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  You are in: Home > Economics & Management > Shanghai, Past and Present  

Shanghai, Past and Present
A Concise Socio-Economic History, 1842–2012

Niv Horesh

Niv Horesh is Senior Fellow at the University of Nottingham’s China Policy Institute (UK) and Associate Professor in China Studies at the University of Western Sydney (Australia). Horesh has worked in the past as a Business Development Manager in China, and as a civil servant in Israel and Australia.


This book sets out to explain how Shanghai emerged from relative obscurity in 1842 to become one of the world’s best-known finance and industry hubs. As China’s largest city, Shanghai today plays a central economic role, much as it did in the 1920s. The author provides a concise diachronic survey of the economic history of modern Shanghai, setting out how the city’s urban infrastructure, municipal institutions, consumer culture and industry have shaped, and have been shaped by, this economic power house. The work is aimed at a broad readership of all who are interested in Asian history, and tackles a range of themes including: the city’s millionaires, then and now; racial tensions and quotidian liaisons between Europeans and Asians before World War II; and the gambling and prostitution industry.

The post-war era is portrayed in comparative discussions on Shanghai under Mao Zedong, and during the reform era. These discussions bring the narrative up to date to cover important events such as the designation of the Pudong precinct as the city’s new engine of growth in 1991. The city’s illustrious pre-war past is compared with its present ambitions to become Asia’s leading financial centre.

The book employs insights from new institutional economics as well as from the development trajectory of other world cities by way of better understanding Shanghai’s historic distinctness, its relative weaknesses and contemporary strengths.

Preface and Acknowledgments

1 Introduction: The Shanghai Experience, 1842–2009

2 Mystique, Answers and Unanswered Questions

3 The Early Rise of a Treaty-Port, 1840s–1860s

4 Re-Examining Public Debt in Republican China,

5 Past Glory, Present Hopes

6 Epilogue: No Longer in the Shadow of Hong Kong


Reviews to follow


Publication Details

Hardback ISBN:
Paperback ISBN:
Page Extent / Format:
120 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Release Date:
Hardback, April/May 2014; Paperback January 2015
  Illustrated:   No
Hardback Price:
£29.95 / $39.95
Paperback Price:
£19.95 / $27.95

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