Cost of Living in Shanghai: A  Guide on Shanghai’s Expenses

6 minute read

On China’s central coast, an amazing city lies called Shanghai. It is China’s biggest city and a global financial hub. If you are considering Shanghai for higher studies and a job, it is best thought of because the average monthly cost of living in Shanghai for an individual without rent is around 4,838 CNY, while rent in Shanghai ranges from 3,785 CNY to 7,280 CNY per month. The living expenses in Shanghai can vary according to a person’s living standards and preferences. 


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

Cost of Living in Shanghai Overview

On average, the monthly cost of living in Shanghai for a single person, including rent, is 9,850 CNY. According to numbeo, the cost of living in Shanghai is 61.4% less costly than the cost of living in New York without rent. Shanghai attracts people worldwide for its unmatched living standards, amazing business ecosystem, low taxes on purchasing, salary and duties, competitive currency practices, and high-quality education system and programs.

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

Cost of Rent in Shanghai

In the city centre area of Shanghai, approx. 7,280 CNY is the average cost of rent there for a single person, but housing rent can vary according to the budget and lifestyle a person prefers. Renting an apartment is a major part of the cost of living in Shanghai. Get an approx idea about apartment rent in Shanghai as follows:

Apartment LocationApprox. Monthly Rent
1 bedroom Apartment in City Centre7,280 CNY
3 bedrooms Apartment in City Centre20,684 CNY
1 bedroom Apartment, Outside of Centre3,785 CNY
3 bedrooms Apartment, Outside of Centre9,906 CNY

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

Cost of Grocery in Shanghai

Approx. 514 CNY is the average monthly cost of groceries in Shanghai, including milk, bread, rice, water, vegetables, fruits, and other groceries. In contrast, each grocery item is considered at a single unit measurement. Generally, Shanghai is considered one of the more expensive cities in China in terms of living expenses, including groceries. Here’s an overview of the cost of groceries in Shanghai:

Grocery ItemApprox. Cost
Milk (regular), (1 liter)17.31 CNY
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)14.12 CNY
Rice (white), (1kg)7.74 CNY
Eggs (regular) (12)13.02 CNY
Apples (1kg)16.17 CNY
Banana (1kg)11.89 CNY
Oranges (1kg)14.30 CNY
Tomato (1kg)10.95 CNY
Potato (1kg)6.82 CNY
Onion (1kg)7.74 CNY
Lettuce (1 head)6.48 CNY
Water (1.5 litre bottle)4.13 CNY
Cheese, Meat, Egg, Drinks and Other items380 CNY

Cost of Utilities in Shanghai

A basic utility cost in Shanghai is approx. 440 CNY per month for a single person, which is relatively low from the cost of living in Shanghai. Electricity, gas, a monthly mobile plan, and internet data are included in the utility of Shanghai. For your reference, we have given the Cost of Utilities in Shanghai for immigrant students in the city:

Utility TypeApprox. Monthly Cost
Basic Utility for 85m2 Apartment (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage)440 CNY
Internet (60+ Mbps Data, Cable/ADSL)94 CNY
Monthly Plan of Mobile Phone (with Calls & 10GB+ Data)136 CNY

Cost of Transportation in Shanghai

The best method to get to Shanghai is by using public transport like taxis, buses, trains, bikes, etc. Approx. 250 CNY is a monthly transportation cost in Shanghai for travelling around a local city. The cost of transportation in Shanghai comes under the overall cost of living in Shanghai. Here, we have given various modes of transportation with their fare costs:

Mode of TransportApprox. Monthly Cost
One-way Ticket in Local Transport4 CNY
Taxi Fare for 1km at Normal Tariff3 CNY
Taxi 1 hour Waiting at Normal Tariff60 CNY
Regular Price for Monthly Pass250 CNY
1 litre Gasoline8.48 CNY

Average Tuition Cost in Shanghai 

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

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

Universities Approx. Tuition Cost (per year)
New York University Shanghai455000 CNY
Shanghai University30,000 CNY
Shanghai Jiao Tong University29,000 CNY
Shanghai Institute of Technology35,000 CNY
Shanghai Normal University30,000 CNY

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

Things to Consider Before Moving to Shanghai

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

Shanghai for Visitors

Crime against tourists is infrequent in Shanghai, and tourism is becoming a big industry in the City. The city attracts more visitors around the world, while it is very safe to travel in Shanghai, getting health insurance is still advisable if any medical issues arise during your time there.

Food in Shanghai 

Chinese food is different, and various options are available here, with amazing tastes. You can get unique dishes, local tea and local specialities throughout the city and country. The cost of food will not affect individual’s the cost of living in Shanghai.

Free 144 Hours Visa in Shanghai

Before planning the cost of living in Shanghai, if you want to explore the city to gauge the cost of living, Shanghai has an excellent 144-hour free visa transit policy. This means anyone can visit Shanghai on a free Visa and it is valid in 54 countries.

Healthcare in Shanghai

Shanghai’s healthcare system is also among the most efficient and top-notch among various cities and countries. It 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 Shanghai. 

Work Opportunities in Shanghai

 In China, Shanghai is the centre of trade and commerce.  It is a busy place for jobs and has big Chinese tech companies. The basic salary in Shanghai is around CYN 10,702.27 after taxes.

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Cost of Living in Rotterdam: A Guide on Expected ExpensesCost of Living in Perth: A Comprehensive Guide
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Q1. What is the Cost of Living in Shanghai?

Answer: The monthly average cost of living in Shanghai, including rent, is 9,850 CNY, but living expenses can vary according to the location and standard of lifestyle an individual prefers.

Q.2. Is it expensive to live in Shanghai?

Answer: The estimated monthly costs for a single person without rent are 4,025 NCY. The cost of living in Shanghai is 61.4% less costly than the cost of living in New York, which makes it affordable then other cities and countries.

Q3. What is a good salary in Shanghai?

Answer: The monthly average salary in Shanghai ranges from CNY 10,702.27. This is much more than the average cost of living in Shanghai, which means you can live a leisurely life and save extra money.

Q.4. How much is rent in Shanghai?

Answer: The monthly cost of rent in Shanghai for a single person is around CNY 5,000 and it can vary according to the location an individual selects, which makes the cost of living in Shanghai affordable.

So, this was all about the cost of living in Shanghai. 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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