Shanghai is the largest Chinese city by population and the largest city proper by population in the world. It is one of the four direct-controlled municipalities of the People’s Republic of China, with a population of more than 24 million as of 2013。 It is a global financial center, and a transport hub with theworld’s busiest container port. Located in the Yangtze River Delta in East China, Shanghai sits at the mouth of the Yangtze in the middle portion of the Chinese coast. The municipality borders the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang to the north, south and west, and is bounded to the east by the East China Sea。

In the last two decades Shanghai has been one of the fastest developing cities in the world. Since 1992 Shanghai has recorded double-digit growth almost every year except during the global recession of 2008 and 2009. In 2011, Shanghai’s total GDP grew to 1.92 trillion yuan (US$297 billion) with GDP per capita of 82,560 yuan (US $12,784). The three largest service industries are financial services, retail, and real estate. The manufacturing and agricultural sectors accounted for 39.9 percent and 0.7 percent of the total output  espectively. Average annual disposable income of Shanghai residents, based on the first three quarters of 2009, was 21,871 RMB.

Located at the heart of the Yangtze River Delta, Shanghai has the world’s busiest container port, which handled 29.05 million TEUs in 2010. Shanghai aims to be an international shipping center in the near future.

Lujiazui at night, Pudong

Shanghai is one of the main industrial centers of China, playing a key role in China’s heavy industries. A large number of industrial zones, including Shanghai Hongqiao Economic and Technological Development Zone, Jinqiao Export Economic Processing Zone, Minhang Economic and Technological Development Zone, and Shanghai Caohejing High-Tech Development Zone, are backbones of Shanghai’s secondary industry. Heavy industries accounted for 78% of the gross industrial output in 2009. China’s largest steelmaker Baosteel Group, China’s largest shipbuildingbase — Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group, and the Jiangnan Shipyard, one of China’s oldest shipbuilders are all located in Shanghai. Auto manufacture is another important industry. The Shanghai-based SAIC Motor is one of the three largest automotive corporations in China, and has strategic partnerships withVolkswagen and General Motors.

The conference and meeting sector is also growing. In 2012, the city hosted 780 international gatherings, up from 754 in 2011. The high supply of hotel rooms has kept room rates lower than expected, with the average room rate for four- and five-star hotels in 2012 at just RMB950 (US$153).

As of September 2013, Shanghai is also home to the largest free-trade zone in mainland China, the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free-Trade Zone. The zone covers an area of 29 km2 and integrates four existing bonded zones — Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone, Waigaoqiao Free Trade Logistics Park, Yangshan Free Trade Port Area and Pudong Airport Comprehensive Free Trade Zone. Several preferential policies have been implemented to attract foreign investment in various industries to the FTZ. Because the Zone is not technically considered PRC territory for tax purposes, commodities entering the zone are not subject to duty and customs clearance as would otherwise be the case.