Shanghai Facts & District Guide

Shanghai, situated on the banks of the Yangtze River Delta in East China, is the largest city of the People's Republic of China and the seventh largest in the world. With one of the world's busiest ports, Shanghai also serves as one of the nation's most important cultural, commercial, financial, industrial and communications centers. Administratively, Shanghai is a municipality of the People's Republic of China that has province-level status.

Originally a fishing town, Shanghai is currently one of China's most important cities. The city often reflects the pop culture, intellectual advances and political systems of the Republic. In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, Shanghai was the third largest financial center in the world, ranking after New York City and London, and the largest commercial city in the Asia.

After the communist takeover in 1949, Shanghai languished because the central government taxed heavily and foreign investments cease, purging the city of its "bourgeois" elements. In 1992, the central government authorized market-economic which redeveloped Shanghai. Now, the city has surpassed early-starters Shenzhen and Guangzhou, leading China's skyrocketing economic growth. Still, challenges remain as the city struggles with economic disparity and overwhelming numbers of migrating workers. As challenges remain to be overcome, Shanghai's prosperous economy and lifestyle represents China's recent economic development.

  • Shanghai City Facts
  • Shanghai District Guide
  • Shanghai City Facts

    Population 17 Million
    Land Area 6200 square km
    County Level Divisions 19
    Number of Districts 18 districts + 1 county
    Country Code 86
    City Code 21
    Postal Code 200000 - 202100
    Municipality 18,670,000 km2
    Elevation 43.5 meters (142.7 feet)
    Density 2,945 / km2 (7,627.5 / sq mi)
    Main Inhabitants  Han nationality makes up 99% of total population
    Religion China is officially atheist, but traditionally pragmatic and eclectic. Some 2% to 3% of the population practice Daoism (Taoism), Buddhism and Islam. An estimated 1% are Christians.
    Dialect Shanghai dialect; official government language is Mandarin.
    Electricity 220 volts

    Shanghai District Guide

    Shanghai is administratively equal to a province and is divided into 19 county-level divisions: 18 districts and 1 county. There is no single downtown district in Shanghai, the urban core is scattered across several districts.

    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 the classy Xintiandi and Huaihai Road in Luwan district and Xujiahui in Xuhui District. Many universities in Shanghai are located in residential areas of Yangpu District and Putuo District.

    Nine of the districts govern Puxi (literally HuangpuRiver 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 or the core city. Most of the city's high quality residences, shops and restaurants are located within central Shanhai.

    Huangpu District, Central Shanghai

    Central Huangpu District includes the Bund (which is along the Huangpu River), the Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall, People's Square and Yuyuan Garden. Opposite the Huangpu River is a spectacular view of the new Shanghai building boom including the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and the Jin Mao Tower, which are among the city's top tourist destinations. As the oldest district in Shanghai, the Huangpu District is the center of administration, culture and trades, as well as the most extravagant area in Shanghai. It has the most historical places in the city, a shopping heaven, a tourist spot as well as a modern international residential area.

    Luwan District, Central Shanghai

    Luwan district is located in the center of Shanghai, directly south of People's Square. The north part of Luwan includes one of the best sections of Hua Hai Road, famous for its shops and restaurants. Luwan is also where you will find the beautiful old French Concession area located, one of the most prestigious sections of the city.

    Jingan District, Central Shanghai

    Jing An District, in the center of Shanghai, has an area of 7.62 square kilometers and is by far the most populated area of downtown Shanghai. This district is where the 750 year old Jing An Temple located, the Temple of the Jade Buddha and Nanjing Road where the best shopping in the city is found.

    Nanshi District, Central Shanghai

    Nanshi District borders the Huangpu river and includes such well known landmarks as the Nanpu Bridge and YuYuan Garden, a top tourist destination of old Chinese gardens, antique shops, teahouses and restaurants.

    Xuhui District, Southwest Shanghai

    Xuhui District is located to the southwest of central Shanghai. Xuhui District, together with Luwan District is what is commonly referred to as 'downtown' Shanghai. This district is considered the safest part of Shanghai and most embassies and consulates are located here. Xuhui has the lowest population density of the downtown districts, but the highest concentration of cultural and scientific institutions. Xuhui has traditionally been an upper class living area and recent development has born that out with many luxurious villas and apartments being developed in Xuhui. The area still has many beautiful old villas left over from colonial days, most in rough shape but some currently being renovated as single family homes. The convergence of 5 main roads (including Huai Hai Road) in Xujiahui represents the main center in the district.

    The Shanghai Catholic Cathedral, Longhua Temple and Shanghai Olympic Stadium are some of the main features of this area. You can also find the Huating Hotel and Regal East Asia Hotel right by the stadium.

    Hongqiao Area, Changning District, West Shanghai

    Located to the west of central Shanghai, the Changning District covers 37.19 square kilometers. Hong Qiao is actually a special economic zone within Changning District and is best know for its airport (for many years the only airport in the city), the zoo and expatriate communities. This district is the biggest high-grade dwelling area for foreigners in Shanghai. It has many western style residential compounds as well as apartments and villas, with gardens, pools, tennis courts and gyms. Sights in the area include the Shanghai Zoo, the Xi Jiao Guest House and Sassoon Park Gardens. The Westin Tai Ping Yang and Yangtze River Hotels as well as the Friendship Store and Shanghai Mart are also found in this area.

    Gubei Area, Changning District, West Shanghai

    Gubei Area is a residential area within Hong Qiao with medium and high rise apartment towers and charming villa compounds that are home to many foreigners. Residential areas such as the Rotterdam Gardens, Villas De Versailles and Rome Garden have European styles that give the viewers a feel of Europe in the middle of Shanghai. In this district you will find the large Carrefour supermarket and many western shops and restaurants. Gubei is also close to all forms of public transportation. The elevated highway is nearby and is very convenient for travel to just about any part of the city.

    Pudong District

    On the east of Huangpu River and west of the mouth of Yangtze River, Pudong District is a fast growing area of 556 square kilometers. Visitors can travel to Pudong from downtown Shanghai via a number of bridges, tunnels, ferries and the new Number 2 Shanghai Metro line.

    The Pudong District has seen massive growth in the past ten years. They have a vast multitude of multinational & Joint Venture high-tech industries and factories producing some of the world's top brand names. The foreign community continues to grow as new factories open in Pudong's tax free zones. Large luxury expatriate housing is continually being built to keep up with the demand for residential property suitable for foreigners.

    Lujiazui Business Area, Pudong District

    The Lu Jia Zui Business area lies on the Huang Pu riverside, and is located directly across from the Bund. Lu Jia Zui is home to the two most popular buildings in Shanghai: the Jin Mao Tower and the Oriental Pearl Tower. The Oriental Pearl TV Tower has become the new symbol of the city, and work has begun on the world's tallest building in Lujiazui .Offices and residential apartment buildings in Lujiazui are some of the best in the city, including Summit Residences and Chrysanthemum Park.

    Jinqiao Export Processing Zone, Pudong District

    JinQiao Export Processing Zone is a big area which the government offers companies tax incentives to station their offices there. Hence, many major companies such as Shanghai GM, Hewlett-Packard, Kodak, Sharp, Ricoh, NEC, Mitsubishi, Philips, Whirlpool, Siemens and many others positioned their office here. Many high end villas offer first-class living and are home to many expatriate families. Jin Qiao is conveniently located just 20-30 minutes from Pudong International Airport and has its own Carrefour and OBI supermarkets.

    Northeast Shanghai

    The Northeast area of Shanghai doesn't have the high concentration of upscale shops and restaurants found in the more central districts. The living environment is pleasant and safe, but there are definitely fewer amenities for foreigners in the Northeast area.

    Yang Pu District, Northeast Shanghai

    Yang Pu District is in the northeast area of Shanghai. It is home to the YangPu Bridge, one of the two main bridges spanning the Huang Pu River. The YangPu District has over 100 research institutes. It also boasts 25 colleges and universities including such well known institutions as Fudan University, Tongji University and the Shanghai Foreign Language University. 

    HongKou District, Northeast Shanghai

    Chinese philosopher and writer Lu Xun lived and wrote near HongKou Park. Nowadays the area is home to the largest and most modern soccer stadium in the city, HongKou Stadium. Bordering the HuangPu River and Suzhou Creek, HongKou District enjoys a great geographical location. 
    Bordering both the Huang Pu River and Suzhou Creek in the northern Shanghai, the HongKou District has a great geographical location. The district is the home to famous universities such as Shanghai International Studies and Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

    The area is home to the most modern football (also called soccer) stadium in the city, the Hongkou Stadium. Currently it is the only stadium used solely for football matches in China. There are numerous tourist attractions in the district such as the former residences of modern prominent literature figures and memorials and parks. Chinese philosopher and writer Lu Xun lived and wrote near HongKou Park.

    Everbright City , Zhabei District

    Located in the northern portion of Shanghai, the Zhabei District does not have much Western standard accommodation, shopping or entertainment. On the other hand, many foreign students prefer to live in this area because the inexpensive apartments here are quite easy to find, and the metro makes it easy to go to just about everywhere else in the city. The Shanghai Railway Station with train connections to just about all parts of China is located within this area. Zhabei gained the nickname "Everbright City", because the dull area during daytime lights up at night and transforms into a carnival, with lots of nightclubs and restaurants that attract many young Shanghainese.

    NOTE: Although this information is correct at the time of our web publication, it is still advised that you call the phone number and confirm the address before going to the venue because some venues may have changed their telephone numbers or address locations.