Shanghai industries in wartime

Shanghai industries in wartime
A whole new series of maps is now available on the Virtual Shanghai platform (see Maps – eAtlas) on the evolution of Shanghai industries during the early years of the war with Japan (1937-1945).  These maps are based on the annual surveys made by the Shanghai Municipal Police in the International Settlement between 1930 and 1940. While our main focus is the wartime period, the newly released maps include two prewar years, 1935 and 1936. We plan to expand this study to the early 1930s (1930 & 1931), as well as to 1934 for which new surveys have been dug out from the archives. All the maps include “International Settlement” in the original title.

Although the surveys cover only the International Settlement they represent a very large and representative sample of Shanghai industries. During the war, owing to the migration of factories from Chinese-administered territories into the International Settlement, the bulk of industries actually concentrated in this single area.

One of the challenges was to process this very rich and complex set of data. This was done through the use of GIS that offered the possibility to process these data and apply them to the various layers already in place. In particular, the increasingly complete historical street database and geocoded addresses allowed us to locate most of the factories (79%) at their exact original address. The use of GIS also allowed to trace the life of the factories through time, especially their fate after the 1937 conflict that erased entire areas in the city. In addition to location, the surveys provided data on workforce, nationality, and industrial branch. It is therefore possible to reconstruct the changing geography of industries in Shanghai over a 10-year period (1930-1940).

Factories and workforce in 1936

Factories and workforce in 1936

Cite this blog post
Isabelle Durand (2011, May 25). Shanghai industries in wartime. Blog Virtual Shanghai. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from

You may also like...

6 Responses

  1. Greg Lewis says:

    Very nice collection of maps. Do you know if any good map showing the areas in Shanghai affected by the Japanese bombing in 1932 and 1937 exist? Thanks, Greg

    • For 1932, there is a map of the area destroyed by the military fighting in an official report. I believe I have a copy. There is also — this is indirect — a list of the destroyed lilong in a Chinese M.A. thesis. For 1937, there is this map from the British Army (ID25). Unfortunately, as I explained in papers, it is incomplete because it covered only the International Settlement. The best map (ID294) – if I may – is the one I have produced based on Japanese photography. It is not the final version, but it is a reliable map.

      • Greg Lewis says:

        Dear Professor Henriot:
        Thanks very much for your reply, and I should say that I have benefited much from your scholarship on Shanghai. I am researching the Chinese film industry in Shanghai through these years and did not find much in the way of maps either at the big library on Huaihai Road or in the Municipal Archives. Your maps would thus be valuable. Is this something that can be sent electronically? Thanks again and best regards, Greg

        • Greg Lewis says:

          PS–I found the series of 1937 maps you referenced and they are excellent, better than anything I saw in China. Thanks very much.

        • On cinema and the movie industry, we’ll have soon edited maps and data. This will come from various sources. This will include programs as well. The first step will be the mapping of all entertainment locations (including movie production and studios). General maps are useful only to a certain point. To locate places, one needs block-level maps such as you can see and access on Live maps. I guess that before the summer we’ll have a pretty good list of cinemas and theaters available. Since this is done as part of a PhD dissertation, I’ll check with the candidate when we can share these data. Christian

  2. Thank you for your extraordinary work on Shanghai and for sharing in a so useful way.
    Your studies permit a great advancement in understanding the virtues and the opportunity of cosmopolitism and tollerance in opposition to war and division.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search