The Cost Of Living In China

Recently, I was browsing a forum topic on the cost of living in China. I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to respond to question posed on the forum.

Keep in mind the following when reading my answers:

  • This is based on living in Oriental University City, Langfang, Hebei
  • I left China about 6 months ago, so the prices may be slightly out of date

Oriental University City, Langfang

I should also explain a little about OUC, which stands for Oriental University City (pinyin: yīng huā dà xué chéng):

OUC is a combined campus of about 30 universities on the outskirts of Langfang. It’s right next to the JingJinTang Expressway from Beijing (50Km away) to Tianjin (60Km away).

When I arrived in February 2006, there were about 80,000 students resident on the campus, but that number would have grown since then.

It’s about the size of a large suburb in Australia or US and is self-contained with a half a dozen supermarkets, a couple of hundred restaurants, several hotels, a small hospital and a 90 hole golf course.

How Much Does It Cost To Live In China?

Here are my answers to questions posed on the forum:

  • Accommodation prices: For a decent sized, furnished, two bedroom apartment – 2000 yuan to 2500 yuan per month
  • Transportation fares:
    • Anywhere on campus: 1 yuan for a trolley, 5 yuan for a taxi.
    • To Langfang (25 to 40 minutes away): 2 yuan for a bus, 20 yuan to 30 yuan for a taxi.
    • To Beijing (one to two hours away): 12 yuan for the slow bus, 16 yuan for the fast bus, 130 yuan for a taxi.
  • Food prices: You’d probably spend 1000 yuan per month at the supermarket. You could spend less if you wanted to, but equally you spend quite a but more if you really splurge on the expensive Western items.
  • Electricity and water: On average we probably spent about 300 yuan per month.
  • Internet: 750 yuan per year for cable Internet
  • Mobile phone: depends on call frequency but maybe 100 yuan to 200 yuan per month for medium usage locally (not International, use Skype for that!).
  • Decent traditional restaurant: 20 yuan to 30 yuan for the nice dishes.
  • Beer or coffee: 12 yuan to 20 yuan.

I can’t answer the questions about medical insurance, education and cinema costs, because I didn’t need to spend any money on those items.

All up, I found that you could live reasonably comfortably on about 5000 yuan per month (or 3000 yuan if the rent is paid for you, which is quite common). You could definitely do it cheaper if you had to – China is a cheap place to live although prices are rising.

Do you live in China? How much does it cost you to live there? Let me know in the comments!

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9 Responses

  1. Darwin

    Hi!thanks for the info. I am being offered a job in beijing for 6000 rmb and allowance of 4000 rmb. do you think the 4000 rmb allowance is enough for me to live comfortably enough in beijing? Salamat po.

  2. Andrew Zimmerman

    Thanks.

  3. Intresting information for the expats here.
    Thanks for sharing

    Sandra
    asian expat.

  4. karun Singh

    My name is karun singh and i have compelted my mca recently i am from india i am a girl my age is 23 years.I have been offered a job as a teacher in Weifang university but i have some doubts regarding it so i need ur guidance in it.See i don’t mind teaching there but at the end of the i want to work in the corporate sector they told me that they have a development(R& D)center there i can work there well they said that they do have projects coming in but i might have to initially find my own projects and they have an IT park there and have chances to get placed into IT companies there and that there have been students who have got placed in america and UK i would like to know that what are my future prospects since at the end of the day i want to work in a corporate world as a software developer and preferably in wetern countries like states and UK i request you to please advice me on this very honestly and what will be the cost of living and other expenses in terms of food ,shopping etc.I will get 15000Rs that is around 2000 yen on hand they will provide me accomodation and indian food on campus but is this salary enough for me to survive there what is the work culture and will i have good career oppurtunities thank you for listening to me and please request u to guide me on this.

  5. divyam dixit

    hey…have you got answer of your question?
    i have also same question with same offer..
    what i do ?
    plz guide me..

  6. Richard Ker

    Everything was spot-on. Some additional items (based in Beijing):

    – Cinema RMB50-80
    – Fancy restaurant RMB150-200/person per meal

    If you plan to own a car:

    – Fuel RMB6.50-6.90 per lite
    – Insurance from RMB4000 per year depending on what type of car you drive
    – Parking from RMB5 per hour downtown
    – Additional parking fees to park at your apartment car park RMB5/day

  7. geraldine duhalngon

    how much money do i need when planning to go to china while looking for a job. at least one month budget.thanx

  8. SREE

    KARUNA SINGH AND DVIYAM DIXIT,

    I LIVED IN CHINA FROM 1995-1999 AS PROJECT MANAGER. BUT WE HAD AN AMERICAN FRIEND WHO WORKED LIKE YOU BUT SHE WAS THERE TO PICK UP SOME INTERNATIONAL TEACHING EXPERIENCE.

    IT WILL BE TIGHT LIVING CONDITION BUT IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO GAIN EXPERIENCE, THEN OK, BUT TRYING TO GROW UP THE LADDER OR LOOK FOR AN OPPORTUNITY IS DIFFICULT TASK AND MAY BE IF YOU ARE LUCKY THEN YOU MAY BUMP IN TO RIGHT PEOPLE TO GET RIGHT PLACES.

    ALSO PLEASE PLAN TO TEACH TECHNICAL ENGLISH WHICH IS IN BIG DEMAND AND YOU BE PAID MORE.

    REGARDS
    SREE, MYSORE, IN

  9. I am doing in customs clearing in sost dry port pak China border. I want to job in china. For please contact 00923445418770

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