POLITICS AND ECONOMICS
Shanghai is known for sending its politicians on to bigger jobs in Beijing. Jiang Zemin and
Zhu Rongji are both former mayors who went on to become president and premier respect-
ively. Xi Jinping, a former Shanghai Communist Party Secretary - the top-ranked position -
is now the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee.
China's financial capital
Shanghai is China's beating economic heart, and its financial capital. It is also the location for
China's first free trade zone, which was launched in September 2013, part of a state-planned
agenda for the city to be a fully-fledged global financial centre by 2020. With just 0.06% of
the nation's land area, Shanghai still manages to contribute more than four percent of Ch-
Per capita GDP in 2012 was RMB85,373 (around USD14,120 at early 2014 exchange
rates), on a par with a medium-sized developed country. In recent years, the city has wit-
nessed unprecedented economic expansion in tandem with impressive infrastructure devel-
opment - much of which was completed in time to host the record-breaking 2010 World
Expo. Even as the pace slows as the national economy matures, GDP still increased by 7.5
percent in 2012. Overall optimism continues and consumer spending is strong; with retail
sales rising 8.8 percent in 2012, and 8.7 percent in the first 10 months of 2013.
The government's massive investments during the 2008 financial crisis and Expo kept the
Shanghai economy vibrant, but recognising that a more sustainable model was needed to
the long-term, it is now focused on the transition to a consumption-driven economy even at
the cost of lower GDP growth rate. The second area of long-term focus is the movement
from being the world's factory - ie manufacturing - to a more creative, or innovation-oriented
society: from 'Made in China' to 'Invented in China'. These transitions will help the govern-
ment achieve its goal of becoming an international economic, financial, trade and shipping
center by 2020.
Hand-in-hand with the economic policies designed to assure a well-off society, the govern-
ment is also working to accelerate social development with the focus of improving liveli-
hoods. To date, they have provided 17 million square metres of low-income housing, and the
average living space of urban residents has been improved to 17 square metres. More re-
sources have been invested in community nursing services for the elderly, and significant re-
form of the city's medi-care system is on the way.