China (Traditional Chinese: 中國; Simplified Chinese: 中国; Hanyu Pinyin: Zhōngguó (help·info); Tongyong Pinyin: Jhongguó; Gwoyeu Romatzyh: Jonggwo) is a cultural region and ancient civilization in East Asia. As a result of the 1949 Chinese Civil War, China today is administratively divided into two states: the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC). The PRC administers and governs the majority of China (mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau), while the ROC administers the island groups of Taiwan, the Pescadores, Kinmen, Matsu, and the disputed islands of Pratas, and Taiping in the South China Sea. However, the People's Republic of China considers Taiwan a "renegade province" and does not recognize the Republic of China (Taiwan). In contrast, the Republic of China (Taiwan) administers themselves as an independent sovereign state and does not recognize the Beijing-based People's Republic of China.
Shanghai, situated on the banks of the Yangtze River Delta in East China, is the largest city of the People's Republic of China and the seventh largest in the world. Widely regarded as the citadel of China's modern economy, the city also serves as one of the nation's most important cultural, commercial, financial, industrial and communications centers. Administratively, Shanghai is a municipality of the People's Republic of China that has province-level status. Shanghai is also one of the world's busiest ports, and became the largest cargo port in the world in 2005.
Originally a fishing town, Shanghai became China's most important city by the twentieth century and was the center of popular culture, intellectual discourse and political intrigue during the Republic of China era. In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, Shanghai became the third largest financial center in the world, ranking after New York City and London, and the largest commercial city in the Far East. After the communist takeover in 1949, Shanghai languished due to heavy central government taxation and cessation of foreign investment, and had many of its supposedly "bourgeois" elements purged. Following the central government's authorization of market-economic redevelopment of Shanghai in 1992, Shanghai has now surpassed early-starters Shenzhen and Guangzhou, and has since led China's economic growth. Some challenges remain for Shanghai at the beginning of the 21st century, as the city struggles to cope with increased worker migration, a huge wealth gap, and environmental degradation. Despite these challenges, Shanghai's skyscrapers and modern lifestyle are often seen as representing China's recent economic development.