Shanghai is China’s most populous city, located on the Eastern coast near the mouth of the Yangtze River to the East China Sea. The city is home to almost 20 million people and has more than tripled in GDP since 2002, soon to become among the 20 wealthiest cities in the world. Shanghai is the largest city in the Yangtze River Delta metropolitan region (YRD), home to over 80 million people with an enormous $1 trillion economy. China’s ambition to become the world’s leading economy depends substantially on the YRD’s capacity for sustained growth.
The largest and fastest developing city in one of the world’s largest and most rapidly growing economies, Shanghai is often cited as a world city of the future, but has arguably already achieved such status. As China’s industrial and financial centre and with its largest port, there are numerous advantages for the city moving forward to become one of the keynote hubs of the twenty-first century global economy. It has become a model for rapid infrastructure development and is recognised as China’s most cosmopolitan city. Shanghai benefits from a relatively high degree of autonomy when compared to other Chinese cities, developing a number of innovations in the field of finance innovation, talent attraction and poverty reduction. Its ambitions to be one of the top handfuls of financial and shipping centres globally by 2020 appear on track. The success of the 2010 Expo has further propelled Shanghai onto the world stage.
Shanghai’s major commercial challenge is to improve financial services’ management, transparency and innovation. Many commentators suggest that there is now a need to pay as much attention to the city’s soft policy environment as to hard infrastructure development. At the regional level, there is serious fragmentation and contradictory development between the YRD’s major hubs. Shanghai still lags behind Hong Kong and Singapore as an international professional destination, in particular in finance and ICT. Despite a very strong events-led marketing campaign, the city still has room to fine-tune its brand in the West.
IMAGE: Flickr- Keith Marshall