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About Shanghai

Shanghai is situated on the eastern coast of the People’s Republic of China, in the Yangzte river delta. It is the largest city in China by population and has a rich and diverse history, dating back to its foundation in 751. Following the signing of the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, Shanghai became the primary financial hub of Asia, until the Communist Party took over control of the mainland, limiting Shanghai’s trade relations. 

Since China’s economic reforms in the 1990s, Shanghai has quickly re-emerged as a global financial and commercial center. The city has attracted vast amounts of foreign investments and has become one of the main industrial centers in China. It is home to the world’s busiest container port and has been depicted as the primary example of China’s booming economy. 

Shanghai has also established itself as a popular tourist destination for both ancient Chinese monuments, such as the Yu garden and the City God Temple, as well as European colonial architecture, which can primarily be found along the Bund. 

When you visit Shanghai in summer, be prepared for a heat wave that you have not experienced before. In this huge, densely built city, temperature rises quickly and tops 40 °C easily. Winters are typically cold and dry, yet they feel even colder due to strong winds. All in all, spring and autumn seem to be the most pleasant seasons to stay in Shanghai.

Interesting facts

  • Against popular belief, the Bund, Shanghai’s famous riverside boulevard, derives it name from the Persian word 'band', which means as much as ‘embankment’. Visit the Bund for a collection of former colonial embassies and trade building, and a magnificent view of the business district Pudong.
  • With over 22 million people, Shanghai is the most populous city in the world by some rankings.
  • Shanghai is home of the famous xiaolongbao, or soup dumpling. Throughout the city these small snacks can be enjoyed, offered by venues ranging from street vendors to fine dining restaurants.

Studying in Shanghai

Shanghai has a large number of educational institutions present. In total, there are around 30 universities and colleges, many of which have arrangements for international and exchange students. The city of Shanghai is aiming to increase the number of international students to 70,000 by 2015 and has initiated an extensive scholarship program.

Some of the most prestigious universities of China are located in Shanghai, such as Fudan University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The latter institution set up their own ranking system, better know as the Academic Ranking of World Universities. Both universities are listed in the global 500 best universities according to QS World University Rankings, on the 88th and the 123rd place respectively. This also places them in the Chinese top three universities. 

Living in Shanghai

As a global city, Shanghai offers a near unlimited spectrum of activities. Besides cultural highlights, Shanghai is home to a large expat community. The city also boasts an active nightlife, with a wide variety of bars, cultural centers and nightclubs. Shanghai is also known for its art scene, most visibly in the M50 district.

Shanghai arguably has the world’s most extensive public transportation network. With nearly one thousand bus lines, Shanghai has the world’s largest network of urban bus routes. The city of Shanghai is currently in the process of upgrading its metro network, which is already the longest network in the world, from 14 metro lines to 22. A single card, the Shanghai Public Transportation Card, can be purchased and reloaded for travel on buses, metro and even some taxis.

Top three activities

  • Take a bike tour through Shanghai. Various companies offer private or group bike tours to show parts that remain hidden for drivers, but are too distant for walking.
  • Have a drink at the highest bar in the world. Located on the 87th floor of the Grand Hyatt hotel, Cloud 9 offers a 360 near-birds-eye view of the Pudong area, Shanghai’s business district.
  • Eat pan-fried dumplings at the local chain restaurant ‘Yang’s’. Since 1994, Mrs. Yang has opened 20 restaurants in Shanghai selling the famous dumplings, but has kept the recipe a secret. 

Facts about Shanghai

Population      23,710,000
Size (km²)6,341
Life expectancy80 years
GDP per capita$14,861

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