Allo' Expat Shanghai - Connecting Expats in Shanghai
Main Homepage
Allo' Expat Shanghai Logo

Subscribe to Allo' Expat Newsletter

  Shanghai Expat Tips Menu
Shanghai Driving License
Shanghai Immigration Information
Shanghai Legislation
Expat Articles
Buying Vehicle in Beijing
Cost of Living in Beijing
Shanghai Festivals & Anuual Events
Place to Live in Shanghai
Scams in Shanghai
Taxi & Bus Services in Shanghai
Shanghai Utilities
  Sponsored Links

Check our Rates

Cost of Living in Shanghai

The expatriate standard of living in Shanghai is high. According to the 2012 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, the cost of living in Shanghai is the second highest in China; the city was rated the 16th most expensive of the 214 polled. But, while rents can be expensive, your food and utilities bills should be greatly reduced. Prices can vary, but generally speaking fruit, vegetables, meat and fish will be a fraction of the cost you are used to paying. The high cost of items like imported diapers and breakfast cereals can be a little bit hard to bear, the latter can be as much as $8 a packet.

The great thing about buying groceries in Shanghai is that you can find just about anything at foreign supermarkets like City Shop. Imported produce is slightly more expensive than back home. Generally speaking, budget ¥250-300 (roughly $37-45) per person each week plus the cost of dining out to fully cover your meal needs. A basket of vegetables from a local vendor might cost around ¥18 RMB ($2-3) per person each week. It would cost at least double that from a supermarket, but it would be ‘organic’.

Chinese-style restaurants would usually cost around ¥40 ($6) per person plus the cost of a beverage (however, meals often include tea). Restaurants serving foreign food typically cost around ¥100 ($15) per person and up (drink costs excluded). Occasionally, at more upscale restaurants they will apply a service charge to your bill. Waiters do not receive tips in Shanghai. But of course you can ‘rough it’ like many locals and foreign students do by eating at a small ‘mian guan’ or a ‘tan’ for dinner for ¥10-20 ($1.50-2.50).

An alcoholic beverage in most bars and restaurants costs roughly ¥60 ($8). If you choose a more up-scale venue for drinks, prices will become more expensive. Although the cost of alcohol may seem daunting, frequent promotions and "Happy Hours" run rampant in Shanghai, allowing everyone a chance to have some fun. For those particularly money conscious, you can purchase local beer, wine and the notorious ‘bai jiu’ (tastes something like vodka and rubbing alcohol) at any convenient store at a much more affordable rate. Domestic wine labels can be purchased for as little as ¥35 RMB ($5) and a domestic bottle of beer for a price of ¥3.50 (50¢).

House rentals and the majority of Western-style apartment rentals are focused on expatriates, as there is still quite a divergence between the living standards of the majority of the local population and the expatriate. Shanghai's growing middle class is beginning to invest in real estate, however, mostly private condominiums, and a recent easing of restrictions now allows expatriates to buy property. Many, have jumped at the opportunity to buy, seeing Shanghai as the next Hong Kong or New York.

Many expatriate packages include a car and driver, but for those that do not, public transport is inexpensive and efficient. The bus system may be daunting for those still unfamiliar with Chinese, but the subway, with names of destinations clearly indicated in Romanised letters, is easy to navigate. Most expatriates favour taxis, though, as these are extremely inexpensive and usually easily available. Although, as local incomes rise, and locals take more taxis, they are getting harder to come by. When taking taxis, non-Chinese speakers should make sure destinations are written out in Chinese characters.

See more information on the next page... (next)




copyrights ©
2015 | Policy