Cost of living in Shanghai

Shanghai is one of the most popular cities in China, visited by numerous people from around the world. Some go on a tourist trip, while others plan to stay there 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 vary from district to district. The rule is the closer to the center, the higher the price.

Cost of living in Shanghai - real estate agent

Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the center of Shanghai usually costs from RMB 5,000 to 12,000 (USD 727 – 1746). For comparison, the same apartment with similar conditions outside the center costs RMB 3,000 to 6,250 (USD 436 – 909) per month.

Ones of the most expensive districts in Shanghai are 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.

Remember that the monthly rent will be higher when deciding on bigger apartments. The cost of renting an apartment with three bedrooms in the center of Shanghai is usually about RMB 15,000 – 32,000 (USD 2183 – 4657). For an apartment of the same standard outside the center, you will pay RMB 6,500 to 16,000 (USD 946 – 2328).

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

When looking for a suitable flat, it’s good to consider consulting a real estate agent. There are many real estate agencies in Shanghai. Hiring 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. You 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 you can search the offers of flats for rent.

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

Rent in Shanghai

As you can see, the cost of the rent is varied. The cost of renting the first apartment for one month is RMB 3,900 (USD 567). It is a two-floor house with an area of 68,6 m2 and has two bedrooms, two living rooms, and one bathroom. The second flat is bigger. It has three bedrooms, and the area is 97,22 m2. The cost of a monthly rental is RMB 11,000 (USD 1601). The flat is located on the 26th floor. The last apartment is the biggest. However, the rental price is lower. The flat covers an area of 134 m2 and has three bedrooms, two living rooms, and two bathrooms. The cost of a monthly rental is RMB 9,000 (USD 1309).

As you 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

When renting or buying a flat in Shanghai, you should also consider the cost of housing fees. Taking an 85m2 flat as an example, you should expect fees of RMB 250 to 800 per month (USD 36 – 116). The charges include heating, electricity, water, and garbage. Internet with unlimited data usually costs RMB 80 – 200 (USD 11 – 29) 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 RMB 100,000 and 180,000 (USD 14,555 – 26,199). When it comes to a similar flat outside the city center, the price per m2 is about RMB 50,000 to 90,000 (USD 7277 – 13,099).

Cost of living in Shanghai buying a flat

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. It still can be cheaper than New York Manhattan.

Cost of living in Shanghai – transportation

Public transport

When planning a move to Shanghai, it is worth getting information about public transport and its cost. There are about 1,000 bus lines, metro, trains, and coaches in the city.

In Shanghai, depending on the route, tickets for the metro range from RMB 2 to 5 (USD 0.29 – 0.73). However, you can choose a 24-hour ticket, a 3-day ticket, or a public transport card. A 24-hour ticket entitles you to use any subway line in Shanghai for 24 hours. This ticket costs RMB 18 (USD 2.62). A 3-day ticket operates on the same terms, except that you can use it for 72 hours. The price is RMB 45 (USD 6.55).

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 RMB 100 at the beginning (USD 14). RMB 20 (USD 2.91) is charged as a deposit, while RMB 80 (USD 11) is for the mass transit.

The price for a monthly ticket for transport in Shanghai is usually from RMB 120 to 300 (USD 17 – 43).

Transport in Shanghai – using a taxi

The taxi driver starts a course with a start fee, which in Shanghai is RMB 15 (USD 2.18). For each kilometer, the fee is RMB 3 (USD 0.44). It is worth remembering that one hour of wait time is RMB 37.50 to 70 (USD 5.46 – 10.19).

The cost of renting a bike in Shanghai

There are many places in Shanghai where you can rent bikes. Many Chinese regularly use this transport option around the city full of traffic jams. The cost of renting a bike is not that high, and 15 minute-ride is RMB 1 – 2 (USD 0.15 – 0.30). Bicycles can be rented by using a phone app.

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 RMB 7 – 9.50 (USD 1 – 1.40). 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 foreign driving license.

Cost of living in Shanghai – eating out

When talking about the cost of living, you can’t forget about food. When it comes to eating out, surely the expenditure will be a bit higher than if you decided to prepare meals yourself. When it comes to cheap diners, the cost of a meal will be between RMB 25 and 70 (USD 3.60 – 10). A three-course meal in a middle-class restaurant for two people will cost about RMB 200 – 450 (USD 30 – 65). You can also go to a fast-food restaurant for a quick, filling meal. Both McDonald’s and KFC are very popular in China. For a Mcdonald’s or KFC meal, you will pay RMB 40 (USD 5.80).

Eating out in Shanghai

For a domestic beer, you will pay from RMB 5 to 33 (USD 0.70 – 4.80). However, for an imported beer in a 0,33 l bottle, you will pay about RMB 15 – 50 (USD 2.20 – 7). Coca-Cola or Pepsi in a 0,33 l bottle costs about RMB 3 to 6 (USD 0.44 – 0.87). When it comes to water, it is very cheap. A 0,33 l bottle is about RMB 2 to 5 (USD 0.30 – 0.70). Coffee is not very popular in China, but places like Starbucks are gaining more and more appreciation. The cost of the espresso is about RMB 21 (USD 3). For a cappuccino, you will pay from RMB 15 to 36 (USD 2.20 – 5.20).

Products in Shanghai stores

Instead of eating out, some people 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: RMB 10 – 25 (USD 1.50 – 3.60)
  • Water (1,5 l bottle): RMB 3 – 8 (USD 0.40 – 1)
  • Bottle of wine (mid-range): RMB 50 – 240 (USD 7 – 35)
  • Domestic beer (0,5 l bottle): RMB 3 – 10 (USD – 1.50)
  • Chicken breasts 1 kg: RMB 20 – 53 (USD 2.90 – 7.70)
  • Oranges 1 kg: RMB 5 – 35 (USD 0.70 – 5)
  • Potato 1 kg: RMB 3 – 10 (USD 0.40 – 1.50)
  • Rice (white) 1 kg: RMB 5 – 15 (USD 0.70 – 2.20)
  • Beef round 1 kg: RMB 60 – 150 (USD 8.50 – 22)
  • White cheese 1 kg: RMB 45 – 300 (USD 6.50 – 43)
  • Tomato 1 kg: RMB 4 – 20 (USD 0.60 – 2.90)
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 you prepare when deciding to purchase a monthly pass to the local fitness club? Usually, it costs from RMB 200 to 1,000 (USD 30 – 145). People who prefer different kinds of entertainment and choose to spend their free time at the cinema will spend between RMB 49 – 80 for a ticket (USD 7 – 11.60). People who want to go to Shanghai Disneyland will pay about RMB 440 (USD 64) 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 RMB 5,000 and 16,600 per month (USD 727 – 2416). As for older children, the annual fee for an international primary school is about RMB 140,000 – 270,000 (USD 20,377 – 39,299). As you can see, the price gap is quite huge. However, the price depends on the location of the institution, public opinion, and standards.

Job in Shanghai and standard payments

The average net monthly salary (after tax) is RMB 10,015.48 (USD 1457).

On the Internet, you 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

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.

Cost of living in Shanghai english speaking job

Cost of living in Shanghai

According to data collected by Numbeo, a family of four people living in China, monthly spend an average of RMB 17,665.44 (USD 2571). The monthly cost of living for one person in Shanghai is about RMB 4,782.89 (USD 696). Prices in Shanghai are higher than in Beijing.

Living in Shanghai can be very expensive. Earnings are not adequate for the cost of living. The standard of living will undoubtedly improve when you live in Shanghai employed by some Western company that pays for your accommodation, food, and similar things.