Pudong, Shanghai Photo: From Reader's Digest
The Pudong district of Shanghai is one of China’s most spectacular sights. A Manhattan of the east, it is a forest of 100-plus futuristic glass-and-steel skyscrapers: from the opposite bank of the Huangpu River they look like a collection of gleaming Modernist vases. Most are the headquarters of trade organisations and banks, for Pudong is the beating heart of Chinese finance and money is its lifeblood. In 2005, the gross domestic product (GDP) of this one suburb was officially estimated at over $25 billion.
But the most astonishing thing about Pudong is that until recently there was nothing there. If you had come to Shanghai any time before 1990 and looked across the same stretch of water, you would have seen nothing more than a few dilapidated wharves with paddy fields beyond. The change is both an example and a symbol of the Chinese economic miracle.
The People’s Republic already has a national output that is larger than Britain’s or Canada’s. If it continues to grow, it will outstrip Japan’s and America’s. China will then be the largest trading nation globally.
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