Shanghai Shenhua Football Club was first established as a professional side in 1993. Previously, the team had existed as the semi-professional outfit Shanghai FC, founded in 1951. The club is one of the best-known in Chinese football and is currently owned by businessman Zhu Jun and his online gaming company, The9.
Since Zhu Jun purchased a controlling stake in the club, he has attempted to strengthen the team with a number of foreign imports. Their league campaign in 2011 was considered a disappointment, so Zhu Jun attempted to sign a high-profile player to drive the team forwards. In December 2011, the club announced that World Cup winning striker Nicolas Anelka would be joining. In 2012, French manager Jean Tigana was hired as the team's head coach and he was later replaced by Sergio Batista, the former manager of the Argentina national team.
The team has experienced some major success since its transition into a fully professional team. In 1995, Shanghai Shenhua were crowned as champions of Chinese football, while 1998 saw the side lift the Chinese FA Cup. In 2003, they won a second league title, although the club was retrospectively stripped of this honour in 2013, after it was discovered that several matches from that season had been fixed. In 2007, the team won its first international trophy, the A3 Champions Cup. They have also won the Chinese FA Super Cup three times.
Since the signing of Nicolas Anelka, Shanhai Shenhua have signed several other high-profile foreign players, including Ivorian striker Didier Drogba and Colombian midfielder Giovanni Moreno. However, Anelka and Drogba both left the club at the end of their first season, due to a delayed payment of their wages.
The team currently plays at the Hongkou Football Stadium. The stadium is owned by replaced the Shanghai government and was built to replace the old Hongkou Stadium in 1999. The venue is currently able to hold a maximum of 33,060 supporters.