Cost of Living in Shanghai, China

Prices in Shanghai

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Consumer Price Index (Excl.Rent): 61.65
Rent Index: 38.97
Groceries Index: 62.18
Restaurants Index: 53.82
Consumer Price Plus Rent Index: 50.64
Local Purchasing Power: 72.21

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Restaurants [Edit] Avg.
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 30.00 ¥
Meal for 2, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course 245.00 ¥
McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) 28.00 ¥
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) 24.00 ¥
Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) 40.00 ¥
Cappuccino (regular) 30.78 ¥
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) 4.18 ¥
Water (0.33 liter bottle) 2.34 ¥
Markets [Edit] Avg.
Milk (regular), (1 liter) 18.10 ¥
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) 17.29 ¥
Rice (white), (1kg) 7.12 ¥
Eggs (12) 14.89 ¥
Local Cheese (1kg) 143.00 ¥
Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1kg) 29.75 ¥
Apples (1kg) 15.60 ¥
Oranges (1kg) 12.78 ¥
Tomato (1kg) 8.33 ¥
Potato (1kg) 6.27 ¥
Lettuce (1 head) 6.86 ¥
Water (1.5 liter bottle) 4.25 ¥
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 90.00 ¥
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) 4.83 ¥
Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) 13.75 ¥
Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro) 16.50 ¥
Transportation [Edit] Avg.
One-way Ticket (Local Transport) 4.00 ¥
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) 200.00 ¥
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 14.00 ¥
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) 3.00 ¥
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) 30.00 ¥
Gasoline (1 liter) 7.61 ¥
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) 175,700.00 ¥
Utilities (Monthly) [Edit] Avg.
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment 425.83 ¥
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans) 0.19 ¥
Internet (6 Mbps, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) 142.50 ¥
Sports And Leisure [Edit] Avg.
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult 260.93 ¥
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 92.22 ¥
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat 80.00 ¥
Clothing And Shoes [Edit] Avg.
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) 748.75 ¥
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, ...) 338.82 ¥
1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes 794.36 ¥
1 Pair of Men Leather Shoes 787.50 ¥
Rent Per Month [Edit] Avg.
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 6,885.48 ¥
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 3,092.31 ¥
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 15,750.00 ¥
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 6,933.33 ¥
Buy Apartment Price [Edit] Avg.
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre 57,159.15 ¥
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre 26,166.67 ¥
Salaries And Financing [Edit] Avg.
Average Monthly Disposable Salary (After Tax) 8,761.46 ¥
Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly 6.31

These data are based on 1052 entries in the past 18 months from 131 different contributors.

Last update: March, 2015

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51 Comments so far

#TheMan on Feb 07, 2015 :
Is 17,000 a good salary in Shanghai? No, not even for a Chinese person. The costs of living are extremely high - Mercers rate the city as more expensive than new York.

- Grocery Shopping costs you easily 3x more than in Europe (there is no discounter in Shanghai). Vegetables are cheap but everything else is very expensive. A liter of Milk can cost you easily 2.5$ and 250g butter easily 4$. For an average shopping card I payed in Europe roughly about 35Euros, in Shanghai it is minimum 100 Euros. It can be easily 500 Euros if you buy your stuff at Cityshop.
- A normal gym costs you in Europe 25$ a month, in Shanghai it is minimum 3x more (and than it is dirty and fucked up).
- An average apartment in a bigger city in Europe costs you about 1.000 Euros a moth. In Shanghai you get only total shitholes for 1.000 Euros a month with no oven and nor washing machine. My apartment is about 25,000 RMB and totally disgusting.
- Nightlife is minimum double. A beer in a bar costs you betwenn 40-80 RMB. That is Crazy.
- Drug store stuff is 3-4times more expensive. A fucking shampoo that cost you something like 2Euros in Europe can cost you easily 100 RMB in Shanghai.....
#jerry on Dec 15, 2014 :
700Y for leather shoes? that's crazy. 100 will get you nice shoes. cheese is expensive because Chinese people dont eat cheese, but pork is reasonably priced. so is food in general. normal meal for me is about $3usd. @masoud. there arent alot of Iranians in China, but there's alot of Arabs. I don't know how well you will get along with them. if you cooperate with them, maybe you can have a good life here. I've only seen one Iranian restraunt here, and i think that it can be successful. I do believe the Arabs here will enjoy Iranian food. Anyway, the Arab community is based in Guang dong, and i think they are export and import.
#kf on Dec 06, 2014 :
Hi Chriatopher,

Since I just got a job in Shanghai and al looking for a flat, could you suggest some of the chinese webites for house hunting that you where writing about in your comment?

And if anyone else have some suggestions, let me know please!
#david on Nov 14, 2014 :
I'm an IT guy with 4 years of industry experience. I got an offer from an MNC in Shanghai, 17000 rmb/ month. Is this a good salary for a single person to live in Shanghai? Also let me know average expense incurred for a single person.
#teo on Oct 15, 2014 :
#poul, are you going there to teach English? If you are already there, could you give me some information about the environment? Thanks!
#Poul on Sep 22, 2014 :

i am thinking about job offer in China Shanghai, is 1400USD Enough for normal life ?
is it possible to save something from this amount?

thank you!
#DAVID BANDA on Sep 18, 2014 :
Hi,i want to study in shangai,but i want to know the cost of living for each accademic much do most universities charge for accomodation if you are staying on campus there?...can you work a part time job while studing there?...please am looking forward to hearing from you
#Deeps on Jul 16, 2014 :
I am moving to china from India. Just wanted to know the monthly expenditure. I will be provided accommodation by company. How much will I be able to save?

How do I transfer money to india monthly bcoz I have my loan going on in india.
#Keswick on Jun 01, 2014 :
@vicky joshi

depends on your terrible grammars and weird writings, you shouldn't.
#vicky joshi on May 26, 2014 :
Need to know if I want to start a small school for teaching foreigners chinese language. And chinese people english language. What will be the approximate investment.
Thankimg u for ur time.
#Darius on Mar 30, 2014 :
P.S.2 Or I would say like this: If I would make Y 25 000/monthly, how much I could save if I am not big money waster.
#Darius on Mar 30, 2014 :
P.S. Also how much taxes need to pay as forefinger
#Darius on Mar 30, 2014 :
Hi All,

can some one explain me how much money cost to rent 1br apartment, food (I wouldn't have time to eat every day in the restaurants, probably will be cooking at home), also gym, mobile phone & internet, travelings by taxi and metro. I need to know TOTAL. Thank You Very Much.
#Christopher on Mar 20, 2014 :
The main issue for expatriates in Shanghai is that most of them use websites targetting foreigners to find their apartments (like Smart Shanghai for example), the agencies owning or posting on these websites are perfectly aware that they are dealing with people who are clueless about the housing market in Shanghai, as a result many newcomers end up paying 150~200% (and even three times in somes cases) the price that they would pay if using local websites that every Chinese people also use.

I laugh everytime I hear foreigners telling that they have made a good deal renting for example a 70m² 1br apartment in a modern highrise located in the city center (Huangpu, Jing'an or Luwan) nearby a subway station for 5000RMB/month without utilities, the truth is that the exact same apartment next door in the exact same building with the exact same furnitures is likely proposed for 3500~4000RMB/month utilities included on Chinese websites.

Shanghai can be as cheap as any other big city in China, considering that you use your brain when shopping (groceries or else whatever, even imported food price can range anywhere from 1 to 20 depending on where you shop) and don't go clubbing every night (because Shanghai is more than bars and clubs, there are so many nice places to visit, things to do, cultural events to join and so on, all of it for very cheap). There are also those people who absolutely want a car in Shanghai (which is very expensive compared to back home), who need a car in Shanghai? Why do you want a car? To show that you got money? Because honestly walking is almost as fast considering how busy and slow is the traffic here, taxis are incredibly cheap and know the shortcuts to avoid traffic jams, as for the subway network it is fast, cheap, clean and can take you anywhere.

But I guess some people always end up broke by the end of the month, no matter where they live and how much they earn.
#david liu on Feb 11, 2014 :
Hi, I have a new apartment for rental now. It's located in Minghang district Shanghai, near Metro line 8, Pujiang Town station. It is 130m2, 3 bedrooms, 1 living room, 1 dining room, 2 restrooms, fine decoration, furniture and appliance. There is a club in the housing estate, swimming pool and gym will be open soon. This is in a brand new community, Italian style, environmen is very beautiful and quiet, you will love it.
#Amit on Jan 17, 2014 :
Excellent and useful site.
For foreigners with families; I would recommend Longyang road (WangBang) or Guanglan road for renting an apartment.
#Zai on Dec 11, 2013 :
Hi guys,

Any apartment to rent on chongming island as I will be working on the island or any advise where I can rent the apartment? Is for a families of my wife and baby. Thanks!
#Eva on Nov 06, 2013 :
I want to lease, fix the apartment and sublease an apartment in shanghai , as a start up real estate business here, pls help me:

1. Should i get a studio, 1 br or 2 br? Which one is the most rentable for expats?

2. which area? Jing an, Frenc Concession or near a university?

3. Whats the average acceptable price for a studio , 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom?
#Anonymous on Oct 31, 2013 :
The department you rent is the big part of you income.
The department of 3 bedrooms cost 7000+ in shanghai.
#Chengfeng on Oct 30, 2013 :

the dormitory buildings are old, but much cheaper. You can also rent a room near this campus, 1~2 minutes walk. The rent is about 2500RMB~5000RMB, depending on how big is the room.
#Sunil Damani on Oct 16, 2013 :
Hey i have been offered a job in shanghai - i am trying to find out the cost of living - my office is located close to Bund Center - i would like to know the cost of accomodation..
#2maria84 on Oct 03, 2013 :
...i guys i want to study to shanghai unniversity of economics and finance you advice me to book a room at the dormitory???
#A. Chen on Sep 13, 2013 :
I heard Shanghai has been described as the Paris of Asia. I was fascinated by the images I saw. I imagine the city has its dark side too, but I don't know of a city that doesn't.
#Solenn Sall on Aug 25, 2013 :
@Andrew Chang : I'm going to SUFE this year, and I chose the campus dorms for the first semester. I visited my room, and it's really decent, with plenty of space compared to what I thought it would be... Plus, all the facilities one needs are included in the building (laundromats aren't easy to find in China !).
Otherwise, you can always look up all the ads on or

#Andrew Chang on Aug 17, 2013 :
Hi,everyone! at first I would like to ask you guys for help about my major problem. I had a scholarship to go to study in Shanghai and I will go on the 29th of Aug 2013. I still can't find the right place and affortable price for a student. And I will study at Shanghai university of finance and economics (SUFE). I am blanked right now. I really need some help, Thanks
#laowaiiiii on May 18, 2013 :
Wait, "low level expat"? I think a "low level foreigner", aka somebody who just shows up without any real skill / no Chinese, and starts looking for a job, if you can find a job at all, would probably be at about 5kRMB. On the other hand, I have a friend who fits that description. He was a cook in Canada, and wound up finding a job in a western restaurant for 10kRMB / mo. If you have a skill that's useful in Shanghai (even if your only skill is English as a first language and a white face), or if you have a degree and can speak at least a little Chinese, should be pretty easy to get a job between 10k and 20kRMB / mo. Somebody with true international "expat" experience, in a senior professional or management role, etc, should be pretty easy to get 20-50k/mo. I made between 100kRMB and 125kRMB/mo for about 7 years when I was there running a small factory for a European investor.
#Chengfeng on May 16, 2013 :
Salary is different between coding and testing. So it depends on what you specialize in. For bachelor degrees from famous university, maybe 20k+ in a good company. If you have a master degree or plenty projects experience, you can get more. But there is also a lot of ITers call themselves "busy farmers"... since the salary is only several k a month and life is hard... :(
#Chengfeng on May 16, 2013 :
Hongqiao/Gubei Area is kind of a place for foreigners now. No wonder it's expensive. My suggestion is that you ask local friends for help. It's not difficult to rent an apartment in lower price in other districts. Maybe 10k is enough, I think.

There are a lot of supermarkets with very low price, such as Auchan, Lotus, etc. They all have plenty parking area and good shopping environment.
#Chengfeng on May 16, 2013 :
I'm a Shanghainese. 1,000$ is about 6300RMB here. You can live a better life than average(excl. rent.....)
cook at home: for 2 adults, 2k~3kRMB/month (this depend on how good the quality of food you want)
restuarant: lunch at work in CBD, within 50RMB/person; dinner:80~150RMB/person
fruit: everyday for 2 adults, my cost is 300RMB/month
grocery: shopping at a supermarket 200RMB/once
transportation: underground 3~7RMB/once, 2RMB/once for bus.
mobilphone: with GPRS/3G, 200 minutes call and 150 texts, 60RMB/month
utility: 80 m2 apartment, 500RMB/month at least (inluding 20M internet, electricity, gas, water, phone)

For rent: 2 bedrooms in city center is very expensive, 5k at least.

Church: you can always find a church even not in city center.
#Sajal on May 12, 2013 :
Is shanghai a good city for a middle class indian like me who lives in delhi
#Sreyrath on Apr 20, 2013 :
Hi everybody!

I have plane to work there with my husband and some relative.
for my monthly fee i get 1000$ per month so for this salary i can support yourself in there or not? i can save some money or not in a month for this salary if food and house is responded by employer? So i go or don't go. Which one is better? pl anybody recommend me i will very thank to them. Thanks.
#VB on Apr 17, 2013 :
I am 3.5 years experienced IT professional
I want to know how much remuneration I should get in Shanghai OR how much would be average expenditure in Yuan?
#LvL on Apr 09, 2013 :
@ Anonymous We live in Shanghai about 15 mins from Jingan temple subway station in a large 3 bedroom apt , in a very nice compound, and we pay 7200 a month, so that number is correct.
#Mladen on Mar 18, 2013 :
Please update more. I understand that some shops where expats buy are more expensive than cheap supermarkets.
#Anonymous on Mar 06, 2013 :
Wow, I am living in Shanghai right now. I would like to know where you can get 3 bedrooms apt rent for 12000 or 7000? My apt is out pass Hongqiao airport, 15 miles from downtown, and it cost over 25000rmb a month. My utility bill (water, hot water, gas and electric) is over 900rmb for family of 4. Food here is much more expensive then stated above. Cheese is about 10 times the stated above. Let put it this way, there is no way you could buy 2.2 lbs of cheese for 100rmb ($15) and 2.2 lb of apple for 15rmb. I just bought 3 apples, a little more than a lbs, for 28rmb today.
#tyler an american on Feb 27, 2013 :
i was looking and its said that a us dollar is about one cent to one yinn and if thats true its insane seven us dollars is one months rent and you all pay seven yin a liter of gas thats seven us cents and were paying almost four dolars a gallon that would be close to 32 cents of us money over there for a gallon so our government is ripping us off
#Anonymous on Jan 25, 2013 :
The market part is more than actual level in shanghai.
#Dave H on Jan 09, 2013 :
If you're an English teacher and want to make big bucks, teach in Saudi Arabia. Yeah, I know you won't have a life there, but it pays better on average than ESL gigs in ANY other country, overall. It's big money/zero lifestyle. A trade off. Saudi's surrounding Arab neighbors make considerably less, on average. Of course there's always an odd exception to every general rule. The 16,000 RMB Wall Street English is 13,500 or so after taxes. So don't forget taxes. Some employers only tax base salary and the accommodations/other perks are not taxed. Others, like Wall street, give you handsome gross salary, but after taxes, it's considerably less. I know because I briefly applied at Wall Street English, and they quoted me 13-tousand and something after taxes. At that point I disregarded them, and later got hired by a company which only taxxed my base salary, which wasn't that high, but my cost of living allowance and acommodation allowance (which almost doubled the salary) weren't taxed, so I net more than I would have netted at Wall Street. By the way Saudi is tax free. Except for Intl schools, you won't be earning huge money, but even the marginal to moderate salaries are more than enough to eat, party and sight-see. If you trying to pay off a mortgage, pay back a student loan, or sock away vast amounts of money, go to Saudi Arabia. Accommodations/transportation is either free, or a handsome allowance paid, food and electronics are cheap. You'll save 95% or more of your income. But if you just want to exist in a normal fashion from payday to payday, CHina or Taiwan is fine. I've worked in all three places.
#Rahul Ganjoo on Jan 04, 2013 :
How much 6.8 year experience software developer should expect in Shanghai.
#jo on Jan 01, 2013 :
Hi.. Joanne here n would be settling down in shanghai. I'm going there with my 4 kids. Hubby got posted there by his current company to Jingan area. I m a certified english teacher in an international school here in malaysia. Few questions I would like to ask.
1. Which part of shanghai is good to stay n where can we get cheaper apartment rental? Fully furnished.
2. Any homeschooling support group?
3. Is there any church we can attend?

Hope to hear from all of you.
#John on Dec 19, 2012 :
One of the highest paid schools in China is Wall Street Zenglish. They pay around 16.000 RMB a per month if you are a native speaker and have a good teaching qualification.
#Laura Deedigan on Dec 05, 2012 :
Dear Masoud,
Its hard to say. As far as I know, if you were a native English speaker with a decent degree, you can earn around 100yuan-300yuan/hour (around 18$-50$/hour) as a private teacher.
#Masoud on Nov 18, 2012 :
Hi everybody,
I'm from Iran. I'd like immigration to china with my wife. But not decide yet. I want to know, if I start business in there, eg, import and export trade or op en restaurant or maybe teaching english (private teacher), how much can I to earn per month.
Every body can to help me about this problem, I will very thanks from her/him.

Special thanks from this website manager.
#KLM on Oct 25, 2012 :
International teachers who are certified can make similar pay to what they made in their home countries. This means that they are able to live quite a high level of life in Shanghai. International schools will pay for housing, some-transportation and some-utilities. These are very different positions than English teachers. International schools have to remain competitive and the cost of tuition are high. The resources available in a large, established IS are extensive. I would highly recommend looking into IS schools if you are a certified teacher in your home country.
#ActuallyinSH on Sep 23, 2012 :
if you want to make that kind of money teaching here you'll need to supplement income with freelance work, certainly not impossible. Right now I'm earning 14k a month teaching, and will do about 10 hours of private tutoring- average 200rmb an hour...that's about 22-25k a month, my free time isn't worth giving up for the additional money.
#chandrabrahmos on Jul 24, 2012 :
for a low level expat, the minimum salary is 5k RMB
#Maven on Jun 19, 2012 :
How much is the average salary of a low-level expat living in Shanghai?
#Mike D on May 22, 2012 :
I've been told a salary for the Director of a school in Shanghai would only be in the region of RMB 35,000 max - you're being unrealistic. Teachers don't go into the international teaching business as a business - rewards are not in the monetary area!
#Andrew S on Mar 31, 2012 : you want to make 100K annually while teaching? Just as an FYI directors of major multi-national companies make about that just so you have a reference point
#Alastair on Nov 09, 2011 :
Would suggest Andrew that you lower your expectations of Salary if you would like to teach Englush in China. Having said that costs of living vary greatly across China so you will find that other places are not anywhere near as expensive as Australia. Having said that I don't know what part of Australia you are from. I found Brisbane to have very low living costs when I lived their but I have heard other areas are more expensive.
#Andrew Mcphee on Jul 20, 2011 :
This was helpful and all. But what's the go for Australian Teachers like myself?
I wanna move to China, but it seems the pay is a little low, whereas the cost of living is very similar. I can't find any foreign teaching jobs that pay roughly $600 per week.

Thanks in advance for your response :)
Andrew Mcphee

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