Shanghai in numbers: Covid lockdown in China

The Huangpu River divides the Chinese city of Shanghai between the old settlement in the west and the new financial center in the east.

Johannes Eisele | Afp | Getty Images

The latest wave of Covid restrictions in China have forced millions of people – about three times as many as live in New York City – to stay at home and undergo mass testing for the virus in the Shanghai metropolitan area.

When the number of Covid cases began to rise in late February, Shanghai tried to control the outbreak with targeted lockdowns. But the city, which is the hub of global transportation, manufacturing, finance and trade, decided in late March to implement a two-stage lockdown that soon spread to all neighborhoods, basically forcing people to stay in their apartments.

Most people outside of China know that Shanghai is big, but few realize just how big it is economically. The following figures indicate the scale of Shanghai as an economic hub and may indicate the cost of isolation.

The size


global trade center

Shanghai is located at the mouth of the Yangtze River, one of China’s two main rivers.

According to Bernstein:

  • Shanghai has the busiest port in the world, followed by Singapore.
  • Shanghai Pudong Airport is the third busiest cargo airport in the world after Memphis, Tennessee and Hong Kong.

Overall, Shanghai accounted for 7.3% of China’s exports and 14.4% of imports in 2021, according to Citi.

Production and corporate center


consumer center

Learn more about China from CNBC Pro

Shanghai is home to three of China’s top 20 universities, according to US News and World Report.

The number of foreigners living in Shanghai fell to 163,954 in 2020, down 21% from a decade earlier, according to official censuses. The southern province of Guangdong now has the most foreigners in China, with over 400,000 people.

The total number of foreigners in the country has grown over these 10 years by about 40% to 1.4 million people, or about 0.1% of China’s population.

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