With the world’s largest seaport, the highest per capita income in China and a central position in the global manufacturing, technology and finance industries, Shanghai is the perfect place to study international trade.
Located on the east coast of China, Shanghai is the largest city in the country – and in fact is one of the biggest metro areas in the world, with over 20 million people. Though it’s a single city, Shanghai is administered as a province due to its great size and tremendous economic activity.
Its location at the mouth of the Yangtze River gave Shanghai important trading status early on; in fact, the Chinese characters that make up the name “Shanghai” mean “the upper reaches of the sea.” The 1842 Treaty of Nanking opened the city to international trade. Despite a few interruptions due to political upheaval, Shanghai has flourished over the past two centuries and is now the largest cargo port on the planet. China is the world’s fastest-growing economy – and Shanghai is China’s most important economic engine.
Shanghai is also a major tourist destination. Its arresting skyline is continually expanding and showcases some of the most unique skyscrapers in the world. The city is known not just as a commercial center but as a hub of modern culture and design; a city of “firsts,” it boasted the first train tracks, modern sewers and motorcars in China. Modern Chinese literature, cinema and theater were all born in Shanghai – but the city is also home to the world’s most impressive collections of ancient Chinese art and artifacts.
U.S. State Department’s China Page (includes link to STEP, Smart Traveler Registration Program)
StudentsAbroad: preparation, information and tips from the U.S. State Department
Guide to China from Lonely Planet