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Shanghai is the "dragon head." A municipality with provincial status, it is China's largest city in population (about 15 million), and the nation's leader in finance, industry, and trade. The name Shanghai means "on the sea," and the city aptly lies on the East China Sea coast, just south of the Yangtze River estuary.
After the mid-19th century Opium War, Britain forced open the port of Shanghai to Western trade. Foreign imperialism subsequently transformed Shanghai into one of the world's most glamorous and cosmopolitan cities by the 1920-30's.
After 1949, Shanghai added manufacturing, scientific research, education, and petroleum production to its economic base. Today Shanghai is a prime mover in Chinese modernization, especially evident in its Pudong New Area -- a free trade zone opened in 1993, featuring a high tech development park and modern housing blocks.

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