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View Full Version : Will Shanghai replace Tokyo as East Asia's economic and fashion capital ?



Maciamo
Oct 14, 2005, 13:31
I visited Shanghai 2 weeks ago and was amazed at the economic development of the city. It already has more high-rise buildings than any other city in the world and boast many stupendous skyscrapers, including the world's 4th highest (Jinmao Tower (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jin_Mao_Building)). Soon, Shanghai will complete the world's highest tower ever built. Since 2004, Shanghai can also pride itself on having the fastest train in the world, the MagLev (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_levitation_train), reaching 430km/h (268 mph).

But that is not all. The city is relatively clean and safe. It certainly is much cleaner than Indian or South-East Asian cities (except Singapore), and safer than Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh. Compared to Tokyo, apartment blocks and architecture in general is much more harmonious and more esthetic. Electric lines are buried like in Western countries. Then, Shanghai can boast the grand British and American buildings of the Bund, and the refined French architecture of the French Concession. Add to this quite a few Chinese historical buildings in the Old Town, and renovated traditional shikumen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shikumen) houses, and Shanghai has all the prerequisite for a great city. The economy is booming. Western brand clothes and big department stores abound on Nanjing Road (the main shopping street).

With a population of 17 million, it is already bigger than Tokyo. The city's strategic advantage is its central location between the other great cities of East Asia : Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo, Osaka, Taipei and Hong Kong. Its climate and international character will certainly make it the prime expat destination in the future.

Contrarily to Tokyo with a mayor that tries all he can to discourage foreigners from living there, the government of Shanghai has set its goal to increase the number of foreign residents to reach a share of 5% of the total population. Foreign companies are already everywhere in Shanghai. There are more McDonald's and KFC's than in any Japanese city (funny for a country that is criticised as being overly Americanized). The taxis are all Volkswagen, and big hotel chains have names like Carlton-Ritz, Le Meridien, Shangri-La or Radisson. One can find about any kind of food in Shanghai : Chinese, Japanese, Korean French, Italian, German, Mexican, Indian, Turkish, Brazilian... Although the city really started to redevelop only 15 years ago, it already has a distinctly more international feel than Tokyo.

Maciamo
Oct 14, 2005, 14:17
This will help those of you who haven't been there to visualise the economic boom. Sorry for the poor quality of the pictures, but the weather was cloudy all the time I was there, and some pictures were taken from the bus.

Note how clean the streets are (a big contrast to many developing countries).

The Bund (former British & American Concession)

http://www.wa-pedia.com/images/china/shanghai-bund1.jpg

http://www.wa-pedia.com/images/china/shanghai-bund2.jpg

http://www.wa-pedia.com/images/china/shanghai-bund3.jpg

Pudong (special economic zone, just opposite the Bund across the river)

http://www.wa-pedia.com/images/china/shanghai-pudong1.jpg

http://www.wa-pedia.com/images/china/shanghai-pudong2.jpg

Old Town area (next to the Bund)

http://www.wa-pedia.com/images/china/shanghai-yuyuan1.jpg

http://www.wa-pedia.com/images/china/shanghai-yuyuan2.jpg

Nanjing Road (main shopping street)

http://www.wa-pedia.com/images/china/shanghai-nanjing-road1.jpg

http://www.wa-pedia.com/images/china/shanghai-nanjing-road2.jpg

http://www.wa-pedia.com/images/china/shanghai-nanjing-road3.jpg

Renmin (People's) Park & Shanghai Museum

http://www.wa-pedia.com/images/china/shanghai-renmin1.jpg

http://www.wa-pedia.com/images/china/shanghai-renmin2.jpg

Example of "shikumen" architecture in Xitendi

http://www.wa-pedia.com/images/china/shanghai-xitendi1.jpg

Example of high-rise buildings around the city (taken from the highway in the bus)

http://www.wa-pedia.com/images/china/shanghai-1.jpg

http://www.wa-pedia.com/images/china/shanghai-2.jpg

Example of super-highway

http://www.wa-pedia.com/images/china/shanghai-3.jpg

Examples of apartment buildings (taken from the bus)

http://www.wa-pedia.com/images/china/shanghai-apartments1.jpg

http://www.wa-pedia.com/images/china/shanghai-apartments3.jpg

http://www.wa-pedia.com/images/china/shanghai-apartments4.jpg

http://www.wa-pedia.com/images/china/shanghai-apartments5.jpg

Ma Cherie
Oct 14, 2005, 14:39
One of my main interests is learning about the development of China. :p But I believe Shanghai does have some potential, goodness from what I've been reading about Shanghai is an impressive city. :cool: Shanghai to me isn't booming, it's thriving! :relief:

Alright, enough of that, here's my point. You pointed out that the mayor in Tyokyo is trying to discourage foriegners from living there is because maybe there hasn't been a realization of the benefits of having foreigners (and foreigen markets possibly :? ) can bring to the city. What I'm saying here is that, I think the government of Shanghai gets it, as of January of this year Shanghai already has 36, 744 registered foreigen invested enterprises. Not to mention all the investment in infrastruture for the 2010 WorldExpo and the 2008 Olymbics.

RockLee
Oct 14, 2005, 18:02
Ahh...when I see those pictures I can visualize my trip to Shanghai this summer again :) Nanjin lu is imho the nicest place to shop, but expensive :p But I wouldn't call it exactly clean though,so many garbage on the street and in the water :souka: and beggars...god, so many beggars :okashii:

Maciamo
Oct 14, 2005, 18:07
But I wouldn't call it exactly clean though,so many garbage on the street and in the water :souka: and beggars...god, so many beggars :okashii:

Funny, I haven't seen much garbage (less than in Seoul, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, and obviously much less than in India), and I haven't seen a single beggar. But other people told me they also saw lots of beggars, so I guess I was just lucky. In India, you get people all deformed by polio, or people without legs and moving on a kind of skateboard, coming and begging at you all the time. The worst is that as long as you don't give them something, they follow you. I had one following me during 20min like that in Old Dehli.

RockLee
Oct 14, 2005, 19:31
Funny, I haven't seen much garbage (less than in Seoul, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, and obviously much less than in India), and I haven't seen a single beggar. But other people told me they also saw lots of beggars, so I guess I was just lucky. In India, you get people all deformed by polio, or people without legs and moving on a kind of skateboard, coming and begging at you all the time. The worst is that as long as you don't give them something, they follow you. I had one following me during 20min like that in Old Dehli.That's too bad :worried: It's bad to see so many people begging for just a little money.I remember in Shenzhen next to the sea there were kids at night clinging to you like a leech just to sell you a rose or something.I was also amazed at the amount of people asking and looking for empty bottles in the trashcans !! :souka:

I saw that about India on tv, big piles of garbage, even people lived there ! :eek:

4321go
Oct 15, 2005, 00:33
I have been to shanghai for several times, and it is really a big city. After years of dreariness,Shanghai is resuscitating. I remember that in the 1930's Shanghai is also an important city of East Asia.
I'v never been to Tokyo,but I heard something about Tokyo~

As you said :Shanghai is very open and internationalization.I think if People all like to go there to shopping and investing ~the city will become more and more popular~and it will have chance to become the center of economic and fashion of east Asia.


''

bluubear
Nov 4, 2005, 21:25
Wow, I didn't realise there was a post about Shanghai =p Well, well, ain't I proud since I was born there and lived there for 10 years!

And those were some very nice photos, Maciamo =p Shanghai has changed a LOT in the last decade or so. When I was little, we still had a black and white TV (okies, fine, we had a coloured one too!). Okies... since so many good things have been said about Shanghai, I'll mention some bad things below:

Though with the strive to become an international standard city, I think many more traditional things are lost... for example, those street-side food stalls we used to have got removed because they were considered non-hygenic... that's probably true, but I grew up with them -_- Personally I feel a downside of all these economic boom is the loss of the more "human" side of the city. When I go back nowadays, I love all these big shops and things, but I somehow feel that the city is "colder" than before.

When I go back I find a lot of people very rude, like when we go to the banks and we weren't quite sure what to do, the teller would be quite impatient. Not to mention that when people bump in a busy street... you'd be wasting your time to wait for an apology. Though, friends and family of course wouldn't be like that to each other. I guess the pace is pretty fast in the city after all~

Another more serious problem is probably the huge difference between the poor and the rich. It seems that Maciamo went to most of the "international-facing" districts within Shanghai - I awe at the magnificence and the high standard in these areas (Pu Dong) myself. But when you go to places a bit further from the city centre, you can really see the difference, the roads are much dirtier, buildings older... gives you a feeling that you are just in any standard Chinese city.

In regards to the beggar issue, I have to say there are indeed lots of them (more than other international cities? I'm not so sure). Though I think some of them are not real beggars... as a result people tend to refuse giving money to any beggar because they don't want to become cheated. My personal experience was when I went shopping with my uncle (3 years older than myself), we were mistaken to be a couple by this little girl, and she followed us for 15 mins and insisted on us buying her flowers.

Righteo, that's enough about the bad image. There are some other dark sides to but you'll have to find out yourself...hehe. You might be wondering why am I making a bad name for my hometown... well not really. I really do take pride in Shanghai and that it's once again becoming "Paris in the East" as it was in the 1930s. I just thought I should give some warnings with regards to the city... like anywhere on Earth, it's not perfect, so do not expect perfection =p Though mostly I think you will all enjoy the many aspects of Shanghai's modern aura intermingled with traits of historical heritage when you go there.

Make sure you go to this place called "New World" - Xin Shi Jie - it basically consists of many renovated old Shi Ku Men Houses (I'm not sure how to translate that... but if these are the houses used to belong to the rich people before the war, and after 1945, normal families - usually 3 or 4 - came to share one such house) and some have really modern pubs in them - international ones, VERY VERY nice! - and some are decorated in the 1930s style as to recap the fancy living style once upon a time in prewar Shanghai.

Anyway, I'll stop here, do go see it for yourself ^^ and when I go to Tokyo one day, then maybe I'll be able to make a comparison.