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17 Feb 2020

Cost of living in China

The cost of living is what expatriates concern a lot when relocating to a city. Even in the same country, it can vary among cities. When it comes to a big country like China, you can hardly tell the exact cost of living. However, you can expect a relatively high cost of living in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai. According to the 2019 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Shanghai and Beijing ranked 6th and 8th respectively out of 209 cities while Shenyang ranked 45th.

Cost of living in China

Photo source from online

Cost of accommodation

Many expats find their most significant expense to be the rent, especially when they live in Shanghai or Beijing. The monthly rent for a standard one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Shanghai can cost you US$900 while a similar apartment in Chengdu just costs you US$350.

Cost of Food

There is a wide range of food options in China, from street food to local cuisine, and decent high-class buffet or western food. Street food is extremely cheap, just US$0.3 for most items like buns and skewered food.  If you have local cuisine in local restaurants, you are likely to pay less than US$3. Western food like pizza and spaghetti may cost you a bit higher, around US$7, depending on how decent the restaurant is. Since there are many options, you can control the budget of food easily. 

Cost of Transportation

In general, transportation in China is very affordable. The bus fare is US$0.3 while the metro fare starts at US$0.3. Taxi is also an option, but it costs a bit more, the taxi fare starts at less than US$2. You may use the mobile application called DiDi which partners with many taxi companies in China, so you can easily hail taxi through this mobile application. When it comes to traveling between cities, the cost is higher for sure but still quite affordable. You can choose bus, which is the least expensive option, or high-speed train if you want to save some time.

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