Already a leading global manufacturing centre, and the busiest global container port, Shanghai has recently strived to emerge as a global financial centre. With a population of 25.2 million in 2016, it was the most populous Chinese city, and boasted one of the highest levels of household disposable income in China (USD26,800). This makes the city the largest consumer market in China, of USD180 billion in 2016, and likely to hit USD240 billion at constant 2016 prices in 2021.
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The city features a significant concentration of high valued-added business services, excellent infrastructure and a well-educated labour force. As a result, Shanghai's labour productivity (USD28,500) was double the country's average in 2016. However, it lagged behind Guangzhou (USD35,000), Beijing (USD30,300), Wuhan (USD30,200), Tianjin (30,000), and Shenzhen (USD28,500) in this measure.
By disposable income (USD26,800 in 2016), Shanghai ranks ahead of all the other five cities mentioned above. However, the spread above the country's average was only 78%, compared with 102% higher per-employee labour productivity. This is partly explained by Shanghai's smaller average household size (2.3 versus 3.0 in the rest of the country in 2016) and a lower labour force participation rate (71% versus China's average of 81% in 2016).
Consumer expenditure per household (excluding transport and housing) in Shanghai was 84% greater than in the rest of the country in 2016. This reflects significantly higher spending in categories such as recreation and culture and hotels and restaurants, witnessing Shanghai's position as a popular tourist destination as well.
Sharp rises in real estate prices and high congestion have driven up spending on housing and transport in Shanghai. Measured per household, it exceeded that of the rest of the country by 58% in 2016 - a moderate premium considering the 74% higher disposable income, however.