Back in the 1930s it was known to foreigners as "The Paris of the East" - a place full of romance and excitement - and a survey just released has revealed that the international community's love affair with Shanghai has not dimmed over the years.
The southern metropolis has been voted as the best city in the nation, scoring 105 points out of a possible 120 in a poll passed to 7,980 foreigners living both in China and abroad, across six continents.
Co-conducted by the international Gallup Consulting group (http://www.gallup.com) and Shanghai's Fudan University http://www.fudan.edu.cn), the survey was looking into the international image of China's major cities (excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau) - a testy subject recently as the nation seeks to improve its international standing.
Shanghai is currently hosting World Expo and has recently undergone a multi-billion dollar facelift - similar to that seen in Beijing just before it hosted the 2008 Olympic Games.
"While China has overtaken Japan to become the second-biggest economy in the world, it remains unknown how foreigners think of Chinese cities. The survey was conducted to give a comprehensive, scientific and objective evaluation of some cities,'' Meng Jian, director of the International Public Relations Research Centre of Fudan University, told Chinese media on releasing the poll.
Beijing came in behind Shanghai, while Chengdu - in the southern province of Sichuan - ranked third overall, while scoring the most points for its "citizens' qualities."
Shanghai was ranked top in most of the 12 categories but fell down to ninth when it came to security - well behind the top-ranked Xi'an, capital of the northwest Shaanxi province. Commentators in Shanghai put this down to the city's "floating population'' coming in - and out - from poorer regions in the country.
Those polled were asked to rate 30 mainland Chinese cities in terms of attractiveness, culture, environment, citizen qualities, security, traffic, individuality, integrity, government efficiency, investment value, development potential and internationalization level.
China's top 10:
3. Chengdu and Nanjing (equal)