Shanghai (上海 Shànghǎi) , with a population of more than 23 million (with over 9 million migrants), is the largest and traditionally the most developed metropolis in Mainland China.
Shanghai was the largest and most prosperous city in the Far East during the 1930s. In the past 20 years it has again become an attractive city for tourists from all over the world. The world once again had its eyes on the city when it hosted the 2010 World Expo, recording the greatest number of visitors in the event's history.
Shanghai is split in two by the Huangpu River (黄浦江 Huángpǔ Jiāng). The most basic division of the area is Puxi (浦西 Pǔxī) West of the river, versus Pudong (浦东 Pǔdōng), East of the river. Both terms can be used in a general sense for everything on their side of the river, but are often used in a much narrower sense where Puxi is the older (since the 19th century) central part of the city and Pudong the mass of new high-rise development across the river since the 1980s.
Shanghai is a fascinating mix of East and West. It has historic shikumen (石库门）houses that blend the styles of Chinese houses with European design flair, and it has one of the richest collections of Art Deco buildings in the world. As there were so many concessions (designated districts) to Western powers during the turn of the 20th century, in many places the city has a cosmopolitan feel. There is everything from classic Parisian style, to Tudor style buildings that give an English flair and 1930s buildings reminiscent of New York or Chicago.
There is a saying that goes, "Shanghai is heaven for the rich, hell for the poor," People from all over China flock to Shanghai — everyone from farmers seeking jobs in manual labour to university graduates seeking to start a career or wanting to live in a cool up-tempo city. Even well-off people, though, complain that buying a home is becoming impossible; prices have skyrocketed in the last few years.
Most of Shanghai's 6,340.5 square kilometres (2,448.1 sq mi) of land area is billiard table flat, with an average elevation above mean sea level of just 4m (13 ft). The dozens of new skyscrapers that have been built in recent years have had to be built with deep concrete piles to stop them from sinking into the soft ground of this flat alluvial plain.
Shanghai is one of the main industrial hubs of China, playing a key role in China’s heavy industries. A large number of industrial zones are backbones of Shanghai's secondary industry.
While Shanghai has been around as a village since the Song Dynasty, a thousand years or so ago, it only rose to prominence after China lost the First Opium War in 1842. Shanghai was one of five cities which were opened to trade as treaty Ports. Shanghai grew amazingly after that; until then nearby cities like Hangzhou, Suzhouand Nanjing had been far more important, but today Shanghai is definitely the focus of the region.
Eight nations — Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom — were granted concessions in Shanghai, areas that they controlled and where Chinese law did not apply. Most of these were jointly administered as the "International Settlement", but the French ran theirs separately. In all of them, the population was mainly Chinese, of course, but the legal system was foreign and the police included many Sikhs and French gendarmes. They were located North of the Chinese city. Today all these areas are considered parts of downtown Shanghai.
History has shaped Shanghai's cityscape significantly. British-style buildings can still be seen on The Bund, while French-style buildings are still to be found in the former French Concession. The old racetrack in the British area has given way to what is now People's Park, with a major subway interchange underneath. Other subway stops include the railway station at the edge of what was once the American area, and Lao Xi Men and Xiao Nan Men, Old West Gate and Small South Gate respectively, named for two of the gates of the old Chinese walled city. The wall is long gone, but that area still has quite a few traditional Chinese-style buildings and Yuyuan Gardens.
Shanghai reached its zenith in 1920's-1930's and was at that time the most prosperous city in East Asia. Despite this prosperity, much of the streets of Shanghai were ruled by the triads during that period, with the triads often battling for control over parts of Shanghai. That period has been greatly romanticized in many modern films and television serials, one of the most famous being The Bund, which was produced by Hong Kong's TVB in 1980. Shanghai also became the main centre of Chinese entertainment during that period, with many films and songs produced in Shanghai.
Shanghai was occupied by the Japanese in 1937 after a bitter battle lasting several months. After the war, the concessions were not re-imposed on China; trade did resume, but not at pre-war levels. After the Communist victory in the civil war in 1949, many of the people involved in the entertainment industry and many business people fled to Hong Kong and Taiwan. Shanghai's days of glory were — temporarily as it turned out — over.
In the beginning of the 1990s, the Shanghai government launched a series of new strategies to attract foreign investment. The biggest move was to open up Pudong, once a rural area of Shanghai but now a business metropolis countries the world over may envy. The strategies for growth have been extremely successful and now Pudong is home to many financial institutions — which used to be established across the Huangpu river in The Bund — housed in numerous skyscrapers including the World Financial Center, 3rd tallest in the world.
Today, Shanghai's goal is to develop into a world-class financial and economic centre of China and Asia. In achieving this goal, Shanghai faces competition from Hong Kong, which has the advantage of a stronger legal system and greater banking and service expertise. However, Shanghai has stronger links to the Chinese interior and to the central government in addition to a stronger manufacturing and technology base. Since the return of Hong Kong to China, Shanghai has increased its role in finance, banking, and as a major destination for corporate headquarters, fueling demand for a highly educated and cosmopolitan workforce.
Shanghai is one of the least polluted major cities in China, although the degree of pollution might be more severe when using international comparisons. For this reason, coupled with a lesser degree of focus placed on national politics, visitors will find a much different experience than visiting Beijing.
Shanghai's latitude relative to the equator is about the same as New Orleans, Brisbane, or Cairo; the climate is classified as humid subtropical. Summer temperatures at noontime often hit 35–36°C (95–97°F) with very high humidity, which means that you will perspire a lot and should take lots of changes of clothing. Freak thunderstorms also occur relatively often during the summer, so an umbrella should be brought (or bought after arrival) just in case. There is some risk of typhoons in their July-September season, but they are not common.
In contrast, during winter, temperatures rarely rise above 10°C (50°F) during the day, and often fall below 0°C (32°F) at night. Snowfall is rare, but transportation networks can sometimes be disrupted in the event of a sudden snowstorm. Despite the fact that winter temperatures in Shanghai are not particularly low, the wind chill factor combined with the high humidity can actually make it feel less comfortable than some much colder places which experience frequent snowfalls.
In between, spring can feature lengthy periods of cloudy, often rainy, weather, while Autumn is generally mild to warm and sunny.
From : https://wikitravel.org/en/Shanghai