Shanghai will allow transit passengers from 45 countries to stay in the city for 72 hours without a visa, following a similar policy announced by Beijing.
The municipal authorities of Shanghai on Sunday said the visa-free transit policy was recently approved by the State Council, or the Cabinet. Shanghai has been offering free-visa transit stay for some countries' citizens, but only for 48 hours.
The countries on the list include the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore, a number of European countries, among others.
Transit passengers can enter Shanghai through the city's two airports -- Hongqiao and Pudong after the policy goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2013, the authorities said.
The Beijing municipal government on Wednesday announced the 72-hour free-visa transit policy for citizens from 45 countries. The policy will also be enacted on Jan. 1, 2013.
Experts expect the move to help the Beijing Capital International Airport become an international air hub.
According to Gao Lijia, a general deputy manager with the Beijing airport, the new policy is estimated to bring 600,000 to 800,000 transit visitors in 2013 alone.
Officials have started talking about developing tours and services to serve the influx of transit air passengers which include more duty-free shops at the Beijing airport.