“China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese.” –Charles de Gaulle

23, 710,000

23, 710,000

Charles de Gaulle sure had a good grasp of the obvious.

There are a lot of people here;  in urban Shanghai there are 3854 inhabitants  per square kilometers. That’s not as dense as say Manhattan, but when you take into account the physical size of this city you wind up with over 23 million people!

Where I really notice the abundance of people is in the stores, malls and hotels–the places I have been frequenting since I arrived 4 days ago.  Many stores have black-suited white-gloved doorman opening doors. Restaurants are hugely over-staffed–by American standards– with waiters lined up waiting to take orders, or clear an empty plate before your fork hits the table.  There are security guards everywhere: malls, stores, parking lots, apartment buildings, housing developments,both large and small, expat and Chinese,  government buildings,office buildings,  metro stations, parks and almost anywhere else  you could imagine.  Last night, I watched as three security guards worked the entrance to a parking garage at the mall that had an automated gate and ticket dispensing machine; one guard stood at the curb and placed and removed a traffic cone, letting one car at a time in off the street. Another guard then placed a traffic cone behind the automobile as it sat at the ticket dispensing machine waiting for the arm to raise. The third uniformed guard observed.

In 2012, Shanghai raised its minimum wage 13 percent to 1,450 yuan ($230) a month.  Labor is cheap.

One thought on “23,710,000

  1. Tom, China is an amazing country! I hope that in the next three years you & Melinda have enough time to appreciate its’ history and understand its’ culture. As a New Yorker, the crowds shouldn’t bother you to much. I have never tired of China, although when I am lucky enough to visit, it is only for 2 day trips. I have been living outside the USA for the last four years and my only advice is to approach all situations with a sense of humor…………holding onto anything that is “the American way” will only bring you grief and lessen the joy of the experience. Cheers my friend!

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