Living in Shanghai

Shanghai is the “window” of China and fifth largest city in the world, one of China’s most cosmopolitan areas and located on the coast of the East China Sea, enjoys a convenient position as a transport hub. It is a natural tourist base for visiting the East China Sea coastal regions as well as an ideal international transit point for domestics and foreign travel. Shanghai is also a city with a long history that is rich in culture. Hundreds of different style buildings, whether old or new, known as the Exposition of World Architecture, bear witness to the city’s one hundred year history.

Population and Language

Shanghai has a population of over 15 million people with half of whom live in the urban core. The vast majority of Chinese outside metropolitan areas do not speak any foreign language. In all parts of the PRC, the dominant dialect is Putonghua. The individual native dialect of each region (e.g., Shanghai) is also used, making most Chinese people effectively “bilingual”.


The climate in Shanghai is generally mild and moist, with four distinctive seasons - a pleasant warm spring, a hot rainy summer, a comfortable cool autumn, and an overcast cold winter. The weather of Shanghai in July and August is the hottest, with more than 10 days' high temperatures above 35 C. The coldest period is from late January to early February.

Getting Around Shanghai

Shanghai is a big city, but the fairly regular pattern of the central area, with the main streets crossing at right angles, together with the variety of landmarks, makes it a relatively easy city to get around. Sixteen Shanghai subway lines have connections all over Shanghai, with stops at or nearby the main attractions and commercial areas. More than 50,000 taxis are serving in Shanghai, which are operated by over 100 taxi companies.Shanghai’s buses offer convenient, cheaper services throughout the city but they are sometimes overloaded and at peak hours even a Chinese-speaking visitor should be wary about boarding one. Shanghai has been an important artistic centre for well over a century and, though there have been major changes in political and social outlook, the city’s cultural output is now richer than at any time. Shanghai has a lot specialist companies and professional performing groups in everything from opera, ballet and music to comedy and acrobatics.