The Bund is the river side embankment in the Huangpu district of Shanghai. It was here that the foreign powers first set up their concessions in Shanghai, turning the one quite fishing town into a major world trading hub. The foreigners brought with them their own culture and lifestyle. The rich merchants build offices, hotels and other buildings along the Bund. These new buildings were built in a colonial style, borrowed from the west. Examples of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neo-Classical, Beaux-Arts, and especially Art Deco, which was popular in the early 1900's. The old Bund buildings contrast strongly with the new super high skyscrapers found on the other side of the water in Pudong. The Bund is one of the best places to view the Pudong skyline.
The Bund houses 52 buildings of various architectural styles. From the south, the main buildings are:
- Asia Building (No. 1, The Bund), originally the McBain Building, housed the Shanghai offices of Royal Dutch Shell and Asiatic Petroleum Company.
- Shanghai Club (No. 2, The Bund), which was the principal social club for British nationals in Shanghai.
- Union Building (No. 3, The Bund), housed a number of insurance companies.
- The Mercantile Bank of India, London, and China building (No. 4, The Bund), housed the Mercantile Bank of India, London and China, built between 1916-1918.
- Nissin Building (No. 5, The Bund), housed a Japanese shipping company.
- Russel & Co. Building (No. 6, The Bund), now houses the China Shipping Merchant Company.
- The Great Northern Telegraph Corporation Building (No. 7, The Bund), housed The Great Northern Telegraph Company. Site of the first telephone switch in Shanghai in 1882.
- China Merchants Bank Building (No. 9, The Bund), housed the first Chinese-owned bank in China is now Shiatzy Chen’s Shanghai flagship store,which opened in October 2005.
- The HSBC Building (No. 12, The Bund), now used by the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, was once the Shanghai headquarters of theHongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, which failed to reach a deal with the Shanghai government to buy the building again in the 1990s, when the Shanghai government moved out of the building that they had used since the 1950s. The present building was completed in 1923. At the time, it was called "the most luxurious building between the Suez Canal and the Bering Strait". Its famous ceiling mosaics have been fully restored, and can be viewed inside the entrance hall.
- The Customs House (No. 13, The Bund), was built in 1927 on the site of an earlier, traditional Chinese-style customs house. The clock and bell was built in England and in imitation of Big Ben.
- China Bank of Communications Building (No. 14, The Bund), was the last building to be built on the Bund. It now houses the Shanghai Council of Trade Unions.
- Russo-Chinese Bank Building (No. 15, The Bund) is now the Shanghai Foreign Exchange.
- Bank of Taiwan Building (No. 16, The Bund) is now the China Merchants Bank.
- North China Daily News Building (No. 17, The Bund) housed the most influential English-language newspaper in Shanghai at the time. Today it houses AIA Insurance.
- Chartered Bank Building (No. 18, The Bund) housed the Shanghai headquarters of what became Standard Chartered Bank the building now houses designer shops and a creative exhibition space.
- Palace Hotel (No. 19, The Bund), today forms part of the Peace Hotel.
- Sassoon House (No. 20, The Bund), with the attached Cathay Hotel, was built by Sir Victor Sassoon. It was, and still is today, famous for itsjazz band in its cafe. The top floor originally housed Sassoon's private apartment. Today, it forms the other part of the Peace Hotel.
- Bank of China Building (No. 23, The Bund) housed the headquarters of the Bank of China. The stunted appearance of the building is attributed to Sassoon's insistence that no other building on the Bund could rise higher than his.
- Yokohama Specie Bank Building (No. 24, The Bund) housed the Japanese Yokohama Specie Bank.
- 'Yangtsze Insurance Association Building (No. 26, The Bund) Today houses the a Shanghai branch of the Agricultural Bank of China.
- Jardine Matheson Building (No. 27, The Bund) housed the then-powerful Jardine Matheson company.
- Glen Line Building (No. 2 Beijing Road) today houses the Shanghai Broadcasting Board.
- Banque de l'Indochine Building (No. 29, The Bund) housed the French bank, Banque de l'Indochine.
- Consulate-General of the United Kingdom (No. 33, The Bund) housed the Consulate-General of the United Kingdom. The building has been renovated and in 2009 re-opened as the Peninsula Hotel, Shanghai.