Shanghai is the commercial and financial center of mainland China, and ranks 16th in the 2016 edition of the Global Financial Centres Index published by the Z/Yen Group and Qatar Financial Centre Authority. It was the largest and most prosperous city in East Asia during the 1930s, and rapid re-development began in the 1990s. This is exemplified by the Pudong District, a former swampland reclaimed to serve as a pilot area for integrated economic reforms. By the end of 2009, there were 787 financial institutions, of which 170 were foreign-invested. In 2009, the Shanghai Stock Exchange ranked third among worldwide stock exchanges in terms of trading volume and sixth in terms of the total capitalization of listed companies, and the trading volume of six key commodities including rubber, copper and zinc on the Shanghai Futures Exchange all ranked first in the world. In September 2013, with the backing of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang the city launched the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free-Trade Zone-the first free-trade zone in mainland China. The Zone introduced a number of pilot reforms designed to create a preferential environment for foreign investment. In April 2014, The Banker reported that Shanghai “has attracted the highest volumes of financial sector foreign direct investment in the Asia-Pacific region in the 12 months to the end of January 2014”. In August 2014, Shanghai was named FDi magazine’s Chinese Province of the Future 2014/15 due to “particularly impressive performances in the Business Friendliness and Connectivity categories, as well as placing second in the Economic Potential and Human Capital and Lifestyle categories”.

In the last two decades Shanghai has been one of the fastest developing cities in the world. Since 1992 Shanghai has recorded double-digit growth almost every year except during the global recession of 2008 and 2009. In 2011, Shanghai’s total GDP grew to 1.92 trillion yuan (US$297 billion) with GDP per capita of 82,560 yuan (US $12,784). The three largest service industries are financial services, retail, and real estate. The manufacturing and agricultural sectors accounted for 39.9 percent and 0.7 percent of the total output respectively. Average annual disposable income of Shanghai residents, based on the first three quarters of 2009, was 21,871 RMB.

Located at the heart of the Yangtze River Delta, Shanghai has the world’s busiest container port, which handled 29.05 million TEUs in 2010. Shanghai aims to be an international shipping center in the near future.

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