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- I left China about 6 months ago, so the prices may be slightly out of date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!