Cost of Living in Shanghai, China

No matter if it is its delicious cuisine, culture, history or the inexpensive cost of living that attracts you to relocate to China your interest is understandable as this country is turning into an amazing destination wanted by both younger and older generations.

As one of the largest cities there, Shanghai is considered the most expensive, but at the same time, the most wanted city in China.

Everyone is amazed by its beauties and want to experience them regardless of the expensiveness.



Compared to the restaurants in smaller cities, Shanghai has much more expensive food prices.

Upscale restaurants would be even more expensive in Shanghai offering quality food at enormous prices.

Alcoholic drink in most bars and restaurants are affordable, unlike in Canada where they are extremely pricey.



Even though it is not cheap, the good thing about food is that it can be found easily at the supermarkets, but bear in mind that the imported produce is more expensive.

Buying groceries from local vendors is often half the price of the same product in the stores.



Transportation in Shanghai is a bargain, and due to the fact that cities are so densely populated, it is advisable not to commute by car, but take advantage of efficient and fast public transport system.

Getting around by bike, motorbike or walking would be considered a good idea once you get familiar with this huge city.



It is known that the costs in China are typically quite low, especially when you take into consideration the tariffs of utilities.

Even though it is a huge city, very populous and developed, the services here are inexpensive and very affordable which make living conditions better.

Sports and leisure


Costs have a significant range depending on whether you decide to spend leisure time in the gym or do some activities outside, so the amount of money spent on sports will vary.

The prices are higher than in the rest of the country, but not as expensive as in some countries around the world.

Clothing and shoes


Just as the reasonably priced food can be found in Shanghai local markets, the same situation is with clothes.

Savvy shoppers who do not mind wearing clothes that is not branded would find apparel items that are very affordable.

Branded clothing, on the other hand, is quite expensive here.

Rent per month


One of the biggest financial expenses in Shanghai that you will struggle with after you move is the rent.

It is very expensive, especially in the city center and for those who earn the average salary, it would take it almost all for a one bedroom apartment.

Cost of Living Averages Table for Shanghai

Average Restaurant Prices
Meal (Inexpensive Restaurant) $5.22
Domestic Beer (0.5 Liter) $1.49
Water (0.33 Liter) $0.38
Average Market Prices
Milk (1 Liter) $9.48
Loaf Bread (500g) $2.05
Eggs (12) $2.49
Average Transport Prices
One Way Ticket $0.60
Monthly Pass $29.81
Gasoline $4.04
Average Utilities Prices
Basic (Water, Electricity, Garbage, Heating, Cooling) $57.32
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local $0.03
Internet (Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) $17.70
Average Leisure Prices
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult $45.14
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour) $10.43
Cinema, 1 Seat, International Release $8.94
Average Clothing Prices
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Comparable) $79.05
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, etc...) $34.80
1 Pair of Adidas Walking Shoes (Mid-Range) $92.47
Average Rent Prices
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center $983.76
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center $504.82
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center $2327.72

How Does the Average Person Spend Their Money in Shanghai?

No matter where you live, rent is the greatest trouble for your budget, and Shanghai is no exception.

More than the third of the monthly income goes for it, while the other third is given for food.

All the other expenses make the third third, and the spendings are equally divided, according to their significance for daily living.

Transportation and eating out are the most important, so 9% is spent on that, while clothing and utilities are at the last place on this scale.

Utilities (Monthly)
Sports & Leisure
Clothing & Shoes
Rent Per Month

Shanghai: Average Salary, Minimum Wage & Mortgages

By earning above the average salary in Shanghai, you will be able to lead a pretty high quality of life.

Compared to the affordable cost of living, it is estimated that the average income would function well, but only if you possess your house and do not have to pay the rent.

Otherwise, you will need to be making more money to pay for all the other expenses which are not so low.

The minimum salary cannot cover the basic living costs in Shanghai.

Average Salary$1259.56
Minimum Wage$224.7
Mortgage Interest Rate5.07%

Cost of Living by City in China

*Click the name of the city for more information.

City Cost of Living Index
Beijing 43.88
Chengdu 36.16
Guangzhou 40.29
Shanghai 50.41
Shenzhen 42.21
Suzhou 37.95

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