Shanghai World Financial Center Facts and Information

Shanghai World Financial Center is a 492m supertall skyscraper in Lujiazui, Pudong, Shanghai. Below are the facts about the skyscraper and some related information.

Shanghai World Financial Center
Shanghai World Financial Center with Jin Mao Tower


Shanghai World Financial Center (Chinese:上海环球金融中心 literally translated as Shanghai Global Financial Center), or simply called SWFC for short.
The building located at 100 Century Avenue, Lujiazui. The number 100 in the address just corresponds to its floor count, this can also be found on Jin Mao Tower, which located at 88 Century Avenue, featuring 88 stories. SWFC is located very close to Jin Mao Tower as well as the newly built Shanghai Tower, these three iconic supertall skyscrapers were designed to be adjacent to each other, and the other landmark the Oriental Pearl Tower situates only a few hundred meters away.

Three giant skyscrapers in Pudong, Shanghai
Three giant skyscrapers in Pudong, Shanghai


Shanghai World Financial Center
Shanghai World Financial Center(the tallest one in the middle) viewed from The Bund.

If you are at The Bund looking for a way to cross the river to visit SWFC tower, as there's no bridges nearby crossing the river, there are 3 ways left for choices.

1. Subway: The Shanghai Metro is currently the largest rapid transit system in the world by route length, taking the subway in Shanghai is a common choice.
You can first go to the Nanjing road, then enter any subway station which is nearest to you, take the line 2, get off at Lujiazui station, find the number 6 exit to get out the station, after that there's only 5 to 10 minutes walk to arrive at the destination. Or get off at Dongchang Road station, get out of station from number 4 exit, then take a 5 minutes walk to arrive at SWFC.

2. Ferry: Go to The Bund Port and purchase a ticket to aboard the ferry for only about 0.3 dollars, in this way you can appreciate the scenery on the river, after getting off the ferry, walk for 8 minutes to get to Shanghai World Financial Center.

3. Taking a texi to get there through the tunnel under the river.
The tower has 101 floors, and 492 meters or 1614 foot tall, Shanghai World Financial Center was once the tallest flat top building of the world. As of 2016, among the built or topped out skyscrapers exclusive of telecom towers, Shanghai World Financial Center ranks 2nd in Shanghai in height, and 5th in Mainland China, after Shanghai Tower, Shenzhen Ping An International Finance Center, Tianjin Golden 117 Tower, Guangzhou Chow Tai Fook Center. For the whole world, SWFC is the 10th tallest building of the world by standard height, see Ranking the tallest buildings for more details.

The maximum height people can get to is 100th floor, which is 474m above street level, an observation deck is set there. Just like the building itself, the observation deck was once the the highest one of the world, until Canton Tower's 488 meters outdoor observatory surpassed it. Now the observation deck of SWFC is 3rd highest of the world, after the 555 meters At The Top on Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the above mentioned Canton Tower's.

Owner: The owner of SWFC is its developer, the Mori Group.


Shanghai World Financial Trade Center is a mixed-use building, in which there are offices, stores, hotel, meeting rooms, observatory.
three floors underground are used as the parking lot,comprising about 1100 parking spaces.
1st and 2nd floors are used for stores and restaurants and 3rd to 5th floors are occupied by meeting rooms.
Office spaces occupying the 7th floor to 77th floor,

The floors from 79th floor to 93th floor are occupied by a hotel, which is operated by Park Hyatt, the hotel features 174 rooms and suites. This hotel is the second highest hotel of the world, only second of Ritz Carlton Hong Kong which occupies the uppermost floors of 484 meters tall International Commerce Center in Hong Kong, even observation deck is set underneath that hotel.

The floors above the 93rd floor are for mechanical use and sightseeing, the 55 m long view corridor on 100th floor was once the highest observation deck in the world and now ranks as third highest.

Design and developing:

Shanghai World Financial Center Tower
Shanghai World Financial Center shot from ground.

Way back in 1993, Shanghai authority was planning to build 3 adjacent supertall skyscrapers in Lujiazui district as the landmark of the city.

These skyscrapers were set to be built one by one, from the shortest to the tallest, the preparation work of the first and shortest one started in 1994, by the same year Minoru Mori, who was a powerful Japanese building tycoon, came to the city, he had long been dreaming of building a world's tallest building, in the meantime, Zhao Qizheng who was the deputy mayor of Shanghai greeted him and told him the plan for building those supertall skyscrapers and said they are going to build the first one and who would be developing the next two is not yet determined.
Mori replied immediately, saying, 'let me build the second one.' and this 'second one' he referred to gradually became today's SWFC Tower.

Today all the three giant towers have been built, these towers have become a center of tourism and lifestyle.

Night view of three giant towers in Lujiazui, Shanghai
Night view of three giant towers in Lujiazui, Shanghai

Shanghai World Financial Center was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, a New York based architectural firm. The most significant feature of the design is that huge trapeziform aperture on the top portion which used to lessen the impact of wind pressure, this wacky feature makes people referring to the building as a bottle opener. In fact this sort of design is not so rare and unique, it can be found in some other cities, such as Duke Energy Center in Charlotte, Kingdom Center in Riyadh.

Duke Energy Center
Duke Energy Center
Riyadh Kingdom Center
Kingdom Center

In the original design, the iconic huge aperture was intended to be circular shape, such design was inspired by an Ancient Chinese idea of 'round sky and square earth', additionally the empty circular aperture of SWFC together with several spheres on nearby Oriental Pearl Tower and Shanghai International Conference Center to form a distinctive spectacle of 'Virtuality and Reality' (In Chinese: "一虚一实").

The original design of Shanghai World Financial Center

However this is unfavored and objected by the local people, including the mayor, claiming the circular aperture is too similar to the icon on Japanese national flag. Since then, KPF changed the design to the trapeziform one as we see today. In fact it becomes more convenient and cheaper for construction after the change of design.

SWFC aperture
The aperture of SWFC

Although standing at 492 meters without spire, the building has only 100 stories, featuring a total of 380,000 square meters of floor areas, the tower can accommodate 20 thousand of people.

The tower's design life is 50 years, this is same as Ping An International Finance Center in Shenzhen, such a lifetime is designed for catering to Country's provisions on commercial land use.

The construction work of the tower was contracted by Shanghai Construction Group and China State Construction Engineering Corp Third Engineering Division.
The construction started in August 1997, soon after that the Asian Financial Crisis broke out, the project was forced to suspend due to the lack of funds, by that time the fundation of the tower had been completed.
In November 2003, after 6 years of suspension, the project finally gets back on track, by the time some new proposals for skyscrapers in other cities taller than original height (460 m) of SWFC had been brought up, among them Taipei 101 had almost topped out. And SWFC's foundation had been already completed and was constructed in accordance with the original height.

In order to make the building taller than Taipei 101, the developer put in more effort and money to increase the height, however, the height can only be increased to a maximum of 492 meters by roof height considering the stability and security, there's still 16 meters left to surpass Taipei 101. They once intend to add a spire on the roof to make the building reach 509 m, this was considered a negative impact to aesthetics of the building by local authority and got abandoned.

The tower topped out in September 2007 by reaching the 492-meter final height. Although SWFC is 16 m lower than Taipei 101, which was tallest building of the world by standard height by that time, SWFC still obtained the title of 'World's Tallest Flat-roofed Building' and 'world's highest observation deck'.
For the sake of the fact that Taipei 101 consisting a 70m spire, it's not hard to find in some comparison diagram that SWFC appears more colossal than Taipei 101.

In July 2008, the whole Project completed successfully, and cost 1 billion dollars in total, by the end of August of same year its observation decks officially opened to public.

Tour and Sightseeing:

Main Article: Visiting Shanghai World Financial Center Observatory

Shanghai World Financial Center
Shanghai World Financial Center looked up from the ground.

Unlike its solemn name, Shanghai World Financial Center is not just a office building but a mixed-use building, the most influential use is its observatory floors for sightseeing.
A section more than 50 meters tall from 423 m to 474 meters above street level is all used for sightseeing or tourism.
Observation decks of Shanghai World Financial Center are higher than the ones on nearby Jin Mao Tower and Oriental Pearl Tower by a large margin.
People can look down at the Jin Mao Tower which used to be looked up at, as well as the most regions of the city.

Shanghai Jin Mao Tower
Jin Mao Tower viewed from the observation deck on 100th floor of SWFC Tower

The observation decks of Shanghai World Financial Center is rated as National 4A scenery site, and since its opening the observatory has been one of the most visited tourist attractions in Shanghai. The building has 3 separate observation decks on 94th,97th,100th floor, the highest one on 100th floor at a height of 474 m is even 22 meters higher than Burj Khalifa's primary observatory, and had been known as the highest observation deck of the world until the opening of observatory on Canton Tower, it located right above the huge trapeziform aperture, and it is a 270-degree view indoor observation deck.

SWFC View Corridor
The View Corridor

Shanghai night view
Shanghai at night shot from highest observation deck of SWFC Tower.

The other two observation decks are all located below the aperture, the one on 97 floor situates just at the bottom of the aperture, at a height of 439 m, it is said that when weather permits, the glass around it will be opened, transforming it to a open-to-air observatory.

The aperture of Shanghai World Financial Center
The aperture contains two observation decks at its top and bottom.

Another one on 94th floor is the lowest, but also the most large and spacious one, there you can buy some souvenirs or enjoy a cup of coffee.

Shanghai Oriental Pearl Tower
Shanghai Oriental Pearl Tower at night viewed from observation deck of SWFC Tower

The observation decks is opening from 8 AM to 11 PM, the price of a standard ticket for adult is 180 China Yuan, equivalently 28 dollars, which is quite cheap compared to Burj Khalifa's, additionally there are some variables and options, see the table below for details:

  View 94F+97F+100F View 94F only
Standard 180 CNY 120 CNY
student under age of 23 & people age over 60 120 CNY 80 CNY
Children under 1.4 m 90 CNY 60 CNY

In addition, tourists can visit the the observation decks for free on their birthday by showing the identification.

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