About Shanghai----------------------------------MORE--

Shanghai (Chinese: 上海) is the largest city in China in terms of population and one of the largest urban areas in the world, with over 20 million people in its extended metropolitan area. Located on China's central eastern coast line at the mouth of the Yangtze River, the city is administered as a municipality with province-level status. Shanghai belongs to China and the whole world. With the development of Shanghai’s economic and financial, more and more foreigners have entered this warm land. There are nearly 100,000 foreigners living in Shanghai and 200,000 per year come to Shanghai temporary. Now Shanghai is becoming a mixture of the people from all over the world.

A Historical Glance
As a natural port, Shanghai (“on the Sea” in Chinese) is the gate-way to the mighty Yangtze River. Its total area is 6341 sqkm, consisting of 18 districts, 1 county and more than 18 million permanent residents. But less than a century ago, when the British first settled here in 1842, it was little more than a small town scattered supported by fishing and weaving along the low, muddy banks of the Huangpu River. Most of the modern, eastern part of Shanghai didn't exist until the 17th century. However, since those days Change became rapid. The French joined in 1847, and were quickly followed by an International Settlement. The world's greatest houses of finance and commerce were based in Shanghai in the 1930s. One could find the tallest buildings in Asia, and more motor vehicles than in the rest of China put together. One could also find opium dens, gambling joints and brothels. Guarding it all were the American, French, Italian, British and Japanese soldiers. In 1949 the Communist party gained power, and put an end to the western “party” in China. 3 decades of commuinist regeem began. A conomical reforms began again in the late 70’s, and by the 1990s, foreign capitalist business were once again welcomed. By the mid-1990s more than half the world's high-rise cranes were looming over Shanghai. Today, Shanghai is one of China's biggest and busiest port cities, as well as its most important industrial and commercial center. It continues to grow quickly, with new underground stations, highways, a modern stock exchange, a new airport, two giant bridges and a whole new city in Pudong. Shanghai has become the very symbol of China's rise as a global economic power. Shanghainese are known for their shrewdness for business, humor and sophistication, this city is probably China's most fashionable and international of all its cities. It is one of the fast-growing cities in Asia as well as in the world.

Shanghai Geographical Features
Except for a few hills lying in the southwest corner, most parts of the Shanghai area are flat and belong to the alluvial plain of the Yangtze River delta. The average sea level elevation is about 4 meters.

Mandarin is the official spoken language of China, and the people of Shanghai also speak Shanghainese. With the development of the economic policy, more and more Shanghainese could speak English and other foreign languages even very fluently.

Shanghai City Flower -the White Magnolia
In 1986, the standing committee of the Shanghai municipal people's congress passed a resolution adopting the white magnolia as the city flower. The white magnolia is among the few spring flowers in the Shanghai area. It is in full blossom in early spring and before the clear and bright festival, which usually falls on April 5. The flower has large, white petals and its eye always looks towards the sky. Therefore, the flower symbolizes the pioneering and enterprising spirit of the city.

Shanghai Administrative Divisions
Shanghai is divided into 18 districts and 1 county. There are 205 towns, 9 townships, 99 subdistrict committees, 3,278 neighborhood committees and 2,935 villagers' committees in the city. The 18 districts are Huangpu, Luwan, Changning, Putuo, Hongkou, Minhang, Jiading, Jinshan, Songjiang, Qingpu, Xuhui, Jing'an, Zhabei, Yangpu, Baoshan, Fengxian, Nanhui and Pudong new area. The 1 county is Chongming.

Central Shanghai
Broadly, central Shanghai is divided into two areas: Pudong (east of the Huangpu River) and Puxi (west of the Huangpu River). On the east side of the Huangpu is Pudong, a special economic zone of banks, skyscrapers and new residential compounds. The bund lies on the historic Puxi side of the Huangpu River and looks across to the new skyline of Pudong business district. West of the old town and hidden in the backstreets north and south of Huaihai street (Shanghai's premier shopping street) is the former French concession, with tree-lined streets, 1930s architecture, and cafes and bars. At its western end is a major collection of western-style restaurants and bars. Continuing southeast is Xujiahui with its massive shopping intersection. Farther south is Shanghai Stadium. Western Shanghai is dominated by Hongqiao, a zone of hotels, conference centers, and business offices. Farther west is Gubei, an expat area. Northeastern Shanghai has an industrial feel and is home to several universities. Further northwest is Zhabei and Shanghai train station. Street names are given in pinyin, which makes navigating easy, and many of the streets are named after cities and provinces in China.

The Weather
Shanghai has a continental climate. In winter the temperature drops to 0 degrees celsius and in the summer it can rise to 40 degrees, accompanied by high humidity. January, February and March tend to be the cold- est months. With temperatures reaching as low as 0 degrees celsius, you may pack some winter clothes (sweater, coat, hat gloves, etc). Rainy April, May and June follow. Hot weather and short torrential showers are common, and so you will need T-shirts and umbrellas. The hottest season runs from July to September, with temperatures exceeding 30 and high humidity level. People tend to rush from one air-conditioned building to another and a T-shirt and shorts are about all you can wear. September cools down to around 20 degrees and the comfortable weather continues until November. December is usually around 15 degrees.

Average Temperatures during the Year
The best season to visit Shanghai is autumn. The temperature during this period is mild and rain is less likely than in spring and summer. Shanghai's weather is moderate (annual average temperature is about 15 degrees centigrade) and the seasons are not as distinct as in the North. Shanghai is characterized by a warm spring hot summer, cool autumn and cold winter. Shanghai receives abundant rainfall and the average annual precipitation is over 1,000 cm. The "Plum Flower Rain" season (frequent light rain) is from mid-June to early July with an average daily rainfall of 259mm. During July and September, strong storms with torrential rain become frequent. However, it seldom snows. Shanghai summers are hot and humid. July and August are the hottest months, and January is the coldest. All in all, it is best to come prepared with light clothing for summer and warm, heavy clothing for winter.

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Ave High 7.6 8.7 13 18 23 28 32 32 27 22 17 11
Ave Low 0.3 1.1 5 10 15 20 25 25 20 14 9 3

What to Bring
Deciding what you really need to bring, depends mostly on how long you are planning to stay in Shanghai. Most people bring more than what they need. However, some of the products you are used to buy at home might be a little harder to find, or a little more expensive to buy when in Shanghai.

Appliances-before you pack your favorite toaster, you should consider that most household and electronic items you might use in your home country today are made in China. Most things can be bought locally at a decent price.

Food-If you have a favorite comfort food or a particular brand of beverage you enjoy, bring some with you as supply until you can be sure where you can find it locally. Common western foods are now being sold everywhere. Delis and hypermarkets sell everything from cheese, wines and imported meats to specialty breads and imported fruit. However, diet or diabetic items are hard to find, as are organic foods.

Pharmaceutical/Medical Suppliers -Bring copies of all your medication information, making sure your doctor writes the actual medical contents and not just the brand name. Bring copies of eye prescription and hearing aids as well. Western medicine is becoming more common in Shanghai, but usually at a much higher price than in your own country, vitamins include. As for eyeglasses, there are imported lenses that sell for almost as much as you will find in your home co?untry. Local frames resembling international name brands can be found for half of the price. Computer –generated imported hea?ring aids come from a number of counties. You can also purchase lo?cal models usually for half the price. For some reason deodorants, suntan lotions and sanitary napkins etc. are not up to the usual stan-dard, worthwhile packing a stash. If you apply for a work permit and residence permit in Shanghai, you will be required to provide health check documents.

Infant Needs-China is the land of the little emperors so there is no lack of children’s clothing or toys. Disposable disapers too have caught on. Beware however, that infant clothes and toys may not conform to the same safety regulations as those in your own country. Baby strength medicine or aspirin is hard to find. If your child has allergies and needs special shampoos, washing lotions and washing powders, these are rather difficult to come by.

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