Shanghai as an International Metropolis

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Chapter 3
Shanghai as an International Metropolis

The geographical location of Shanghai is 31°14' north and 121°19' east. It is located on the west coast of the Pacific Ocean, along the eastern coast of the Asian continent. At the frontal tip of the Yangtze River Delta, it adjoins the East China Sea in the east, Hangzhou Bay in the south, and connects with the two provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu in the west. It is located at the mid-point of the north-south coastline of China, and at the Yangtze River estuary. With such a favorable geographical location, convenient transportation, and vast land area, Shanghai makes a good harbor.

Shanghai is also known as Hu or Shen. In ad 715, the region of Shanghai came under the administration of the Huating County (currently Songjiang District). In ad 991, the upper reaches of the Songjiang River silted constantly, and the coastline moved eastward, making transit difficult for large ships. Incoming ships therefore had to berth in a tributary (Shanghaipu) of the Songjiang River. In ad 1267, a town was established on the west bank of the Shanghaipu and was named Shanghai Town. In ad 1292, the central government of the Yuan dynasty separated the town from Huating County and established the Shanghai County. This marked the beginning of the establishment of Shanghai as a city.

Since then, especially after the opening of its commercial port, Shanghai, the first metropolis in the Far East, has been progressing in the same way as other metropolitan centers of the world. It has developed vigorously and manifested a unique charm of an oriental city with a prosperous future.

In the middle of the last century, the land area of Shanghai was only 636 square kilometers. Subsequently, ten counties in the surrounding Jiangsu province were put under the jurisdiction of Shanghai. They were Jiading, Baoshan, Shanghai, Songjiang, Jinshan, Chuansha, Nanhui, Fengxian, Qingpu, and Chongming. As a result, the administrative area of Shanghai City expanded to 5,910 square kilometers. By the end of 2005, the city boasted an area of 6,340.5 square kilometers, with a registered population of 13.6026 million and a permanent population of 17.78 million.

Since its opening as a commercial port in 1843, Shanghai has warmly welcomed people from all over the country, as well as people from all over the world. By the end of the 19th century, the number of foreign residents in Shanghai had reached ten thousand. In 1942, this figure increased to more than 150,000. These foreign residents were from 58 countries and regions, turning Shanghai into an international city. Presently, 66 cities from 50 countries have forged friendly relations with Shanghai. By the end of 2005, 55 countries had established consulate organizations in Shanghai, and 89 media organizations from 18 countries had established branch offices in Shanghai, employing as many as 100 foreign correspondents.

By the end of 2005, there were 354 star-rated hotels in Shanghai, of which 25 were five-star ones. There were 763 travel agencies in the city, comprising 52 international travel companies, and 711 Chinese ones. The number of visitors to Shanghai continued to grow steadily. A total of 5.7135 million international visitors came to Shanghai for the whole year, an increase of 16.1% from the previous year. Of this figure, foreign visitors numbered 4.5227 million, while visitors from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan totaled 1.1908 million. The foreign exchange revenue generated by international travel services reached US$3.608 billion, up 16.8% from the previous year. The total number of domestic travelers received for the entire year was 90.1194 million, of whom travelers from other provinces numbered 68.0498 million, posting a revenue of RMB 13.0841 billion.

Economic development also boosted the import and export of Shanghai, leading to a vibrant foreign trade. The total trade volume of Shanghai in 2005 was US$186.365 billion, up 16.5% over the previous year and down by 25.9 percentage points in growth rate; total imports amounted to US$95.623 billion, a growth of 10.5%, down by 24.8 percentage points in growth rate; the total exports came to US$90.742 billion, up 23.4%, down by 28.2 percentage points in growth rate. Private sectors maintained strong growth, while foreign-invested enterprises, as well as enterprises funded by investors from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, witnessed a significant decline in growth rate. The export volume of private enterprises for the entire year was US$7.492 billion, while the export volume of foreign enterprises and Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan-funded enterprises amounted to US$61.593 billion. The export value of state-owned enterprises amounted to US$20.685 billion, with the export value of the collective enterprises totaling US$971 million.

In an attempt to increase import and export efficiency, and to speed up the procedures for imports and exports, the Shanghai Customs expanded the Major Clearance Project and started the construction of an E-Port. As a result, there was an obvious strengthening in the function of the Shanghai Port. In 2005, the total value of imports and exports achieved by the Shanghai Port reached US$350.678 billion, up 24.1% from the previous year, of which imports amounted to US$138.248 billion, up 14%, and exports came to US$212.43 billion, up 31.7%.

To accommodate the needs of Shanghai citizens and travelers from home and abroad, great emphasis has been placed on the construction of commercial facilities in Shanghai. Franchise supermarkets, specialty shops, warehouse-type malls, and other forms of businesses continually expanded. By the end of 2005, there were 9,264 franchise commercial outlets, of which 2,315 were supermarkets, and 3,894 were convenience stores. In 2005, the sales volume of franchise outlets amounted to RMB 107.894 billion. There was a strong growth trend and favorable prospects for this sector.

Public transport plays an important part in an international metropolis like Shanghai. The city's transport system developed quickly and became increasingly efficient. In 2005 alone, 169 public transport routes were opened or modified. The length of rail transport lines increased from 121.23 kilometers to 148 kilometers (including the Maglev Line). At the end of 2005, the total number of public transport routes reached 940; the number of public transport vehicles increased to 18,000, and the number of taxis numbered 48,000. For the whole year, the total number of passengers who used public transport was 4.409 billion, up 0.3% from the previous year. Of these, rail traffic passengers numbered 594 million, up 23.8%, bus and car passengers numbered 2.781 billion, down 2% from the previous year. In 2005, four new routes specially designated for public transport were added in the central urban area, with a total distance of 21.6 kilometers. All these are a result of giving priority to public transport in Shanghai.

Transport is an issue that governments of all international metropolese must take seriously. Since its reform and opening up, the transport and logistics industry of Shanghai has developed very quickly. Integrated services comprising transportation, warehousing, and postal services have continued to expand and strengthen. In 2005, an added value of RMB 58.127 billion was realized by transportation, warehousing, and postal services, up 13.8% from the previous year. In 2005, there were 3.751 million landings and takeoffs from the Shanghai Pudong Airport and the Hongqiao Airport, and Shanghai has started air traffic with 181 cities, of which 98 are international and regional cities.

The passenger and cargo transport has also expanded in every aspect. In the entire year of 2005, the total amount of goods transported by various means of transport totaled 687.3982 million tons, of which rail transport accounted for 12.783 million, highway transport 326.84 million, waterway transport 345.57 million, and civil aviation transport 2.2052 million. In 2005, 94.8681 million passengers were transported, with rail transport accounting for 43.131 million, highway transport 24.68 million, waterway transport 6.259 million, and civil aviation transport 20.7981 million. The number of vehicles used for civil purposes continued to increase. By the end of 2005, the total number of vehicles used for civil purposes in the entire city had reached 2.205 million, of which 951,600 were cars.

As the saying goes, “There will always be room for improvement.” In order to increase the throughput of Shanghai Port and strengthen the waterway transport, Shanghai sped up the construction of a deep-water port and achieved remarkable progress. The first stage of the Yangshan Deep Water Port project has been completed and gone into operation. Significant progress has also been achieved in the construction of the international navigation center. In 2005, the throughput of Shanghai Port reached 443 million tons, up 16.95% from the previous year, making it the biggest port in the world. The speed of transportation of containers has also increased. The throughput of container transport for the year reached 18.084 million international Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), with a net increase of 3.53 million international TEUs from the previous year, thus maintaining its position as number three in the world.

As early as the end of last century, the Shanghai Municipal Government had already proposed the goal of turning Shanghai into the Four Centers of China, i.e., International Economic Center, Financial Center, Trading Center, and Navigation Center. According to this proposal, the “marketization” process of Shanghai's financial sector would be accelerated. In 2005, it realized a financial added value of RMB 68.987 billion, up 11.6% from the previous year.

Its unique geographical location and cultural environment have resulted in Shanghai's unique style of opening up to the world. This, coupled with Shanghai's efforts in recent years to create a favorable investment environment, has resulted in many overseas financial institutions flocking to Shanghai, as well as a quickened gathering of financial institutions. In 2005, 73 new financial institutions were established in Shanghai, of which 11 were banking institutions, 59 were insurance institutions, and three securities institutions. By the end of 2005, there were 527 financial institutions of various kinds in the city, of which 130 were banking institutions, 227 insurance institutions, and 91 securities institutions. There were 123 foreign financial institutions, of which 14 were newly established in that year. The assets of the 84 foreign banks and financial companies operating in Shanghai totaled US$48.433, of which 65 companies have been granted approval to carry on Renminbi transactions, and their Renminbi assets totaled RMB 114.55 billion. Twenty-nine of Shanghai-based foreign banks have also been designated by their main branches as the reporting branches for businesses within the territory of China.

China's first telephone appeared in Shanghai as early as the 1920s. In this era of information technology (IT), Shanghai has also taken the lead and made tremendous progress in IT development. By the end of 2005, 1,621 trench kilometers of intensive information duct had been built, 361 trench kilometers more compared to the end of 2004. Within the year, 4.445 million new telephone switchboards were installed, with a total capacity of 13.565 million lines. The total number of fixed-line users for the entire city was 9.967 million, of which 6.85 million were residential users. The number of mobile phone users was 14.442 million, an increase of 1.382 million compared to the end of the previous year. The total duration of long-distance calls for the entire year was 11 billion minutes, up 11.8% from the previous year, of which long-distance calls via fixed-lines made up 3.12 billion minutes, up 5.4%; long-distance calls via mobile phones made up 1.96 billion minutes; and Internet Protocol (IP) calls made up 5.92 billion minutes. Of the duration for long-distance calls, international calls and calls to Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan made up 570 million minutes. By the end of the year, Internet users totaled 8.03 million, broadband users 2.474 million, and cable TV users 4.273 million. Cable TV two-way restructuring was completed for 1.8566 million users.

For any internationalized metropolis, the provision of comprehensive education is indispensable. Shanghai is no exception. By the end of 2005, there were altogether 60 ordinary institutions of higher education in the city, of which 30 were four-year colleges and universities, and 30 higher vocational and technical colleges, as well as junior colleges, with a total of 442,600 students. The enrollment of undergraduate and junior college students for the year totaled 131,800, with 103,400 graduates. A total of 27,000 postgraduates were enrolled, and 16,700 postgraduates graduated in the year.

Shanghai has also put in effort to enhance the quality-oriented education and promote a balanced development of basic education. By the end of 2005, there were 640 primary schools in the city, with 535,000 students; 807 ordinary middle schools with 770,200 students, of whom 308,200 were ordinary senior high school students. There were 81 secondary vocational schools with 136,700 students. The enrollment rate for the nine-year compulsory education reached 99.9%, and that for senior high schools was 99.7%. The pace of restructuring and reconstruction of disadvantaged weaker schools in the suburbs has also been quickened. The restructuring and reconstruction of 355 suburban middle and primary schools was completed within the year. The development of private educational institutions also sped up. By the end of 2005, there were altogether 16 private ordinary colleges and universities with 63,000 students, 129 private ordinary middle schools with 92,300 students, and 19 private primary schools with 26,300 students.

As an international metropolis, Shanghai places great emphasis on healthcare development. The building of a public health system and a healthy city was accelerated to ensure continual improvements in public health emergency response and other medical services. In 2005, there were 2,527 health organizations in the city, of which 487 were hospitals, 199 clinics, 22 disease prevention and control centers, and 20 health monitoring centers. By the end of 2005, there were 103,500 health workers in the city, of which 44,000 were medical practitioners and 39,400 registered nurses. Within the same year, six specialized first-aid centers, wards for infectious disease in five hospitals, and special outpatient departments for infectious disease in 20 hospitals, all at the city level, were also completed. Priority was given to strengthening 30 key medical subjects in Grade 3 hospitals, 30 specialized departments in Grade 2 hospitals, and 40 key community health projects in the year. The level of medical and scientific research improved continually, so that in 2005 alone Shanghai won a total of 17 Chinese national medical awards.

With regards to the internationalization of Shanghai, cultural development is another area worthy of mention. A series of large-scale local and foreign cultural exchange activities were held in Shanghai, including the Seventh China Shanghai International Art Festival, the Eighth Shanghai International Film Festival, and the 2005 Shanghai International Fashion Cultural Festival. In terms of national and international literature and arts awards, Shanghai won a total of 58 prizes, of which the Kun Opera Ban Zhao was awarded the national stage art masterpiece project prize for opera. By the end of 2005, the city had 32 municipal and district (county) Cultural Centers and Public Arts Centers, 85 performance troupes, 28 public libraries, 45 archives, and 100 museums. Thirteen feature films were also produced within the year. There were vibrant and interesting TV and radio programs. To be specific, there were 21 public radio programs and a total of 25 public TV programs, with an overall TV and radio coverage of 100%. Continued progress was made toward realizing the goal of “extending cable TV coverage to every village.” In all, 1,696 villages gained access to cable TV, with a coverage of 87%. The press and publishing industry developed continually, with 1.906 billion copies of newspapers, 191 million volumes of periodicals, and 259 million books published in a year. Colorful and vibrant cultural activities were extensively launched. In 2005, 62,300 kinds of cultural events and activities were held in the city, with a participation of more than 16 million people. In addition, 8,303 literary and art works were also created. The year 2005 also marked the completion of 30 community activity centers.

In addition, Shanghai has also achieved remarkable results in sports. In 2005, Shanghai successfully organized such international sports events as the Formula One Shanghai Championship, the 48th World Table Tennis Championship, the Tennis Masters Cup, and 42 other major sporting events at the national level. At the 10th National Games, athletes from Shanghai bagged 26 gold medals, 48 silver medals, and 44.5 bronze medals, and obtained a total score of 2,105.7, ranking third among all participating provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions. At the same time, the sports team representing Shanghai also won the sportsmanship prize and four other prizes. Athletes from Shanghai won a total of seven world championships in major international competitions.

By the end of 2005, Shanghai's daily Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was RMB 2.505 billion. Its daily retail volume reached RMB 851 million, daily import and export volume RMB 961 million, and daily port throughput 1.2142 million tons. The city received 15,633 international visitors every day. There were 1,028 landings and takeoffs of passenger planes every day, and the daily passenger carrying capacity of urban public transportation reached 12.08 million persons. The daily sales volume of liquefied and natural gas, and tap water reached 10.27 million and 6.25 million cubic meters respectively. The daily power consumption was 253 million kilowatts. A total of 5.22 million copies of newspapers were published every day. Every day there was an increase of 3,526 new fixed line users, and 3,786 new mobile phone users.

It is no wonder that the author of All about Shanghai, an English book published in 1935, exclaimed, “Shanghai, the most cosmopolitan city in the world!”

Shanghai, this young yet old city, is basking in the sunshine of the new century. With vigorous and vibrant steps, it is moving forward on the wings of reform and development. With an open stance, it is integrating itself into the tide of economic globalization and confidently striding toward the future.