Shanghai has stepped into the spotlight as one of the key Asian hubs in which to do business. The corporate climate may seem pretty unusual to a westerner so make an effort to gain an understanding of Chinese culture before your trip. Show patience and a good sense of humour and, even better, a willingness to do some karaoke – it's commonplace amongst the business set.
Shanghai isn’t short of great hotels and the Westin Shanghai is one of the best (www.westin.com/shanghai). This hotel has opulent rooms and amazing facilities, including a luxurious Banyan Tree spa. It is located on East Nanjing Road in the heart of the commercial district and has great transport links.
For a stylish setting with mouth-watering food try 1221 (1221 Yanan Xi Road, 021-6213 6585) in the Changning and Gubei district. The traditional and innovative Shanghai cuisine is very reasonably priced and there is an English menu which should make life easier. As a fashionable restaurant and a favourite of the expat crowd you will need to make a reservation.
For a relaxed setting for drinks with business associates head to New Heights (3 East Zhonghsan No 1 Rd). This sixth-floor roof terrace bar offers the best views of the Huangpu River, the Bund and Pudong, as well as an impressive range of cocktails.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are among direct flight options, while Finnair flies via Helsinki, Emirates via Dubai, KLM via Amsterdam and Air China via Beijing. Direct flights can take as little as 11 hours.
Pudong International Airport is located 30km southeast of Shanghai. A taxi to the city will take around an hour during the day and cost about £15 and there are also numerous buses you could take. The quickest and most exciting option, though, is to take the high-speed Maglev train. Reaching speeds of up to 220mph you can get into town in an incredible seven minutes and 20 seconds!
As financial capital of the world’s quickest-changing nation you can expect Shanghai to be fast-paced, sometimes manic and always exhilarating. Hotels, restaurants and bars are of a good standard and still reasonably priced. English is rarely spoken outside of hotels and restaurants so communication can be difficult – an audio phrasebook can help out with some key phrases and the effort will be much appreciated in business meetings. The time zone is GMT+8hrs. See: www.cnto.org