Shanghai is amazing.
A city of 24 Million with no ghettos. Imagine that.
Many of you reading this will have been to or are in Shanghai as it is such a dynamic place. It is the world’s 8th largest urban area. It also has some of the world’s most expensive housing. 24 Million live in Shanghai and another 100 Million want to get in. Thus housing prices are up and up. In the city, 80,000 RMB per square meter. (US$1,160/ft!) This is hard to manage. It does have remote areas that are less Westernized and less developed.
When I first took my Chinese wife to America and she saw the city of Chicago, she cried out “How Old!” Ah, China is new and surely Shanghai is the most new. The whole of Pudong was still an empty field just 22 years ago. Liujiazui is just now getting finished.
This was an entrepreneurial city up until 1949. Then the curtain fell and did not start to rise until 1995. 46 years had passed. So many older people could remember. The density of the people in the city was super high, and the one child policy was most strictly enforced. (They have a severe child shortage now)
I visited Shanghai in 1992. I thought we could buy western food there that we could not get in Anhui province where I lived then. I was wrong. Shanghai was just like cities in Anhui only it was so much bigger. Shanghai went on and on, but it was all the same. Remember Yellow Mountain Cola?
At about that time China made a decision to develop Shanghai. Shanghai had been used for its factories but all the money left Shanghai until China decided that this would be their answer to Hong Kong. In the 1930’s Shanghai was a bigger draw than Hong Kong. The Chinese government new that businessmen in the West had heard of Shanghai and Beijing and little else. Businessmen associated Beijing with government and Shanghai with business. China started to take money from all over China and send it to Shanghai to give it the infrastructure that would make it great again. Bridges and raised highways and subways were built at a frantic speed. Shanghai and especially Pudong invited massive foreign investment and got it. Western Businessmen had heard of Shanghai and were afraid to invest anywhere else. They came to Shanghai. The flood of action was so great that Suzhou branded itself as suburban Shanghai and listed clearly how many minutes they were from the Shanghai airport. (45 minutes they said in 1998)
There was enough money for all of them. Business people have a bad reputation in China and never more so than in the late 90’s. Everyone wanted to do business and almost everyone saw it as a dirty business and win-lose in all cases. Shanghai was the previous business capital of China. It’s behavior in the early 1900’s led to the term getting shanghaied entering the English language. I blogged specifically about getting Shanghaied in Shanghai 5 years ago. Do not think you cannot succeed in that busy place. If you do not call us, I would at least recommend getting a non Shanghai person to manage your Shanghai business. Non-Shanghai people may also shanghai you, but at least they will not be in their home court. Please do not think I am saying all Shanghai people are out to trick you. I am saying that my business has made money saving companies from Shanghai managers.
Amazing Shanghai – An International City
Back to the glory of Shanghai. One former customer lamented that he missed the energy of Shanghai. He even missed the energy of all of China but had worked mostly in Shanghai. There is so much going on in Shanghai. If you want to be in a foreign ghetto in China then you can do that very well in Shanghai. What you can usually only buy on line in China, you can often buy in stores in Shanghai.
Finally, right next to Shanghai is Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, two powerhouse economic provinces.
By the way did you know that you do not need a visa for Shanghai and these two provinces if you stay 6 days or less?
Welcome to Shanghai and come to visit us in Greater Shanghai on your visa free travel. But beware of getting Shanghaied with a smile.
Just to show I am not biased against Shanghai people or Chinese people in general, I want to offer you this eBook: