The Cost Of Living In China

Thinking of relocating to China?

Before any big move, it’s crucial to do your research – that’s why we’ve done the work for you and compiled this handy list of prices broken down into categories.

To roughly convert prices to GBP, just divide the rate in RMB by 10. So 100RMB = 10GBP.

Let’s jump right in!


Apartment Expenses

Rent 2018 in RMB ¥

  • Studio
  • 46sqm/500sqf
  • 30 mins to city centre

Tier 1 city:

  • Beijing (4500)
  • Shanghai (4000)
  • Shenzhen (3000)

Tier 2 city:

  • Chongqing(1600)
  • Nanjing(2500)
  • Hangzhou(2500)
  • Chengdu(1800)
  • Xiamen(1700)
  • Suzhou(2000)
  • Shenyang (1800)
  • Shijiazhuang(1500)



(Water, Internet, Electricity, Gas etc)

Altogether 200RMB a month maximum



50RMB/per month.

You get free WIFI everywhere in China!




1-2RMB single trip



5RMB for a one hour trip.

Buy a subway card for 100RMB with a 50RMB balance or top up with WeChat.


High speed train

60RMB for a trip roughly the same distance as London to Manchester – but it only takes an hour!



Flights from Beijing to Shanghai are as cheap as 350RMB.

You can find return flights to Thailand for as little as 600RMB – not bad for a holiday!

The best way to find the cheapest deals are to use apps such as Taobao.



Usually 14RMB per mile.


Bike Rental

2RMB an hour.

Bikes everywhere in China. You just open your camera with WeChat and scan the code on the bike and it unlocks itself. You don’t need to return it, just lock it anywhere on a street like a Barclay’s Bike.




8RMB for 1L of milk

4RMB for a can of beer

1.5-2RMB for a 500ml bottle of water

10RMB for 1kg of apples

10RMB for 12 eggs

10RMB for a loaf of white bread

23RMB for 1kg of chicken

You have the choice of supermarkets or local outdoor markets.


Eating out

6RMB for a roujiamo (a bun with lamb and vegetables)

8RMB for a bowl of fresh noodles

Local restaurants are extremely cheap but if you’re going somewhere fancy, you can have a meal for two for around 200RMB with (four dishes and drinks).


Other activities

Local bar

25RMB for a pint

Bars will usually also serve food, platters to share and have great music!



70RMB an hour for the service fee. You can sing for as loud and as long as you want!


So there you have it! Now you know how cheap it is to live in China, you can understand why teachers usually save around 80 – 90% of their salary!

What are you waiting for? Call now on 0208 748 4612 or send your CV to

Newsletter Signup

Recent Posts