Shanghai in Brief

Shanghai is the most populous city in China and one of the most populous cities 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.

The Bund

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. After 1990, 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. Today, Shanghai is the largest centre of commerce and finance in mainland China, and has been described as the "showpiece" of the world's fastest-growing major economy.

Nanjing Road

The two Chinese characters in the city's name,literally mean "high, top, 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. 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, Haishang, and is often used for terms related to Shanghainese art and culture.

Zhujiajiao Water Town

Shanghai is commonly abbreviated in Chinese as Hu. This character appears on all motor vehicle license plates issued in the municipality 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.[10] 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 just the name of a four star hotel in the city. One other commonly used nickname Shen 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 Shen,in their names. Shanghai is also commonly called Shencheng ("City of Shen").