Expat Exchange
Free MembershipSign In
Beibu Gulf Square in Beihai, China

Cost of Living in China

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: What is the cost of living in China? Hear what expats, digital nomads and retirees living in China have to say about the cost of housing, health insurance and general living costs.

AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers

Is the cost of living in China high?

We asked people how much they someone comfortably live on in China, they wrote:

"It does not take much but unless you marry a Chinese citizen you can only stay here for one year and then you have to leave and get a new visa. In order to get a new visa you have to go back to you home country. And, there is no guarantee China will give you a new visa. No reason they won't either," remarked another expat in Nanning, Guangxi Provence.

"In Xi'An $1,600 a month easy including rent, $500 2brm, 2 ba apt. Hans (Think Heineken flavor) qt. size beer here .35 made by Ting Tao. We have eaten multi-course meals here for 4 people for under $30 with beer or Chinese vodka incl. at nice restaurants. Be aware that prices change dramatically for foreigners. I've gotten in the habit of staying out of sight while my wife shops at little kiosks (they're everywhere). Major dept stores are better, prices are marked. Carry a calculator to do exchange rate bec. no matter how smart you are, one slip or momentary lapse can cost you $. Shop around as prices from one street vendor to another may vary dramatically. And even though it may seem like a good deal by American standard prices, just shop around a lil bit first. And one imp. thing, walking away from a vendor does not mean that they will call after you and lower the price as in some other countries. It does not mean the first price they gave you is the lowest and a good price. That being said, we had someone call after us and lower the pricetowhat we thoguht was a good price only to find the same item later at less than half that price. hence, know your prices," explained one expat living in Xi'an.

Answer this Question

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Will I save money living in China?

"A little more expensive day to day than what I expected, but my wife is "retired" she is 50 and her daughter lives with us so I am spending for 3 instead of one. On the other hand I now live in her apartment which she owns so there is no rent to pay. However her apartment is only about 600 sq ft, 2 bedrooms with a small quest room which we use for our computers, my file cabinet, bookcases and two wardrobes. I am thinking of renting a 30 to 40 sq meter apartment to use as a work area," said another expat in Nanning, Guangxi Provence.

"Even though prices have risen dramatically here according to my wife's family, they are still very cheap by American standards, the exceptions being housing (buying) and clothing. No sales tax. No income tax. No tipping-although when not embarrassing to family, I do tip our waiters," added another person living in Xi'an.

Answer this Question

What is the average cost of housing in China?

If you are thinking about moving to China, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"Higher with less quality BUT the wages are much, much higher than the same job back home. One bedroom apartments can range from 5-14, 000 rmb per month, depending on location, type of building, furnishings, etc," said another person in Shanghai.

"Housing in Beijing is expensive. I would estimate that most expats are spending at least $1,000 USD a month on their housing. The further from the city center, the cheaper. Roommates are also an option to cut costs," remarked another expat in Beijing .

Answer Question & View More Answers

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

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

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Contribute to China Network Contribute
Help others in China by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in China.

AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers

Copyright 1997-2022 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal