
Songjiang School (淞江派) is a small painting school during the Ming Dynasty. It is commonly considered as a further development of the Wu School, or Wumen School (吴门画派), in the then cultural center of the region, Suzhou. Huating School (华亭派) was another important art school during the middle to late Ming Dynasty. Its main achievements were in traditional Chinese painting, calligraphy and poetry, and especially famous for its Renwen painting (人文画). Dong Qichang (董其昌) is one of the masters from this school.
Shanghai's parks offer some reprieve from the urban jungle. Due to the scarcity of play space for children, nearly all parks have a children's section. Zhongshan Gongyuan in Downtown 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 westernmost stop to date on the Metro Line 2. One of the newest is in the Xujiahui District, Xujiahui Gongyuan, built in 1999 on the former grounds of the Great Chinese Rubber Works Factory and the EMI Recording Studio (today's glamorous La Villa Rouge restaurant), with entrances at Zhaojiabang Lu and in the west at the intersection of Hengshang Lu and Yuqin Lu. The park has a man-made lake with a sky bridge running across the park, and offers a pleasant respite for Xujiahui shoppers.
Other Shanghainese cultural artifacts include the cheongsam (Shanghainese: zansae), a modernization of the traditional Chinese/Manchurian qipao (fitting. 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-necked 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. And 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, there is on average one fashion show per day in Shanghai today. Like Shanghai's architecture, local fashion designers strive to create a fusion of western and traditional designs, often with innovative if uncontroversial results.
Shanghai has hosted a number of world events, including the 2007 Summer Special Olympics and a Live Earth concert. The Shanghai International Film Festival is annually held in the city. The city will be the host of the Expo 2010 World's Fair between May and October 2010. Shanghai is also home to a number of professional sports teams, including Shanghai Shenhua of the Chinese Football Association Super League, the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association, and the Shanghai Eagles of the Chinese Baseball League. The city has also hosted the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit every year since 2004.