Cost of living in Shanghai

Shanghai is one of the most popular cities in China, willingly visited by numerous tourists from around the world. Some of them decide to go on a tourist trip, while others plan to stay there for a little longer. Many people choose to study in this big city because of the wide range of universities. There are also many people interested in working in Shanghai. So what does life look like in Shanghai? What is the cost of living in Shanghai?

Cost of living in Shanghai

Renting a flat in Shanghai

The prices of renting or buying a flat depend on the district and the distance from the center.

Cost of living in Shanghai - real estate agent

Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the center of Shanghai usually costs from 4 000 to 10 000 yuan (ca. 582 – 1 400 USD). For comparison, for the same apartment with similar conditions outside the center, we will pay from 2 000 to 6 000 yuan (approx. 291 – 874 USD) per month.

One of the most expensive districts in Shanghai is Bund, Pudong, Gubei, Hongqiao, Minghai, Hongkou, and French Courter. The Bund District is at a coastal promenade, situated on the right sight of the Huangpu River. In the 19th century, there was a British settlement in this area. Baroque, Renaissance, Classicist, and Art Deco buildings were built there. In the old days, it was the main financial center of South Asia. Pudong is a district in the eastern part of the town. From the beginning of the district’s establishment, it was assumed that it would be Shanghai’s financial and commercial center.

When we are deciding on bigger apartments, we must remember that the monthly rent will be higher. The cost of renting an apartment with three bedrooms in the center of Shanghai is usually about 10 000 – 22 000 yuan (approx. 1 400 – 3 200 USD). For an apartment in the same standard outside the center, we will pay from 5 000 to 13 000 yuan (approx. 728 – 1 800 USD).

Renting a flat in Shanghai – with a real estate agent service

Renting a flat in Shanghai

When we are looking for a suitable flat, it’s good to consider employing a real estate agent. There are many real estate agencies in Shanghai. The decision to hire someone to help in your search will save you a lot of time. The agent’s commission in Shanghai is 30% of the monthly rent, which is relatively small compared to other cities. The rent in Shanghai is usually paid every two months in advance for the next two months. We also must bear in mind the deposit before moving in. Often, it is equivalent to two-month or three-month rent. However, it is worth trying to get along with the owner of the apartment. It would help to lower the deposit to the value of a one-month rent.

There are many Chinese websites on which we can view the offers of flats for rent.

Renting a flat in Shanghai – differences in square footage and rental prices

As we can see, the prices of flats are varied. The cost of renting the first apartment for one month is up to 58 000 yuan (approx. 8 388 USD). It is a two-floor house with an area of 445 m2 and has five bedrooms, two living rooms, and four bathrooms. The second flat is near the subway. It flat has two bedrooms, and it covers an area of over 117 m2. The cost of a monthly rental is 20 000 yuan (approx. 2 892 USD). The flat is located on the 19th floor in a friendly area. The last apartment is the smallest; therefore, the rental price is, without a doubt, lower. The flat covers an area of 66m2 and has two bedrooms. The cost of a monthly rental is 6 000 yuan (approx. 868 USD).

As we can see, the prices depend on three major factors. First off, the area of the flat, second: the location, third: the floor on which the flat is located.

Charges for a flat in Shanghai

Both when renting and buying a flat, you should also have in mind the cost of housing fees. Taking an 85m2 flat as an example, we should expect payments in the amount of 250 to 638 yuan per month (approx. 36 – 93 USD). The charges include heating, electricity, water, and rubbish. Internet with unlimited data usually costs 70 – 160 yuan (approx. 15 – 23 USD) per month.

Cost of living in Shanghai – buying a flat

Many people choose to rent a flat. However, some people are wondering if buying isn’t a better option.

Nonetheless, the prices for buying an apartment in Shanghai are very high. The price per m2 of a flat located in the city center is usually between 80 000 and 120 000 yuan (approx. 11 000 – 17 000 USD). When it comes to a similar flat outside the city center, the price per m2 is about 40 000 to 60 000 yuan (approx. 5 800 – 8 700 USD).

Buying a flat in Shanghai

The total price of a house or flat is marked in red. Below you can see its price per m2. Real estate prices in China are continually growing and will probably overtake the western ones. Higher prices are in New York Manhattan.

Cost of living in Shanghai – transport

Public transport

When you are planning a move to Shanghai, it is worth getting information about public transport and its cost. There are about 1000 bus lines, metro, trains, and coaches in the city.

In Shanghai, depending on the route, tickets for the metro range from 2 to 9 yuan (approx. 0,30 – 1,30 USD). However, we can choose a 24-hour ticket, a 3-day ticket, or a public transport card. A 24-hour ticket entitles to use any subway in Shanghai within 24 hours. This ticket costs 18 yuan (approx. 2,60 USD). A 3-day ticket operates on the same terms, with the exception that we can use it for 72 hours. The price is 45 yuan (approx. 6,50 USD). A beneficial solution is also using the Shanghai public transport card. The card must be charged with the right amount of money, and you can pay with this card not only for a metro but also for buses and some taxis. The price of a single journey is lower that way. However, new card users must pay 100 yuan at the beginning (approx. 14,50 USD). 20 yuan (approx. 2,90 USD) is charged as a deposit, while 80 yuan (approx. 11,60 USD) for use.

The price for a monthly ticket for transport in Shanghai is usually from 100 to 250 yuan (approx. 15 – 36 USD).

Transport in Shanghai – using a taxi

The taxi driver starts a course with a start fee, which in Shanghai is 14 yuan (approx. 2 USD). For each kilometer, the fee is 2,50 yuan (approx. 0,36 USD). For example, if we drive for 10 km, our taxi fare will be 39 yuan (approx. 5,60 USD). It is worth remembering that one hour of waiting for us by the taxi driver usually costs from 30 to 60 yuan (approx. 4,40 – 8,70 USD).

The cost of renting a bike in Shanghai

There are many places in Shanghai where you can rent bikes. A lot of Chinese regularly use this option of transport around the city full of traffic jams. The cost of renting a bike is not that high, and the deposit is currently about 10-40 yuan (approx. 1,45 – 5,80 USD). Bicycles can be rented by using a phone application.

Cost of living in Shanghai bikes

How expensive is fuel in Shanghai?

When it comes to transport around the city, it is worth mentioning fuel prices. The cost of 1 l of gasoline is usually 6,60 – 8 yuan (approx. 0,96 – 1,20 USD). However, it also should be noted those people who would like to drive a car in China will be able to do it only after passing the Chinese driving test. You can’t drive a car in China using a European driving license.

Cost of living in Shanghai – eating out

When we are talking about the cost of living, we can’t forget about food. When it comes to eating out, surely the expenditure will be a bit higher than if we decided to prepare meals by ourselves. When it comes to cheap, small restaurants, the cost of a meal will be between 25 and 50 yuan (approx. 3,60 – 7,30 USD). A three-course meal in a middle-class restaurant for two people will cost about 150 – 300 yuan (approx. 23 – 44 USD). We can also go to a fast-food restaurant for a quick filling meal. Both McDonald’s and KFC are very popular in China. We will pay 13 yuan (approx. 1,90 USD) for large fries from KFC.

For a domestic beer, we will pay from 8 to 30 yuan (approx. 1,20 – 4,40 USD). However, for an imported beer in a 0,33-l bottle, we will pay about 15 – 45 yuan (approx. 2,20 – 6,60 USD). Coca-Cola or Pepsi in a 0,33 l bottle costs about 3 to 10 yuan (approx. 0,44 – 1,50 USD). When it comes to water, it is very cheap. The cost for a 0,33-l bottle is about 2 to 5 yuan (approx. 0,29 – 0,79 yuan). Coffee is not very popular in China, but places like Starbucks are gaining more and more appreciation. The cost of the espresso is about 18 – 25 yuan (approx. 2,50 – 3,60 USD). For cappuccino, we will pay from 25 to 35 yuan (approx. 3,60 – 5,10 USD).

Eating out in Shanghai

Products in Shanghai stores

Some people, instead of eating out, will probably decide to prepare a meal by themselves. The cost of food won’t be that high then. Below we present examples of products with their prices.

  • Milk 1 l – 12 – 20 yuan (approx. 1,70 – 2,90 USD)
  • Water (1,5 l bottle) – 3 – 8 yuan (approx. 0,44 – 1,20 USD)
  • Bottle of wine (mid-range) – 70 – 130 yuan (approx. 10 – 19 USD)
  • Domestic beer (0,5 l bottle) – 3,50 – 10 yuan (approx. 0,51 – 1,50 USD)
  • Chicken breasts 1 kg – 19 – 60 yuan (approx. 2,80 – 8,70 USD)
  • Oranges 1 kg – 8 – 25 yuan (approx. 0,87 – 4,40 USD)
  • Potato 1 kg – 5 – 15 yuan (approx. 0,73 – 2,20 USD)
  • Rice (white) 1 kg – 5 – 10 yuan (approx. 0,73 – 1,50 USD)
  • Beef round 1 kg – 60 – 120 yuan (approx. 8,70 – 15 USD)
  • White cheese 1 kg – 40 – 158 yuan (approx. 5,80 – 23 USD)
  • Tomato 1 kg – 7 – 18 yuan (approx. 1 – 2,60 USD)
Foodstuff in Shanghai

Cost of living in Shanghai – free time activities

There are many places in Shanghai where you can spend your free time. Numerous karaoke bars, fitness clubs, and cinemas await clients. How much money should we prepare when deciding to purchase a monthly pass to the local fitness club? Usually, it costs from 200 to 550 yuan (approx. 29 – 80 USD). People who prefer different kinds of entertainment and choose to spend their free time at the cinema will spend between 40 – 80 yuan for a ticket (approx. 5,80 – 12 USD). People who want to go to Shanghai Disneyland will pay about 440 yuan (approx. 64 USD) for an adult ticket.

Cost of living in Shanghai – costs of education

Children spend a lot of time in Chinese schools, which is why their parents carefully choose an adequate one. They also think that the more they pay, the better the school is. Preschool and kindergarten cost between 3 000 and 6 000 yuan per month (approx. 437 – 874 USD). As for older children, the annual fee for an international primary school is about 72 000 – 250 000 yuan (approx. 5 800 – 8 700 USD). As we can see, the price discrepancy is quite huge. However, the price depends on the location of the institution, public opinion, and scientific excellence.

Job in Shanghai and standard payments

The average net monthly salary (after tax) is between 5 500 and 15 000 yuan (approx. 801 – 2 100 USD).

On the Internet, we can find many job offers — both on Chinese and English websites. Below we present examples of job offers placed on the Chinese website and standard payments.

Jobs in Shanghai in chinese

For those who don’t speak Chinese, it will be much easier to use English websites. Below we present examples of job offers with the proposed monthly salary.

Jobs in Shanghai

Cost of living in Shanghai

According to data collected by Numbeo, a family of four people living in China, monthly spend an average of 16 163 yuan (approx. 2 339 USD). The cost of one person’s life is about 4 384 yuan (approx. 634 USD) monthly.

Living in Shanghai turns out to be expensive. Earnings are not adequate for the cost of living. The standard of living will undoubtedly improve when we go to Shanghai employed by some western company that pays for our flat, food, and similar things.