The entire Nanjing Road, stretching from the Bund to Yan'an Road (W.), is 5,400 m. long. The section between Xizang Road (M.) and Henan Road (M.) is for pedestrians only.
The road was first built in 1851. At first, it was merely a country path running east-west from the Bund to Henan Road. Later, a number of companies and firms established offices there, and among them there were a number of famous ones, such as Watson, Sincere and Sun Sun. With the development of the city and the import of foreign merchandise, hundreds of large-scale and special stores opened one after another, greatly promoting the development of Nanjing Road. Before long it won the name of "China's No. 1 Commercial Street."
Before 1949, on Nanjing Road (E.) there were four big department stores that were known all over China: Daxing Company, Yong'an (Wing On) Company, Xianshi Company (Sincere) and Xinxin Company (Sun Sun). They started business in 1936, 1916, 1917, and 1920s, respectively.
Since 1949, Nanjing Road has been remolded several times. Now, it is generally agreed that it is the main artery of Shanghai's busy downtown and the most bustling commercial street throughout China, lined by Shanghai' most representative buildings and tasteful shops.