Shanghai (Chinese for "on the sea") is China's largest city and commands the entrance to the Yangtze River Basin, a large, populous, and economically productive region in central China.
Shanghai is China's most important port and commercial city.
As a result of economic reforms that began in the 1970s, the amount of commerce and trade in Shanghai has increased dramatically. Since 1990 the central Chinese government has encouraged foreign investment by relaxing regulations and lessening bureaucratic procedures. Investment in Shanghai has increased substantially, giving rise to a huge construction boom. Retailing has also mushroomed, and the city now offers many of the finest department stores and shops in China. shanghai-invest.com - Real estate : shanghai-centre.com
The oldest section of Shanghai, near the confluence of the Huangpu River and the Wusong River (Suzhou Creek), reflects the city's preindustrial growth as a walled center of trade and county seat. Shanghai grew west, south and north from this area, and the newer sections, typically with gridlike streets, are a result of the city's growth as a center of commerce, shipping, and industry.
Shanghai has hot, rainy summers and dry, cool winters. With an average daily temperature range of 23° to 32° C (74° to 90° F), July is typically the hottest month. The average daily temperature range in January, the coldest month, is 0° to 8° C (33° to 46° F). Shanghai has an average annual precipitation of 1142 mm (45 in). June is the wettest month and December is the driest. There are occasional typhoons in the summer and autumn.
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The economy benefits from good education facilities that produce a large, well-trained labor force, with many people skilled at highly complex and technical manufacturing jobs. Shanghai is China's leading center of industry and industrial activity ranges from smelting at China's largest integrated iron and steel plant, located at suburban Baoshan, to the manufacture of complex machinery and precision equipment, such as cellular telephones, fax machines, color television tubes, automobiles, textiles, foodstuffs, and electronics. In the early 1990s it contributed almost 7 percent of the total value of industrial production in China, and Shanghai's workers are the most productive in the country.
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Shanghai is one of China's leading centers of learning and culture. Fudan University (founded in 1905), Tongji University (1907), and the East China Normal University (1951). A large branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences is located in Shanghai, and extensive research is undertaken in areas such as semiconductors, lasers, nuclear energy, and electronics.
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Shanghai's port is one of the largest in China, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the country's total cargo volume in the early 1990s.
Major highways and railroads radiate northwest, west, and south to Nanjing, Beijing, Hefei, Hangzhou, Ningbo, and other major cities and towns.
The city has an expanding subway system.
Shanghai began more than 1000 years ago as a fishing village. It was officially designated a market town in 1074 and a market city in 1159. The main activities at the time were fishing, farming, craftworking, and commerce and shipping. By 1292 the region and market city had grown to the point where a separate county of Shanghai was designated, and the market city became the county seat. This permitted the city to assume the important duty of tax collection.
Shanghai continued to grow during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), and near the beginning of the 15th century the county had an estimated 64,000 households. A new channel was cut north to the Yangtze in order to permit better drainage and to keep the outlet to the Yangtze and the East China Sea from filling with silt. This also provided a much more reliable and shorter channel for river traffic to the Yangtze.
Shanghai grew rapidly during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) when the development and use of cotton as a fabric material became widespread. By the 18th century the city was a prosperous center of cotton growing and fabric and garment production. The first of the Opium Wars between Great Britain and China ended with the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842 and a supplementary agreement signed in 1843. As a result, China was forced to open Shanghai to British trade and residence. Other countries demanded and received similar privileges. British, French, and American citizens were awarded small territorial zones north of the original walled Chinese city.
Major cities near Shanghai: