Ozone and its precursors were measured from 15 June 2006 to 14 June 2007 at an urban site in Shanghai and used to characterize photochemical oxidant production in this region. During the observation period, ozone displays a seasonal variation with a maximum in spring. Observed nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO) reached a maximum in winter and a minimum in summer. NOx and CO has a similar double-peak diurnal cycle, implying that they are largely of motor vehicle origin. Total nonmethane organic compounds (NMOC) concentrations averaged over the morning, and the 24-hour periods have a large day-to-day variation with no apparent seasonal cycle. Aromatics play a dominant role in contributing to total NMOC reactivity and ozone-forming potential. Anthropogenic NMOC of diverse sources are major components of total NMOC and consist mainly of moderate and low reactivity species. In contrast, relatively low levels of biogenic NMOC concentrations were observed in urban Shanghai. The early morning NMOC/NOx ratios are typically below 8:1 with an average of around 4:1, indicating that the sampling location is situated in a NMOC-limited regime. Model simulations confirm that potential photochemical ozone production in Shanghai is NMOC-sensitive. It is presently difficult to predict the impact of future human activities, such as the increase of automobiles and vegetation-covered landscapes and the reduction of aerosol on ozone pollution in the fast developing megacities of China, and additional studies are needed to better understand the highly nonlinear ozone problem. © 2009., the American Geophysical Union.