Shanghai is China's main commercial and financial center and one of the most important in the world.
The Shanghai stock exchange, despite not being fully open to foreign investors, is now the second largest in the world.
Modern development began with the economic reforms of 1992, a decade later than many southern provinces, but since then Shanghai has quickly overtaken these provinces and maintained its role as the Chinese business center.
Shanghai also houses the highest market share in mainland China.
It is one of the most active ports in the world; since 2005 it has held first place in the world's busiest ports in terms of cargo, handling a total of 570 million tons in 2007.
In container traffic, it has surpassed Hong Kong to become the second busiest port in the world, behind Singapore.
Shanghai and Hong Kong are rivals to be China's economic center, one officially communist and the other officially capitalist.
Although Hong Kong has a stronger legal system, better integration into the international market, greater economic freedom, experience in services and banks, lower taxes, and a fully convertible currency, Shanghai has stronger ties with the interior of China, better coordination with the central government, and a broader manufacturing and technology base.
Shanghai has increased its role in finance, banking and as an important destination for corporate offices, feeding the demand for high level education, and modernized work.