Shanghai has a peculiar history as the Paris of China, and the Queen of the Orient. And even today, the memory of Shanghai remains as the "Bund", the political, financial, commercial and cultural center of Western power in China in old days. Shanghai put away such a memory with the establishment of People's Republic of China in 1949. The masses in one sense began to step to a different tune, but continued however to be a leader. Today Shanghai has reawakened and developed its economy, which has gone unmatched by any other Chinese city.
Shanghai is a major financial center and an emerging economic powerhouse. From the end of 1970, after the Cultural Revolution, economic reform has proceeded 9 in a steady fashion. With that, Shanghai has been ballooned its economy as part of Special Economic Zone. But it was in 1990 when Shanghai's long malaise came to an abrupt end, with the announcement of plans to develop Pudong on the eastern side of the Huangpu River. And Shanghai still has major problems. Foreign investors often complain that costs have risen so sharply that they have been forced to shift production out of Shanghai. And with the rapid development of economy, a lot of people who live in the countryside gather in Shanghai to find a job, and as a result they stayed in Shanghai for a long time.
Today Shanghai's continual planning will circumvent their infrastructure problems; therefore some projects like freeway and subway systems continue to proceed. And even great facelift that plans are under way to build the tallest building in the world here, the Shanghai Shimao Building.
People often wonder why they see so many much more western building at Shanghai than the other cities. The reason for this comes from its history. Shanghai became a great city only after the Western powers took control and exploited it for their own use. This city was built on the trade of opium, silk, and tea. The world's great houses of finance descended on the city. It is because of the history of the city decades before the communist regime came to power, that advanced industrialized nations are once again focusing investment on this city.
The Communist Party was formed here in 1921, on the other hand Chiang Kaishek, the leader of Kuomintang took a policy against the Communist Party (CCP). The Kuomintang cooperated closely with the foreign police, the Shanghai gangs and with Chinese and foreign factory to suppress labor unrest. After numerous setbacks, the city was "liberated" in 1949, when the People's Republic of China was established. CCP eradicated the slums and opium addicts, and eliminated slave labor. But that also put Shanghai to sleep until the market reform was started after the end of the CR.
Shanghai is one of the great cultural centers of China. Traditional Chinese opera and drama are often an extravagant display of costumes, make-up and acrobatics, and are seen in many places. But they are almost exclusively delivered in Chinese and therefore inaccessible to most foreigners. Because Shanghai was influenced by western culture during its history, interpretation of western opera, ballet and theatre are presented at some places including Shanghai's Opera House. The Chinese acrobat troops are among best in the world, and Shanghai is a good place to see a performance. Most of the provinces including Shanghai have their own performing troops, sponsored by government agencies. Apart from the acrobatics, there's magic, vaudeville, drama, music, conjuring, and dance thrown into a complete performance.
Shanghai's food features vegetable and seafood dishes with stew-in-brown-soy-bean and stir-fly-in-vegetable-oil as the main cooking method. The earliest Shanghai food used to be distinguished by its thick stock, heavy sauce, moderate taste and natural flavor. In recent years, exchange of skills among various cuisine restaurants, and setting up of a "technical centers" designed to improve the color, smell, flavor, and appearance of Shanghai food, have been made to better cater to the palate of locals and most of all, visitors.
Shanghai may be the best place for foreigners to visit among all of China's cities. Foreigner's there don't feel the stresses and strains of fighting against a use-hostile service structure. Shanghai knows that tourism makes money, so it makes effort to prepare good condition for tourists. Shanghai has a lot of place to stay having three ranges: budget, middle, and top end. Shanghai abounds in antiques because of its importance as the largest city in the most populous oriental country. When tourists come to Shanghai, they always want something old or ancient which will remind them of their delightful trip to China later in their life. However, Shanghai's does have many featured places to visit. For example, Longhua Temple is the biggest and oldest temple in Shanghai. Yu Yuan Garden is also the most Famous ancient structure in Shanghai, and millions of tourists both at home and abroad are attracted by it. The tourists can see a lot of art collections by ancient Chinese at Shanghai Museum, which has the research departments for Chinese bronze, ceramics, paintings, and calligraphy. Shanghai also has some special events. Shanghai's Tourism Festival kicks off in late September, and during the Chinese New Year (usually in February) hotel accommodations are scarce.