|Cost of living in Shenzhen|
Shenzhen is one of the most expensive cities to live in China, but still relatively cheap compared to most Western major cities.To give you an indication of how much things cost, I collected some prices. I'm sure prices will vary a bit depending on where you buy and which brand you buy, but this should give you a good indication. I rarely eat in Western restaurants and have adopted a Chinese eating pattern. If you enjoy Western restaurants, you obviously will spend more. Living costs are relatively most expensive, house prices came down in 2008, but have risen a lot again and buying a house in a good location in Shenzhen is expensive.
The areas near the border with HongKong (traditionally Futian and Luohu, but now also increasingly Nanshan) are a bit more expensive to live. Living in the center also has other benefits, for example closer to library, more shopping malls, more restaurants etc. Bao'an is currently fast expanding and when the subway finishes in 2011, Bao'an will be more convenient to live as well. Whenever you go to Bao'an (where the airport is) you definitely feel that it's further away from the center: less high buildings, broader roads, less people.
Compared to the Netherlands, Shenzhen is still much cheaper to live. Especially eating in restaurants in much cheaper. House prices had gone up a lot and were approaching Dutch levels, but have since dropped off quite a lot; since the start of 2009 they are rising again. Never trust prices you see advertised online, but come here and look around. Because house prices dropped so much, it's now easy to find a place to rent. Also realize that 100m2 is already quite big in China and it should cost below 5000Y/month. (I sometimes see advertisements targeted at foreigners asking ridiculous prices -be warned and just look around and bargain).
According to Mercer's 2009 survey of living costs Shenzhen is now 22nd on the list of most expensive cities in the world for expats! Mercer's Cost of Living survey covers 143 cities across six continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.
1. Tokyo - Japan
2. Osaka - Japan
3. Moscow - Russia
4. Geneva - Switzerland
5. Hong Kong
8. New York
This is my personal, unscientific, list of daily items. Just use common sense in China and live like a Chinese, then you will see that the cost of living is not so high.
Also take a look at the Chinese supermarkt folder I scanned, this will give you an even better idea of the things you can buy and for what prices.
Just like salaries, the prices for renting an apartment vary hugely. You can go from 1500RMB/month for a cheap community, where normal Chinese people live to extremely luxurious which are twenty times as much ! Also be aware that the English-language classifieds are usually not the cheapest. Best option is just to look around while you are in the city and go to some Chinese real estate companies. Prices have dropped a lot in 2008, but have been rising since the start of 2009 again. Some examples of expensive apartments on offer at ShenzhenParty :
As you can see, 2000 is about the minimum you pay in reasonable locations. You can go lower by looking around in the city. It's easy to spend over 8000RMB/month for big apartments.
The State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs has updated the salary guidelines for a foreign expert or teacher in July 2009. Salaries start at 3,000 to 4,100 yuan per month for bachelor degreed teachers in underdeveloped western areas to as high as 12,000 to 15,000 per month for full professors in first-tier east coastal cities such as Shanghai and Guangzhou. Although these salary guidelines are more realistic than the previous recommendations, they are still lower than what a foreign teacher should expect. For more information, read this excellent overview .
update december 2009:
"My company is considering opening an office in China. I ran across your website while doing a search on living in Shenzhen. I was surprised to read that the cost of living in Shenzhen was so high! Based on your experience, do you think that Shenzhen is a good place for western technical companies to relocate? How do you think westerners fare in Shenzhen? Do they integrate into the culture?"
There is a saying in Chinese:
update January 2010:
Some more questions from a visitor:
Q: Is there income tax?
A: Yes, Every foreigner (and Chinese) needs to pay income tax. I heard that the income tax in Hong Kong is much lower than in Shenzhen; but you can only qualify for HK-tax if you work below a certain percentage of your time in Shenzhen. For more information, see this article about Individual Income Tax (IIT) in China .
Q: How much does a car cost, do you even need on in Shenzhen, I would imagine not.
A: My girlfriend just got her drivers license, but we do not plan to buy a car in the near future. Our company provides free shuttle buses in the morning and evening and in the weekend we just take the bus or subway. You also need to pass a theoretical exam if you want to drive in China, because international drivers licenses are not valid in China. Cars are quite affordable in China and many Chinese buy their first car these years. The result is that traffic jams are becoming more common nowadays.A BYD sedan 2.4liter costs around 110K RMB I believe. That's a Chinese brand I would definitely consider. For 100-200K you have lots of different options. There are also some Chinese cars below 100K (even as low as 50K), but I'm not sure about the quality of those cars.
Q: What would you say is the typical monthly cost for all groceries for a single person who is a vegetarian.
A: It really depends on how you intend to shop. Upscale supermarkets are a bit more expensive and imported fruit and vegetables also cost more. Organic fruit and vegetables are appearing in more-and-more supermarkets and cost often twice as much as normal ones. That being said, vegetables and tofu are cheap. It's really difficult to spend over 50RMB/day on vegetables if you do your own cooking. Very few people are vegetarian in China, so eating in restaurants will be difficult, depending on your flexibility. If you want to go for western food including sandwiches, fresh orange juice, exotic imported fruits, perhaps you can reach a daily amount of 100RMB for food.
Q: The prices on the grocery pages you should seem higher than you were describing, do the numbers equal yuan or some fraction of yuan?
A: there might be some differences, but the prices should be more-or-less the same. Prices are usually in yuan. Almost no product costs below 1RMB nowadays.
Q: Is there sales tax?
A: No idea about this.
A: There are really good houses everywhere, you just need to look a bit around (with the help of a Chinese preferably). If you mean OCT in Nanshan district, that's quite a famous (and good) community. You will perhaps find something in walking distance of your office and otherwise a short taxi-ride away.
Q:What would be the cost of western style gym, like a ymca type place? Would they have spinning classes if you know what that is. Cost of a reasonable bicycle?
A: I don't have experience with gyms, but I wouldn't expect them to be too expensive (except perhaps the very good ones). Bikes in supermarkets often start at a few hundred yuan to good ones a few thousand max. Not a major cost, but be careful when you go cycling! There are few dedicated cycling paths and it can be very dangerous on the big roads!
|Last Updated ( Friday, 19 February 2010 )|
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