Shanghai’s name literally means “on the sea,” and it’s located on China’s eastern coast just to the south of the mouth of the Yangtze River. Shanghai borders both Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. It also occupies a central location along china’s coastline, an advantageous geographic location that makes it an excellent sea and river port that supports a lot of industry.
The Huang Pu River divides Shanghai into two distinct areas: Puxi and Pudong.
Puxi (pronounced poo-shee) on the west contains the historical ‘heart’ of Shanghai, and still constitutes what most people refer to as downtown. This side of the city undoubtedly offers the greatest choice of shops, culture and nightlife. Downtown Shanghai in Puxi is a relatively small area and is comprised of the greater parts of Jing An, Luwan and Xuhui districts. The geographic center of the city is People’s Square while it’s social center is focused more on the former international and French Concessions.
Pudong (pronounced poo-dong) lies to the east of the Huang Pu and was largely built in the last fifteen years. It is most often associated with the high-rise riverside financial and commercial district of Lujiazui, where extremely high-end residential complexes share the skyline with imposing financial buildings.
The two sides of the city are connected by bridges, tunnels, the subway, and ferries. Each has distinct advantages and disadvantages depending on your own particular circumstances and lifestyle preferences.
Shanghai is one of the most populous cities in china. The latest government census pegs its permanent residents at slightly under 25 million, of which more than 20 million live in urban areas. There is also a large population of migrant workers, generally cited as somewhere between 8-9 million. Expatriates form a very small percentage of the population.
The official language of China is Mandarin. However, English is widely spoken in Shanghai, especially in the city center.
Shanghai has four distinct seasons with a short and wet spring and a leisurely autumn bookended between a hot and humid summer and a cold and damp winter. There is very little snow in the winter, but plenty of sleet, and expect typhoons in September.