Thinking of moving to Shanghai or seen a job that has taken your interest? Read our quick guide to get a snapshot of the area.

Quick History

Up until 1842, Shanghai was merely a small fishing village, however after the first Opium War, it became a treaty port, and soon grew to be a major administrative, shipping, trading town and a hub of economic potential. The treaty port status stayed in place for almost a century and caused an influx of foreign workers to create the mix of culture and architecture that is still evident in the city now.

Shanghai’s location and significant influence on trade saw it as a target for heavy conflict during World War Two. After the war, fighting continued in the form of a civil war until the Communists declared victory in 1949 and established the People’s Republic of China, as the country is still recognised today.

Job Market

Over the last few decades the economy has thrived and embraced internationalism, largely centred around the manufacturing and construction industries. The manufacture of automobiles, electronic goods and communication equipment, petrochemicals, steel products, equipment assemblies and biomedicine are core business lines for Shanghai.

Wayne Egglestone, Operations Manager at NES Global Talent Shanghai, offers his insight:

"The job market in Shanghai is a buoyant one and is in fact the biggest in China. Being the most successful city in China it attracts investment from many different sectors; in fact NES Global Talent now provides manpower in to the AutomotiveLife SciencesChemical and Nuclear industries to name just a few. We are just leaving behind the Chinese New Year festivities which is traditionally quiet and look forward to a successful 2017 in China’s fastest growing city."

Interesting Facts

  • Shanghai means the 'City on the Sea'
  • July and August are the hottest months, where temperatures can reach between 35°C – 40°C(95°F)
  • Shanghai hosts the nation’s stock market and accounts for approximately one-fifth of the China’s gross national product
  • The city is very wet! On average, it rains for about one third of the year. The rainfall that occurs between May and September accounts for 70% of the annual total


Shanghai is characterised by a reciprocal attitude to foreign ideas, styles and opinions. The biggest challenge for expats without a doubt is the language barrier. The Chinese culture is typically more open and upfront than that of a western culture, and this extends to spatial awareness as well as individual privacy. The Shanghainese in particular place the utmost importance on courtesy. There are some seemingly innocent behaviours that may cause offense: putting your hands in your mouth in public is considered disgusting in China, and nail-biting is a big no-no.

What to eat

The people of Shanghai generally have more of a ‘sweet tooth’ in comparison to any other area of China. The surrounding areas of Shanghai also have their own distinctive palettes: Hangzhou is known for West Lake carp; Zhejiang for its vinegar; and Shaoxing for its warmed rice wine. Specialities include:

  • Xialongbao - dumplings
  • Sheng Jian Man Tou - pan-fried baozi (buns) filled with pork and gelatin that melts into soup/liquid when cooked
  • Tofu - ‘bean curd’ made from coagulated soy milk

Where to visit

  • Yuyuan Garden - Dating back to the Ming Dynasty in 1559, the Gardens are a stunning example of Chinese classical gardens. Intricate designs boast pavilions, rockeries, mazes and ponds where you can admire the plant-life.
  • The Bund - This is the name given to Shanghai’s waterfront promenade. The Bund stretches along the Huangpu River for around one mile and is lined with a variety of architecture including Art Deco buildings such as the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank. Walking along here provides fantastic views of the city.
  • Shanghai Museum - Located on the People’s Square, the vast museum houses more than 120,000 works of art and historical artefacts. The array is so impressive that some consider this to be the best museum in China.
  • Zhujiajiao Water Town - Zhujiajiao is an ancient town home to around 70,000 people. The town is full of old buildings situated on a maze of canals, offering fresh seafood and a unique shopping experience.

View all our latest jobs and start your next adventure!

The spread of COVID-19 is affecting all of us. But as a global staffing company, NES would like to reassure our customers that we are fully operational across all our locations and are working closely with clients to ensure essential projects stay on track at this difficult time. For regular updates, please see our COVID-19 Support Hub.