Shanghai SIPG was established in December 2005 by Xu Genbao, a former coach of the Chinese national team. The club remains officially known as Shanghai Dongya Football Club, although the first team changed its name to Shanghai SIPG in 2012, after signing a sponsorship deal with Shanghai International Port Group.
Xu Genbao had previously set up the Genbao Football Academy in 2000, after being inspired by English club Manchester United and, in particular, the success of their youth academy. Genbao dreamed of creating a Chinese equivalent of the club. Shanghai SIPG was set up to give his academy players somewhere to play professional football after graduating.
The club joined the Chinese league system in 2006 and began play in the third tier, China League Two. In 2007, they finished in first place in China League Two, earning them promotion to the second tier. Then, at the end of the 2012 season, their fifth season in China League One, they gained promotion to the Chinese Super League for the first time. In 2009, the team represented the city of Shanghai in the National Games of China and went on to win the gold medal.
Due to the high quality of the team's training facilities and youth academy, Shanghai SIPG have developed a reputation for producing talented young footballers. Some of the most notable players to have played for the team include Wu Lei, who at the age of 14, became the youngest Chinese professional player ever; Wang Jiayu, who captained the side from 2007 to 2010 and Zhang Linpeng, who plays for China's national team.
Shanghai Stadium has served as the team's home ground since 2009. The venue first opened in 1997 and was used to host football matches for the 2008 Olympic Games. Shanghai Stadium's maximum capacity is 80,000, although this is reduced to 56,000 for Shanghai SIPG's home games.