Hearty Gong is Shanghainese. A marketing executive and part-time model, he says young Chinese people have got plenty to smile about - in fact they have never been more optimistic.
"I moved back to Shanghai when I was a child, because my mother"s family lived in Shanghai. They could support us after my father died. At that time life was hard. If you went to the wet market to buy fish, you needed to get there at 5am in the morning. I would queue with my mum - we needed a coupon and had to wait in line for two hours to get the fish.
I am so lucky because my generation is in the middle of the young generation and old generation. So I see the old Shanghai and old China and the new Shanghai and new China. The city is booming and I feel excited. I see the changes. And I can expect more in the future.
My Chinese name is Gong Xingyi. Gong is my family name and Xing means heart. It means happy. I want myself to be happy. Money"s important but it doesn"t equal happiness.
You see a lot of skyscrapers; I call this hardware. But what about software? I"m talking about people"s behaviour and the responsibilities. But it takes time, it takes several generations, to improve. These buildings can be built overnight, but this software, it takes time.
So I hope at that time, after 15 years, there will be more talented people here. Yes, in this society people need to be more creative - and they need to create something original and be innovative. And that"s the way to make society progress."
Didi Meng is from Beijing but settled in Shanghai after injuries meant she could no longer continue her dance career. She now owns a nail bar and two clothing shops.
"Life when I danced was very creative. All I worried about was how to dance better. There"s a saying in China; one minute on the stage needs 10 years" practice off stage. I trained hard every day, but I loved it.
I was at professional dance school from when I was 10, for almost 13 years. So I think being creative is very important, but of course you can"t survive without money. You need a balance, but being creative is much more interesting.
I think it"s easy to set up a business [in China], but it"s very difficult to manage it. You need to manage it with your heart and soul. I"ve set up shop in a good neighbourhood - about 25,000 people live here. There are not many local Shanghainese. People are from other provinces and Hong Kong, and lots of foreigners, so they can afford to spend money on looking good."
Annie Ye is from Shanghai, and works for a property developer. She worries that the world misunderstands China and says the country"s development cannot come at the cost of people"s lives.
"I think what"s very important for us is to have the freedom to honestly pursue our dreams. Our country should facilitate us in pursuing our dream. It"s more important than having a car or a house.
I can"t help it if other countries fear China getting stronger. I just think the rest of the world should know more about China; not only through the international media but they should come in and feel China. It"s so different from the China presented in the international media. That only shows one small part of China.
I think development is a must for China, as it grows stronger, but along the way you need to be conscious about what you are doing. I don"t mind that the country is changing quickly, as long as it"s not at the expense of other things like, say, pollution or the environment."
Ling Zheng Gu is the executive chef at Shanghai"s Blue Frog restaurants. Thirteen years ago, he was a kitchen boy, now he"s in charge of nine kitchens and 178 staff.
"From day one, I"ve worked 16, 17 hours a day. I joined this company more than eight years ago, and have helped build this business from one restaurant to now, nine restaurants, all over China. And we"re going to have more and more.
I love to cook. I remember seeing a Western chef for the very first time on my grandmother"s tiny television when I was a child. I knew then - that"s what I want to do. My kitchen is like my family, it"s my home. I love all my staff, they"re like all my kids, my friends, my family. They work for us, and I work for them.
I see my daughter maybe once or twice a week, because I"m really busy with the restaurant and I do a lot of travelling. I don"t see her much, she lives with her grandparents. But at least once day I give her a call. I want my daughter to feel totally free and of course I will give her support for anything she wants to do. I"ll support her 100%. Maybe I"m not like other mums and dads. But she must choose her own life - her life is in her hands."