The Paris of the East, the Pearl of the Orient, and the Magic City, are just three of the many nicknames of Shanghai that show just how spellbinding the city can be. With its strategic location and all-embracing nature, Shanghai is a melting pot where traditional Chinese roots intertwine with a modern, cosmopolitan vibe. And in the age of social media, it is inviting more people to share their unique perspective of this thriving megacity.
Available in Chinese and English, the online platform “IP SHANGHAI” launched by the Shanghai municipal government allows people from around the world to share pictures, videos, articles, designs and activities related to the city through its website and social media accounts.
“IP SHANGHAI is an online platform for sharing resources related to the city. We can say it’s the first of its kind in China, and probably the world. Our key messages are ‘everyone creates, everyone shares and everyone spreads.’ It aims to create a platform for resource sharing, international communication, content co-creation and IP incubation,” said Qian Fei, director of the project division at the Information Office of Shanghai Municipality.
IP SHANGHAI launched its official website in November 2021. Two years later, the platform has gathered more than 650,000 examples of creative content from around 27,500 registered professionals.
Among them is French-Italian photographer Fabiola Liacy De Felip, whose work brings a human touch to Shanghai’s impressive facade. A few years ago she began taking photos of people practicing Tai Chi on the Bund at sunrise, and immediately felt something resonating deep within. She’s been coming back to shoot more images of this daily spectacle ever since and has even taken up the discipline herself.
Her photography is all about light and shadow reaching the perfect balance, much akin to the discipline of Tai Chi with its balance of Yin and Yang. “I know that some of the movements originated from fighting movements, and now they bring you so much energy and peace as well. And as you said, Yin and Yang,” said Fabiola.
She has been living in Shanghai for seven years, and can’t help expressing her love for the city: “What fascinated me from the beginning is the very nice mix between tradition and modernity. I think Shanghai has some very futuristic places, when you see the skyline, like the Oriental Pearl Tower. You can just have a stroll in the city and discover some little lanes, and it reminded me a lot of what I know about the south of Italy in the past, and the way they’re living. So, I really like it.”
Although the content creators on IP SHANGHAI platform vary, Fabiola believes that everyone shares a common theme –their love for Shanghai. Among them is Wang Xiaobin from Shanghai. She works for a local firm, and has a second identity as an illustrator. She is working on a project related to Shikumen, a building style that represents a perfect blend of Western and Chinese influences, which is something unique to Shanghai.
“It is a project comprising animation and illustration in line with my previous storytelling projects. This one dives into the life of Shikumen in Shanghai. I did a lot of interviews of people who previously lived in Shikumen, researched historical records and drew on my childhood memories. And then I just created stories about the people living in these old houses spanning three generations,” Wang said.
Shanghai-born, Wang felt honored to join IP SHANGHAI. “I think Shanghai is a city of constant change that attracts people from all over China and the world, no matter where they come from or what kind of cultural background they have. I feel that IP SHANGHAI is a quite professional and innovative platform where people will be able to learn more about my second identity as an illustrator. Also as a Shanghainese, I love to see new and different artwork inspired by this beautiful city,” she said.
Like the city itself, the platform is always embracing new ideas, launching themed series and cooperating with enterprises, universities and major social groups. In 2023, it launched a project called “Generation Z in Shanghai.” “We hope to attract more young people to Shanghai and share stories about their lives, and how they started businesses here,” said Qian Fei.
“In 2024 we will continue to put more effort into supporting content creation in three main areas: photography, video creation, and art design, in order to incubate more IP (intellectual property) in the city. With IP SHANGHAI, we hope to explore new ways of telling China’s stories and sharing Shanghai’s charm with the world,” Qian added.