The Rise of the East in Shang­hai

The west bank of the Huangpu River hosts Shang­hai’s his­tor­i­cal legacy, but the city’s fu­ture is fo­cused across the wa­ter

Business Traveler (USA) - - INSIDE - By Claire Lin

The west bank of the Huangpu River hosts Shang­hai’s his­tor­i­cal legacy, but the city’s fu­ture is fo­cused across the wa­ter

Acen­tury ago, the city of Shang­hai was al­most all lo­cated on the western side of the Huangpu River, an area known as Puxi. The im­pres­sive ed­i­fices of nu­mer­ous Chi­nese and for­eign fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions stood along the fa­mous river­front Bund, look­ing east across the wa­ter to an open ex­panse of muddy flat­lands known as Pudong, where the only habi­ta­tion was a ram­shackle fish­ing vil­lage.

How times have changed. As Shang­hai’s for­tunes took a turn for the bet­ter dur­ing the fi­nal decades of the 20th cen­tury, build­ing in Pudong be­gan and soon ex­ploded into a frenzy of ex­pan­sion, quickly be­com­ing packed with high-rise build­ings, some with glob­ally renowned ar­chi­tec­tural pro­files.

To­day, Lu­ji­azui, the area of Pudong di­rectly op­po­site the Bund, has taken over Puxi’s role as Shang­hai’s fi­nan­cial hub, trans­form­ing into “China’s Wall Street” and stand­ing along­side ma­jor global fi­nance cen­ters like Man­hat­tan, Lon­don’s Square Mile and Cen­tral in Hong Kong. Lu­ji­azui’s sky­scraper-strewn cityscape now boasts the high­est build­ing den­sity in China, while many be­lieve that it can also claim to have the best view in Shang­hai, look­ing across to the Bund sky­line.

Pudong’s de­vel­op­ment es­chewed an Old Shang­hai-style am­bi­ence, in­stead tak­ing on the pol­ished, con­tem­po­rary look of a Western city. Fol­low­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of the head­quar­ters of the Peo­ple’s Bank of China and Shang­hai Fu­tures Ex­change in Lu­ji­azui, both Chi­nese and in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions started to shift their busi­ness to Pudong.

On this high-fly­ing plot of land many of New Shang­hai’s most fa­mous land­marks can be found, from the Ori­en­tal Pearl TV Tower and the sky-pierc­ing Jin Mao Tower to the iconic Shang­hai World Fi­nan­cial Cen­ter and the Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Fi­nance Cen­tre. Lu­ji­azui is also home to an im­pres­sive as­sem­blage of five-star ho­tels, in­clud­ing the Shangri-La, Ritz-Carl­ton, Grand Hy­att and Park Hy­att.

The care­fully planned 11-squaremile Lu­ji­azui Fi­nance and Trade Zone is di­vided into a fi­nan­cial cen­ter, a busi­ness area, ad­min­is­tra­tive and cul­tural cen­ter, res­i­den­tial area, and so on, but is con­stantly ex­pand­ing. How­ever, most peo­ple are only fa­mil­iar with the area bor­dered by the Huangpu River to the west and north, Pudong South Road to the east, and by Dongchang Road and Pudong Av­enue on its south­ern edge. In­deed, lo­cals re­fer to this smaller three-square-mile area as “Lit­tle Lu­ji­azui.”

Lu­ji­azui has be­come the fo­cus for all sorts of im­por­tant busi­ness events and con­ven­tions. How­ever, it in­evitably lacks the ele­ments of his­tory, ar­chi­tec­ture and cul­tural tra­di­tion that make for a good sight­see­ing tour. As a con­se­quence, most busi­ness trav­el­ers head across the river to the Bund and Puxi for a cul­tural fix. But for those look­ing for some re­tail ther­apy, a top eatery or cool bar, no travel is nec­es­sary, as Lu­ji­azui is blessed with ex­cel­lent culi­nary and shop­ping op­tions.

On the Menu

Flair, lo­cated on the 58th floor of The Ritz-Carl­ton Pudong, of­fers the best views of the Huangpu River and Puxi from its out­door seat­ing area. This bar is pop­u­lar and at night is al­ways crowded.

An­other fa­vorite is the Liv­ing Room at Park Hy­att, which pro­vides out­stand­ing high-end cui­sine in an el­e­gant lounge set­ting. The much-loved 100 Cen­tury Av­enue Restau­rant at the top of Park Hy­att is the high­est restau­rant in Shang­hai, a lux­u­ri­ous space serv­ing a wide range of cui­sine. At the Pudong ShangriLa, Nadaman Restau­rant serves up un­ri­valed Ja­panese cui­sine. Cre­ated by

Lu­ji­azui now boasts the high­est build­ing

den­sity in China

top de­sign­ers, Nadaman is dec­o­rated with tra­di­tional Ja­panese-style pa­per lan­terns in com­bi­na­tion with mod­ern ele­ments like re­flec­tive glass cur­tain walls and gran­ite ta­bles. What dis­tin­guishes the Grand Kempin­ski (for­merly the Gran Melia) from other ho­tels is its Al­bero Span­ish restau­rant, plus bars like the re­laxed and op­u­lent Red Pas­sion Club or Ha­vana Night where you can let your hips go wild to the pas­sion­ate Cuban Cabaret.

If you want to get away from the ho­tel scene, Lu­ji­azui’s old­est Su­per Brand Mall of­fers mid-priced op­tions for food and

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