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Living in China: Cost of Living, Healthcare and What to Know About Living in China | Expat Exchange
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Beibu Gulf Square in Beihai, China

Living in China

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Mar 07, 2024

Summary: People describe life in China as vibrant, exciting, and full of opportunity. Expats love the culture, the food, the people, and the convenience of living in a large, modern city. The average cost of living for an expat is around $1,000 to $2,000 per month, depending on the city and lifestyle. The population of China is approximately 1.4 billion people, and the largest cities in China are Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Tianjin. The cons of living in China include air pollution, language barriers, and cultural differences. Additionally, the cost of living can be high in some cities, and the healthcare system is not as advanced as in other countries.

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What do I need to know about living in China?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to China, they said:

"Lousy weather - cold, windy winters and very polluted. Hot sticky summers. Little to do aside from eating out and shopping malls. However, there is an airport close by and a train station - and Beijing is 2 hours away," said one expat in Tianjin.

"The people are fantastic when they aren't spitting and crowding onto elevators before letting you get off of one. The opportunities for travel and shopping are incredible. And it's about as exotic a place as there is. But it's lonely at times. And other than shopping and getting out of town, there's little else to do," said one expat who made the move to Tianjin.

"Before retiring in China, expats should ensure that they understand applicable visa requirements for long-term residency and have the correct documents in order. It is also important to learn about the language and culture of the country as well as insurance for health and other risks, and the availability of bank accounts and international investments. Additionally, expats should research the local cost of living to determine what expenses are involved in living in China. Furthermore, expats must also be aware of any tax liabilities associated with retiring in the country," explained one expat living in China.

"Make friends with the locals. Visit Xiangfan Museum. Make sure your cab driver uses the meter. If you are large sized like me make sure you have enough shoes and clothing as it's very hard to find otherwise. I wear a size 48 here (which is size 13 US ) and most shoes here stop at size 44. I needed some new shirts and had to have them specially made which is very expensive in Chinese RMB. Some of the Restuarants have picture menus so if you don't speak/read Chinese you can point to what you want. I recommend learning at least some Chinese before coming here, as it will be extremely helpful," mentioned one in Xiangfan.

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SJB-Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model. Our clients benefit from their country’s most favorable tax environment by utilizing the efficient investment vehicles we offer. Our commitment to quality service is reflected in our stellar reviews, with over 300 testimonials boasting 95% five-star ratings.
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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Beibu Gulf Square in Beihai, China

SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
Learn More

SJB GlobalSJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
Learn More

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