Linking the Bund with People’s Square is East Nanjing Rd, once known as Nanking Rd. The first department stores in China opened here in the 1920s, when the modern machine age – with its new products, automobiles, art deco styling and newfangled ideas – was ushered in. A glowing forest of neon at night, it’s no longer the cream of Shànghǎi shopping, but its pedestrian strip remains one of the most famous and crowded streets in China.
Shànghǎi’s reputation as the country’s most fashionable city was forged in part here, through the new styles and trends introduced in department stores such as the Sun Sun (1926), today the Shànghǎi No 1 Food Store, and the Sun Company (1936), now the Shànghǎi No 1 Department Store. Today shops such as the vast Apple Store dominate the shopping landscape. The pedestrianised section of the road is an assault course of fake-watch sellers, clinging purveyors of 'massagee' and English-speaking girls who encourage you to spend a king's ransom on cups of tea. Small 'train' tourist buses roll from one pedestrianised end to the other (¥5).