Friday, 26 July 2013

Expat hubs: Shanghai

Image source: Flickr

As the world’s largest city proper (a city without its suburbs) by population, there is no doubt that Shanghai is an iconic location. That’s why we’ve written up a short guide to the city, looking at the main things it has to offer.

Shanghai is one of China’s ‘big three’ cities that dwarf the rest of the country’s settlements in terms of its global profile. It is probably the most diverse of the big three, showcasing a vibrant mix of fashionable Hong Kong’s dynamism and historical Beijing’s cultural heritage.

Image source: Wikimedia

Perhaps one of the better-known aspects of Beijing is its fantastic architecture. Shanghai features various styles, from the neoclassical HSBC Building to the towering skyscrapers of its famous skyline and the smaller, more traditional buildings found by the river.

One of the fantastic effects of Shanghai’s similarities with Hong Kong is the sheer excitement of the city’s hustle and bustle. It’s also a great place to spot celebrities - some of residents are so glamorous that at times Shanghai’s sidewalks can seem more like catwalks!

Image source: Flickr

Shanghai also shares with Hong Kong a long tradition of welcoming expats. In fact, by 2010 there were over 160,000 expats in the metropolis. This is perhaps due to its history as a kind of port city. It also helps that many of the locals speak good English, making life easier for English-speaking expats whilst they work to learn the intricacies of the area’s specific dialect.

Speaking of history, Shanghai’s fantastic cultural heritage straddles many disciplines. The Shanghai Museum of art and history has a fantastic collection of Chinese artefacts and the city was also the birthplace of Chinese Cinema. Nowadays, the city is considered a critical inspiration for the cyberpunk subculture.

Are you an expat in Shanghai? What’s your favourite thing about living in the city? Let us know in the comments below.

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