Cost of Living in China: A Comprehensive Guide on China’s Expenses

6 minute read
Cost of Living in China: A Complete Guide

China is the world’s most populous country and is located in the East Asian region. It has the second-largest economy, is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, and has undergone rapid modernization and economic reform. The average monthly cost of living in China without rent is around 4,025 CNY, while rent in China ranges from 1,925 CNY to 3,599 CNY per month. The living expenses in China can vary according to a person’s living standards and preferences. 


Many expats around the globe move to study in China and for jobs. If you plan to move to China, ensure you know all your basic living expenses. In this blog post, we will show the cost of living in China with various parameters, including food costs, rent, transportation costs, utilities costs, and many others. So, let’s begin our discussion without any further delay.

Cost of Living in China for International Students

On average, the monthly cost of living in China for a single person, including rent, is 6,500 CNY. This is around 50% lower than the cost of living in the United States. China attracts people worldwide for its unmatched living standards, robust business ecosystem, low taxes and duties, competitive currency practices, and high-quality education system and programs.

Before moving to China, students should know how much money they have to keep with them. Here, we have categorised the average cost of living in China into different categories for the immigrants who wish to move here.

Cost of Rent in China

Approx. 3,600 CNY is the average cost of rent in China for a single person in the city centre area, but it can vary according to the budget and lifestyle a person prefers. The costs of living in China concerning apartment rent are as follows:

Apartment LocationApprox. Monthly Rent
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre3,600 CNY
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre1,925 CNY
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre7,963 CNY
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre4,040 CNY

Also Read: Cost of Living in Helsinki: A Comprehensive Guide on Helsinki’s Expense

Cost of Grocery in China

Approx. 440 CNY is the average monthly cost of groceries in China, including milk, bread, rice, water, vegetables, fruits and other groceries. As a daily expense, grocery costs can impact your cost of living in China. Below is a list of a few grocery items with their prices available in China: 

Grocery ItemApprox. Cost
Milk (regular), (1 litre)14.09 CNY
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)11.73 CNY
Rice (white), (1kg)6.93 CNY
Eggs (regular) (12)12.53 CNY
Apples (1kg)13.21 CNY
Banana (1kg)9.82 CNY
Oranges (1kg)11.41 CNY
Tomato (1kg)8.73 CNY
Potato (1kg)5.64 CNY
Onion (1kg)6.71 CNY
Lettuce (1 head)4.62 CNY
Water (1.5 litre bottle)4.03 CNY
Cheese, Meat, Egg, Drinks and Other items330 CNY

Cost of Utilities in China

Approx. 570 CNY per month for a single person is a basic utility cost in China, which is relatively low from the cost of living in China. Electricity, gas, a monthly mobile plan, and internet data are included in the utility cost in China. For your reference, we have given the Cost of Utilities in China for immigrant students in the country:

Utility TypeApprox. Monthly Cost
Basic Utility for 85m2 Apartment (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage)390 CNY
Internet (60+ Mbps, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)90 CNY
Monthly Plan of Mobile Phone (with Calls & 10GB+ Data)88 CNY

Cost of Transportation in China

Approx. 200 CNY is a monthly transportation cost in China for travelling around a local city. Its public transportation network includes buses, Ttxi/Dddi, metro/subways, bicycles/scooters, trains/high-speed rails, and aeroplanes. The cost of transportation in China comes under the overall cost of living in China. Here, we have given various modes of transportation with their fare costs:

Mode of TransportApprox. Monthly Cost
One-way Ticket(Local Transport)3 CNY
Monthly Pass(Regular Price)200 CNY
Taxi Start(Normal Tariff)10 CNY
Taxi 1km(Normal Tariff)2.50 CNY
Taxi 1 hour Waiting(Normal Tariff)48 CNY
Gasoline (1 litre)8.52 CNY

Average Tuition Cost in China 

The average tuition cost in China is approximately 30,000 CNY /year. More precisely for undergraduate programs is around 30,000 CNY /year, and for postgraduate programs, it is around 40,000 CNY/year. Moreover, the government of China has set up a tuition Scholarship (BGS) to support International students.

Along with the average cost of living in China, the essential thing for expats is the average tuition fees of top universities in China. For your reference, in the table, we have given the average tuition fees for some top universities in China.

UniversitiesPrograms CategoryApprox. Tuition Cost (per year)
Tsinghua UniversityBachelor30,000 CNY
Masters35,000 CNY
Peking UniversityBachelor30,000 CNY
Masters40,000 CNY
PhD40,000 CNY
Shanghai Jiao Tong UniversityBachelor25,000 CNY
Masters29,000 CNY
PhD45,500 CNY
Zhejiang UniversityBachelor20,000 to 200,000 CNY
Masters23,000 to 211,000 CNY
PhD30,000 to 43,000 CNY
China Institute of TechnologyBachelor30,000 CNY
Masters35,000 CNY
PhD44,000 CNY
China Normal UniversityBachelor25,000 CNY
Masters30,000 CNY
PhD35,000 CNY

Also Read: Cost of Living in Georgia: A Comprehensive Guide on Georgia’s Expense

Things to Consider Before Moving to China

China offers a fresh, enriching lifestyle, excellent Chinese culture, and world-famous cuisine. Before finalising the cost of living in China’s budget, a student should consider a few other essential things while moving to China for higher education. For your reference, we have included some essential things you should consider before moving to China:  

Safety in China for Visitors

Crime against tourists is infrequent in China, and tourism is becoming a big industry in the country. The country is eager to attract more visitors. While it is very safe to travel in China, getting health insurance is still advisable if any medical issues arise during your time there.

Food in China 

Chinese food is different, and various options are available here, with slightly different tastes. You can get unique dishes, local tea and local specialities throughout the country. The cost of food will only affect the cost of living in China a little.

Free 144 Hours Visa in China

Before planning the cost of living in China, if you want to explore the city to gauge the cost of living, China has an excellent 144-hour free visa transit policy. This means anyone can visit China or any city in China on a Visa, provided people come from 54 eligible countries.

Healthcare in China

China’s healthcare system is also among the most efficient and ranked among the top in the world. The country provides free basic healthcare to its public under its social insurance plan, which sometimes also covers most expats depending on their region. The negligible expenses do not affect the cost of living in China. 

Work Opportunities in China

China is the centre of trade and commerce in the country of China. It is a busy place for jobs and has big Chinese tech companies like Lenovo, Intel, AMD, Google, and Microsoft. Moreover, it also has the China Economic-Technological Development Area (BDA) and there are plenty of job opportunities in textiles, tourism, metallurgy, appliances, and manufacturing industries.

Relevant Reads:

Cost of Living in Arizona: A Guide on Expected ExpensesCost of Living in Wales: A Comprehensive Guide on Wales’s Expense
Cost of Living in Rotterdam: A Guide on Expected ExpensesCost of Living in Perth: A Comprehensive Guide
Cost of Living in Brussels: A Guide on Expected ExpensesCost of Living in Scotland: A Guide on Expected Expenses


Q1. What is the Cost of Living in China?

Answer: The monthly average cost of living in China, including rent, is 6,500 CNY, but living expenses can vary according to the location and standard of lifestyle a person selects.

Q.2 Is it expensive to live in China?

Answer: The estimated monthly costs for a single person without rent are 4,025 NCY. The cost of living in China is around 50% lower than in the United States.

Q.3 What is a good salary in China?

Answer: The monthly average salary in China ranges from 7,410 CNY to 131,000 CNY. It is much more than the average cost of living in China, meaning you can enjoy a leisurely life in China and send extra money home.

Q.4 How much is rent in China?

Answer: The monthly cost of rent in China for a single person is around 3,600 CNY. Rent costs can vary according to the location a person selects, which makes the cost of living in China affordable.

So, this was all about the cost of living in China. Many Indian students dream of pursuing education in foreign nations due to the exposure and career growth they offer. Consider joining a free counselling session with Leverage Edu if you plan to study abroad.

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