Shanghai is the largest Chinese city by population and the largest city proper by population in the world. It is one of the four direct-controlled municipalities of China, with a population of more than 24 million as of 2014. It is a global financial center, and a transport hub with the world's busiest container port. Located in the Yangtze River Delta in East China, Shanghai sits on the south edge of the mouth of the Yangtze in the middle portion of the Chinese coast. The municipality borders the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang to the north, south and west, and is bounded to the east by the East China Sea.
For centuries a major administrative, shipping, and trading town, Shanghai grew in importance in the 19th century due to European recognition of its favorable port location and economic potential. The city was one of five forced open to foreign trade following the British victory over China in the First Opium War while the subsequent 1842 Treaty of Nanking and 1844 Treaty of Whampoa allowed the establishment of the Shanghai International Settlement and the French Concession. The city then flourished as a center of commerce between east and west, and became the undisputed financial hub of the Asia Pacific in the 1930s. However, with the Communist Party takeover of the mainland in 1949, trade was reoriented to focus on socialist countries, and the city's global influence declined. In the 1990s, the economic reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping resulted in an intense re-development of the city, aiding the return of finance and foreign investment to the city.
Shanghai is a popular tourist destination renowned for its historical landmarks such as The Bund, City God Temple and Yu Garden as well as the extensive Lujiazui skyline, many skyscrapers, and major museums including the Shanghai Museum and the China Art Museum. It has been described as the "showpiece" of the booming economy of mainland China.