David Li has lived in Shanghai since 2003, when the Taiwan-born consultant and entrepreneur moved to the city to take advantage of a place in which he felt like “everything was possible.” A decade later, he’s still relishing all that the city has to offer, from vast cultural spaces to XinCheJian, the small community hackerspace he runs in the city’s French Concession. Here, he takes us on a tour of some of his favorite spots in the city, photographed by
Along the east side of the Huangpo River, across the water from historic Shanghai, is Pudong, a business district famed (and often reviled) for its efflorescence of gaudy skyscrapers. In the early years of the millennium, when David Li moved to Shanghai, “everything was changing, everything was moving.” Photograph: Lawrence Wang.
Founded in 2010, XinCheJian is a home to Shanghai’s nascent hacking and programming community. 150 people visit every week, David Li says, taking advantage of lab space, tools and various workshops. Li says it’s more about recreation than business: “It’s an escape from a city where every meeting is about how to make money.” XinCheJian, 1035 Changle Road, Jing’an, Shanghai. Photograph: Lawrence Wang.
For connoisseurs of urban biking, Shanghai’s Brompton Junction is a mark of China’s sophistication and modernity. The made-in-England folding bike maker has launched appropriately snug showcase stores in Amsterdam, Kobe, and Hamburg. It chose Shanghai for its first foray overseas in China. Photograph: Lawrence Wang.
David Li works in Shanghai’s French Concession, an enclave of international cuisine and culture, dotted with hideaway cafes and restaurants such as this one, Manne et Sante. Photograph: Lawrence Wang.
When it opened in 2005, the Museum of Contemporary Art was the first non-profit, independent art institution to operate in Shanghai. MOCA’s glass cube building occupies a prime location in People’s Park, and exhibits work from a variety of Chinese and international artists. On show through November 2013, an exhibition dedicated to Christian Dior that has attracted giant crowds. Photograph: Lawrence Wang.
David Li works in Shanghai’s French Concession, an enclave of international cuisine and culture, dotted with hideaway cafes and restaurants. Photograph: Lawrence Wang.
The Xintiandi district “gives you a perspective on what [China] looks like today,” says David Li. It’s the first place he sends visitors when they come to town: first to the high-end boutiques and international ateliers arrayed about this reconstructed vision of historic Shanghai. Photograph: Lawrence Wang.
Museum of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. Photograph: Lawrence Wang.
Read more about David Li and his life and work in Shanghai. This article was published as part of our “ Questions Worth Asking” series. This week’s teaser: “ What makes a city feel like home?”