Shanghai, also known as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ is the largest city in China and the economic centre of Asia. The importance of the city began in 1843, after the first Opium War, when it was decided to move the centre of international commerce from Guangzhou to Shanghai. The arrival of foreign investors and banks transformed the fishing village into one of the most important and influential cities in the Far East. Even if Shanghai remains very attached to its 3000 year history, the city today, with its focus on modernity and globalization, seems to come straight out of a science-fiction film. Shanghai is composed of 17 districts, each with their own identity. There are many luxury homes in the areas of Xuhui, Hongkou, Jing’an, Changning and Waitan where Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance-style villas stand along the bank of the Huangpu river. On the opposite bank the new district of Pudong is the symbol of modern opulence and advanced technology. Foreigners who are looking to rent or buy a luxury home in Shanghai need not worry about the language barrier as English is widely spoken. There is also an exceptionally efficient public transport system throughout the city and the superfast “maglev” trains which connect Shanghai to the charming nearby towns of Zhouzhuang and Wuzhen at a speed of 431km per hour.