Foreign Policy has a special cities issue online and among the articles is a photo slide show of old Shanghai that’s worth a look. “Shanghai’s heyday as the Vegas of Asia” is a slightly odd title as obviously historically it’s more accurate to describe Vegas as the Shanghai of the United States – though of course this is to belittle Shanghai’s role. Vegas exists largely on the back of two industries (three if you include the number of people on CSI involved in cleaning up the city’s crime rate1) – gambling and entertainment. Shanghai was of course also the Wall Street of Asia, the largest port, a significant stock exchange and bullion dealing centre, the epi-centre of the cotton industry, the home of China’s Central Bank in the 1930s, the major centre for innovation and entrepreneurship in China in the 1930s and (and here Vegas slips a little I fear) a major centre of culture and learning.
Still, the pics are fun…..