China covers a land area of 9.6 million square kilometers and currently consists of four municipalities (Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing), 23 provinces, five autonomous regions (Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, and Guangxi) directly under the Central Government, and two special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau).

Shanghai is the most renowned commercial and industrial city and the international metropolis in China. Shanghai is also the economic, transportation, science and technology, industrial, financial, trading, exhibition and shipping center in the country. The GDP generated from Shanghai topped the cities in China. Currently Shanghai is striving hard to achieve its goals as international economic center, international financial center, international shipping center and international trading center by 2020. As of 2012, the population of Shanghai stood at approximately 23,804,300. Shanghai covers a land area of 6,340.5 square kilometer, comprising of 16 districts which includes Huangpu District, Xuhui District, Changning Distict and Jingan Distirct etc. and 1 county, Chongming.

Weather

China spans over a vast geographic area. Local weather varies considerably from one location to another. Latest weather information of different regions can be found at the website of China Meteorological Administration: http://www.cma.gov.cn/en/

Shanghai is located in warm temperate zone which is characterized by the northern subtropical monsoon climate. Each of the four seasons also carries distinct features, with sufficient sunlight and rainfall. The weather is mild and humid. Spring and fall are short while summer and winter are relatively long. The coldest month is January, with temperature averaging 4.9℃, and generally July is the hottest month, with temperature averaging 30.9℃. Precipitations from June to September account for 60% of the annual precipitations.

Currency

China's official currency is Renminbi (RMB), commonly known as Yuan. Paper bill includes 1, 5, 10, 20, 50,100 Yuan and 1, 2, 5 Jiao, and coins include 1, 5 Jiao and 1 Yuan. Currency exchange service is available at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, banks and major hotels.

Besides cash, banking service is also available for Hong Kong residents living in China. In general, basic documents required for opening bank accounts include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Identification Document, e.g. passport, Mainland Travel Permit for Hong Kong and Macao resident (commonly known as "Home Visit Permit")
  2. Statement with residential address

Please check with specific banks for detailed application process and related information if necessary.

Voltage

As with most other countries, China adopts the metric measurement system. Household voltage is 220 volts in the Mainland, which is the same as Hong Kong. No voltage conversion is needed if travelers want to use electrical appliance purchased from Hong Kong. However, the power plug is different from those commonly used in Hong Kong and thus a plug adapter may be required. The typical shapes of power plugs in the Mainland are shown in the pictures below.

3-legged power plug in China 2-legged power plug in China

Transportation

Overview

All automotive vehicles, non-automotive vehicles and pedestrians should keep to the right side of the road in the Mainland, which differs from the practice of keeping to the left in Hong Kong.

Besides, the traffic rules also differ. In the Mainland, vehicles may take right turn even if the red light is on, but this would only be applicable where no disturbance is made to cars or pedestrians passing by (however, if the red light signaling right turn is an arrow instead of a round shape, vehicles would be prohibited from taking the right turn until the light turns green). In Hong Kong, on the other hand, no vehicles may take the right turn whenever the red light is on.

Pedestrians and drivers of automotive vehicles and non-automotive vehicles should observe all traffic rules applicable in the Mainland.

Public Transportation in Shanghai

Subway

Currently, there are over 10 subway lines operating in Shanghai. All lines adopt a variable fare charge depending on the distance traveled, that is, 3 RMB per trip for distance traveled of 0-6km (inclusive of 6km), 4 RMB per trip for distance traveled of 6-16km (inclusive of 16km), and 1 RMB more for every 10 km further.

For further information, please refer to the website of Shanghai Shentong Metro Group Corporation Limited: http://www.shmetro.com

There is also a magnetic levitation train line connecting the Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Longyang Road Metro Station, which is the first magnetic levitation train line that is put into operation. The total length of the line is 30.5km. The line adopts a flat fare rate of 50 RMB.

For further information, please refer to the website of Shanghai Municipal Transport and Port Authority: http://www.jt.sh.cn/bmcx/csggjt/gdjt/cxfxl

Taxi

Taxi stands are often found in public areas such as hotels, business centers, hospitals and residential quarters. Passengers may also book taxis over the phone or through the internet.

Shanghai taxies implement a unified fare charge policy, i.e. RMB 13 for the first 3 kilometers and RMB 2.4 per kilometer thereafter. There are also surcharges to the fare, namely fuel surcharge, low-speed surcharge, tarry fee, night charge and appointment fee etc.

For detailed information, please refer to please refer to the website of Shanghai Municipal Transport and Port Authority: http://jtj.sh.gov.cn/bmcx/csggjt/czqc

Buses

Shanghai has a bus network that basically covers the whole city. Normal buses and air-conditioned buses maintain a standard fare with respect to the length of distance traveled. For normal buses, the charge is 1 RMB per trip for distance traveled within 13km and 1.5 RMB per trip for distance travelled more than 13km. For air-conditioned buses, the charge is 2 RMB per trip. For suburban buses, the starting fare is 1 RMB per trip and 50 cents more for each extra standard distance traveled for normal buses and 1 RMB more for each extra standard distance traveled for air conditioned buses. For detailed information, please refer to please refer to the website of Shanghai Municipal Transport and Port Authority: http://www.jt.sh.cn/bmcx/csggjt/ggqcdc

Other bus services include:

Railway

Shanghai is the largest transportation hub for railway within the eastern costal region and Yangtze river delta area. The city is well connected to many mainland cities including Anhui, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian and Jiangxi province through intercity routes. There are three railway stations which are located in the urban area of Shanghai, namely Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai South Railway Station and Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station, that provide such intercity and hi-speed train routes.

To purchase the railway tickets, passengers would be required to provide valid travel documents containing the passengers' names and other identification information (Home Visit Permit for Hong Kong and Macao residents, applicable and valid passports etc.). Passengers may, based on their preferences, choose their desired travel date, time and seats. In order to purchase train tickets, passengers may visit the ticketing offices located at relevant railway stations, via ticketing hotlines (8621-12306), or purchase online via website (Please refer to the website of China Railway Customer Service Center below).

For further information, please refer to the website of the China Railway's Customer Service Center (Chinese Version Only): http://www.12306.cn/mormhweb/

Air

The Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and the Shanghai Pudong International airport serve the aviation needs for Shanghai with cities in China and international cities around the world. The Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport is located at the western suburban area, which is 13 kilometers from the town center. The Shanghai Pudong International Airport is 30 kilometers from the town center and 52 kilometers from the Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport. Shanghai Pudong Internatioanl Airport bears the majority international airlines, also including domestic airlines, while Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport basically is only responsible for domestic airlines in mainland with some partial airlines to Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Japan and Korea.

For further information, please refer to the website of Shanghai Airport Authority: http://www.shanghaiairport.com

Driving License and buying vehicles

Driving License

Hong Kong residents are required to obtain valid driving licenses if they wish to drive in the Mainland. Drivers should carry their driving licenses while driving. Hong Kong residents who meet relevant conditions promulgated by the Ministry of Public Security (including requirements in age and physical and other conditions, etc.) could apply for driving licenses from traffic management departments.

Hong Kong residents who hold driving licenses issued by relevant authorities of Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan or other foreign countries could apply for Chinese driving licenses after meeting certain requirements by the Ministry of Public Security (including age, physical and other conditions) and passing the corresponding examination. Moreover, Hong Kong residents who have overseas driving licenses can apply for temporary driving permission from traffic management department of the Ministry of Public Security if they need to drive in the Mainland for a period not exceeding three months.

For more detailed information with respect to applications of driving licenses and temporary driving permissions, please refer to the website of Shanghai Traffic and Safety Information Network: http://www.shjtaq.com/gzd/gzd.asp

Buying vehicles

In Shanghai, there is a quota system for the purchase of automotive vehicles through an auction system. Any individuals or private enterprises should first obtain a quota of automotive vehicle through the auction before proceeding to the registration procedures for the purchased vehicles. If Hong Kong residents wish to participate at the automotive vehicle quota auction, they should hold a valid Temporary Residence Registration Certificate in Shanghai that is issued by the Shanghai Police Authority and a valid Home Visit Permit for Hong Kong and Macao residents, Resident Identity Card.

For detailed information about the application for license plates, please refer to the website of Shanghai Municipal Transport and Port Authority: http://www.jt.sh.cn/bmcx/jdced/jdced_sc