Overview of Shanghai

Shanghai is a powerhouse both nationally and internationally. It is China's most populous city and it is located in eastern China at start of the Yangtze River. This city was once just a small textiles and fishing town which grew in importance during the 19th century as it had an excellent port location. During just 2 decades, it is known all over the world for its influence in international culture, fashion, finance, and commerce.

This mega metropolis is a renowned tourist destination as there are historical landmarks, a growing skyline, and is a very prosperous city with a cosmopolitan feel. It has a highly-educated and skilled labour force, as well as affluent and sophisticated consumers which therefore makes it an attractive area for overseas investors.

Many of the migrants who moved to Shanghai were from Zhejiang and Jiangsu province moved during the late 19th and early 20th century. These are areas that speak Wu, and many migrants from other areas outside of these neighbouring provinces cannot speak the local language so the lingua franca is Mandarin. However, Wu is still spoken in the form of Shanghainese. Mandarin is mutually unintelligible with this dialect so it is a unique characteristic of the Shanghainese identity.

As Shanghai has had a cosmopolitan history, there is a rich blend of heritage sites across the city including religious buildings. Shanghai has many Taoist temples as well as a Confucius temple. Since ancient times, Buddhism has played a role in this city. As a result, there are many ancient temples such as the Jade Buddha Temple, Longhua temple, and the Jing'an Temple which have historic significance. The highest percentage of Roman Catholics in China can be found in Shanghai, with St Ignatius Cathedral being one of the largest cathedrals in the country. There is also an active pilgrimage site at the She Shan Basilica. 700 years ago, Islam came and a mosque dating from 1295 still exists in Songjiang. Jews fled to Shanghai during World War II and created a vibrant community called the Shanghai Ghetto which was centred around the Ohel Moshe Synagogue.

There are many museums of national importance. These include the Shanghai Museum which boasts the greatest collections of Chinese historical artefacts in the world. The other popular museums include the Shanghai Art Museum, and the Shanghai Natural History Museum.

As Shanghai is an important economic and cultural centre in East Asia since the 1st half of the 20th Century, it is seen as the birthplace in China for everything that is considered modern. For example, the first modem sewers and first train tracks were laid here, and the first motor car was driven in Shanghai. It is also home to an intellectual battleground for socialist writers. It is also the birthplace of literature, Chinese theatre, and Chinese cinema.

Sports lovers will also enjoy Shanghai. There teams which play in local sporting leagues such as the Shanghai Shenhua, Shanghai Sharks, Shanghai Golden Eagles, and the China Dragon. These leagues include basketball, football, and ice hockey. Other than these, Shanghai is the regular host of the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix, the HSBC Golf Championship, and the ATP Masters 1000.