Towering above city of 24 million people at 632m (2,073 feet), the Shanghai Tower is the tallest building in China and 2nd tallest in the world, only surpassed by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Its 128 stories are divided into 9 vertical zones, including retail at the base, offices in the middle, hotels and observation decks at the top. The super-tall skyscraper features a double-decker elevator that offers the longest single elevator journey in the world at 580m (1,900 feet) in under a minute.

Beginning in the early ’90s with the allocation of Lujiazui as a special investment zone, Shanghai’s skyline has grown to be one of the world’s most iconic. With three buildings over 420m (1,380 feet), Lujiazui today stands in stark contrast to what it was just 25 years ago, a low-built area consisting of residences, warehouses and a few factories. The completion of the Shanghai Tower not only represents the financial success of Shanghai, it symbolizes China’s new self-confidence and the shift in the global balance of economic power.

Time-lapse: Joe Nafis (
Aerial footage: Livinov Lalama and Stan Huang
Grading: Nikola Stefanovic
Music: Skyline by Fakear (