International Cost of Living Calculators

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China, All Areas

China, All Areas

Cost of living in China, prices and what it is like to live for an Expat, quality of life / hardship, and compare cost of living for Expatriates as at July 2023.

What is it like to live in China?

Climate: The climate is extremely diverse, ranging from tropical in the south to subarctic in the north.

Language: The official language is Mandarin, known locally as Putonghua. It is spoken in business circles even in southern China, where Cantonese is the vernacular. Chinese business people are increasingly learning to speak English, but in many cases, an interpreter is required. English is not widely spoken outside business circles.

Religion: Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Taoism.

Economy: The economy of the People's Republic of China is a rapidly developing and influential market economy. China is the one of the worlds largest economies. China has had the fastest-growing major economy for the past 30 years with an average annual GDP growth rate above 10%. China's per capita income has likewise grown at an average annual rate of more than 8% over the last three decades drastically reducing poverty.

Inflation: -0.3% for China as at July 2023.

Money: The currency of China is the Chinese Yuan Renminbi (CNY). China is generally a cash economy. Outside of the major cities, credit cards acceptance and ATMs are fairly limited.

Tax: In China is based on the current personal income tax rates which are progressive up to 45%.

Population: 1.4 Billion (2022 est.)

Expat Life: Business introductions are usually formal. Chinese surnames form the first part of the name. For example, Zhang Wei is Mr Zhang. Expatriate dress code is conservative. Men typically wear a suit and tie, while women wear a dress or a skirt and blouse. The safety risk for expatriates in China is low overall, but medium in some parts such as in Guangdong province and the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Risks are mainly petty crime such as tourist scams and business corruption.

Health Care: Health care facilities are generally good in the major cities, however some hospitals can be over crowded with long waiting times. In some rural areas the standard of healthcare can be relatively poor. Healthcare is expensive for expatriates. Health care evacuation from China is very expensive. Certain medicines may not be available in China and may be prohibited from being brought into the country. Air pollution can be extreme in some areas and may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions.

China covers all areas within the country other than Beijing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin, and Wuhan.

Cost Of Living

What is the cost of living in China?

The cost of living for expatriates in China as at July 2023 is average in comparison to other places in the world, with an overall Cost of Living Index (COLI), for all 13 basket groups, of 70.92 (New York =100). We have collected prices for the same items, world wide, based on Expat spending norms, in or closest to the location, and converted them to $USD so that we can compare the cost of 13 different baskets in 780 global locations. For each basket, compared to New York, the equivalent cost in China is as follows:

1) Alcohol and/or Tobacco: Cost is low for items such as beer, spirits, wine and tobacco related products such as cigarettes. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$570. Average price in a store for a midrange bottle of wine is USD$15.51, domestic/local beer (500ml) USD$1.46, imported/international beer (330ml) USD$2.42 and a pack of 20 cigarettes is USD$4.56.

2) Clothing: Cost is average for items such as business, casual and children's clothing and footwear. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$830. Average price for an international brand of mens jeans is USD$56, a quality international brand of running shoes USD$80, mens leather shoes suitable for office wear USD$86 while a medium size international summer dress from a global chain store is USD$34.

3) Communication: Cost is low for various communication costs such as home telephone rental, internet subscription, mobile service provider tariff and data costs. A basket costing USD$200 in New York costs USD$122. Average price for a monthly standard plan internet subscription is USD$13, while the benchmark mobile tariff is USD$17.96 per minute.

4) Education: Cost is very high for items such as creche / pre-school fees, primary school fees, high school fees and tertiary study fees. A basket costing USD$30,000 in New York costs USD$31500. Average annual private international school fee (excluding extras) USD$20,452 for Primary School, and USD$22,760 for High School.

5) Furniture & Appliances: Cost is low for items such as dining table and chairs, home entertainment, kitchen appliances, and sofas. A basket costing USD$2,500 in New York costs USD$1575. Average price for a 6kg front loader Washing Machine is USD$623, and USD$535 for a 46+'' LED UHD TV.

6) Groceries: Cost is average for items such as consumables, cleaning products, dairy, fresh fruit & vegetables, general food products, snacks, soft drinks. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$690. Average grocery prices in a major international retail store for 1 kg apples is USD$1.11, 1 kg oranges USD$0.99, 1 head lettuce USD$0.87, 1 kg potatos USD$0.48, 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breast USD$2.29, 1 kg cheddar cheese USD$7.49, 1 dozen large eggs USD$2.39, 500g loaf white bread USD$2.04, 1 L full cream milk USD$9.80, and 1.5 L water USD$0.75.

7) Healthcare: Cost is average for general heath care, doctor visits, hospital stays, non-prescription medicine, and medical insurance. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$710. Average healthcare cost for a private practice Doctor visit for an uninsured patient is USD$57, and a private hospital stay per day including nursing care, medications, diagnostic tests, food, and related costs is USD$1,765.

8) Household Accommodation: Cost is high for items such as apartment rent, house rent, property purchase, mortgage rate, and utilities. A basket costing USD$5,000 in New York costs USD$3150. Average expatriate house / apartment rent for a secure upmarket unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) is USD$4,195 in a central location, and USD$2,302 in a suburban location, per month, excluding utilities.

9) Miscellaneous: Cost is average for items such as dry cleaning, linen, magazines, newspapers, office supplies, and postage stamps. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$345. Average price for dry cleaning (1 mens 2 pc suit) is USD$6.68, while an international newspaper is USD$2.06.

10) Personal Care: Cost is high for items such as cosmetics, hair care, and toiletries. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$440. Average cost for a mens haircut and blow dry is USD$35, while a womens hair colour, cut and blow dry - medium length is USD$176.

11) Recreation & Culture: Cost is average for items such as books, cinema, sport and theatre tickets. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$330. Average price for a latest release international cinema ticket (average of on and off peak where applicable) for one adult is USD$9.13, and an international fitness, recreation or sports club membership cost for one adult is USD$53 per month.

12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: Cost is low for items such as hotel daily room rates, meals and beverages in a restaurant, and take away food and beverages. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$410. Average cappuccino price (regular, medium) is USD$4.64, coke/pepsi (330ml) USD$0.61, burger meal (international franchise or similar) USD$6.93, and a mid-range international restaurant meal for 2 USD$36.49.

13) Transport: Cost is average for items such as fuel (petrol/gasoline), car hire, public transport, vehicle purchase and maintenance. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$820. Average average price over the last year for highest available octane petrol / gasoline (1L) is USD$4.51, while the benchmark car sedan purchase price including taxes/duties for a compact / small / economy vehicle (1.4 L) is USD$21,049.

How does the cost of living in China compare?

China is -13.4% cheaper than USA for groceries, 7.4% more expensive for household costs than UK, and 59.2% more expensive for transport costs than India.

What is the quality of life / hardship in China?

China is ranked as a high degree of hardship location.The hardship premium for China for an expat from Australia, is for example 20%, i.e. host location (China) premium of 30% minus home (Australia) location premium of 10%.

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