Shanghai by Numbers: China’s Covid Lockdown

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

Johannes Eisel | AFP | Getty Images

The latest wave of Kovid restrictions in China has forced millions of people – almost three times more than those living in New York City – to stay home and test for the virus in the Shanghai metropolis.

As covid cases began to escalate in late February, Shanghai sought to control the outbreak through targeted, nearby lockdowns. The city, however, the center of global transportation, manufacturing, finance and commerce, decided in late March to implement a two-stage lockdown that would soon apply to all districts, usually forcing people not to leave their apartments.

Most people outside of China know that Shanghai is big, but rarely realize how big it is economically. The following numbers indicate the scale as an economic center of Shanghai – and may indicate the cost of the lockdown.



World Trade Center

Shanghai is located at the mouth of the Yangtze River, one of the two major rivers in China.

According to Bernstein:

  • Shanghai is home to the busiest port in the world, after Singapore.
  • Shanghai’s Pudong Airport is the third busiest cargo airport in the world after Memphis, Tennessee and Hong Kong.

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

Manufacturing and corporate centers

According to City, Shanghai is China’s:

  • Home of the most important semiconductor manufacturing plants, SMIC, Hua Hong and Universal Scientific Industrial.
  • Home to many auto producers: SAIC Motor, a joint venture of SAIC with Volkswagen and GM, Nio, Tesla and Ford.
  • Head office or a major hub for multinational corporations in China: Apple, L’Oreal, Samsung Electronics, P&G, L’Oreal, LVMH, Nike, Panasonic, Philips, Johnson & Johnson and General Electric, among others.
  • Foundation for Shipbuilders: Jiangnan, Zhanghua and Waigaokiao Shipbuilding.


Consumer Center

In Shanghai, official figures for 2021 show:

  • Average disposable income is 78,027 yuan ($ 12,288) – more than double the national average of 35,128 yuan ($ 5,531).
  • The average consumer spending is 48,879 yuan – also double the national average of 24,100 yuan.

US wholesale chain Costco has chosen Shanghai for its first Mainland China store in 2019.

And as of last year, Shanghai was home to the largest number of coffee shops in the country, with about 3 shops per 10,000 people, with Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Beijing having a ratio of about 2, according to Maituan.

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

According to the official census, the number of foreigners living in Shanghai dropped to 163,954 in 2020, down 21% from a decade earlier. The southern province of Guangdong is now China’s largest expatriate, with more than 400,000.

In these 10 years the total number of foreigners in the country has increased by about 40% to 1.4 million people – or about 0.1% of the Chinese population.

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