What's a comfortable salary in Shanghai?




Ervis Micukaj, lives in Shanghai (2013-present)

After 4 years of living in Shanghai, let me share with you some rough estimates for different tiers of salaries in Shanghai:


1.Below 10k RMB

1.You can survive easily

2.Most of the time you use public transportation or shared bikes

3.You need to cut most of the fun and avoid foreign restaurants

4.Get a room or a small apartment far from the center



2. 出行一般搭乘公共交通或骑共享单车

3. 很少娱乐活动,不去外国餐馆吃饭


2.From 10K to 20K RMB

1.You can go to more international areas and get a room or a small mini apartment in the city center

2.You can go out whenever you want

3.You can eat out most of the times, but avoid expensive brunches every Saturday and Sunday



2. 想出去玩就出去玩

3. 可以经常下馆子

3.From 20K to 40K RMB

1.Start planning brunches every weekend

2.You can go out every evening

3.From time to time you can also splurge at a club (attention: it can get tricky)

4.You can rent a good apartment, but limit it normal central areas (i.e. Getting an apartment in XinTianDi may burn all your budget) and 2/3 rooms (unless your company pays for you)





4.From 40K up to 100K RMB

1.Good luck



5.Above 100K RMB

1.How much time are you spending in Shanghai?

2.We do not know each other maybe eheheh




All my points do NOT count purchasing a house and / or a car in Shanghai. The 2 aspects can totally disrupt my points.


译文来源:三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/46956.html    译者:Jessica.Wu


Guillermo Arturo Gastélum, lives in Shanghai

Originally Answered: How much of a salary do you need to live comfortably in Shanghai?

This is going to depend on what “comfortable” means for you. I’ll try to break down a few scenarios and you can make your own conclusions.


10,000 CNY is enough to live in Shanghai; actually, I believe most locals earn less than this. However, you will not be able to live in downtown (assuming you want to spend max 30% of your salary on rent) and you won’t be able to go out as much as you’d like to.


15,000 CNY is an okay salary. You can live in downtown but only in shared apartments. You will be able to go out often but it is not enough to go brunching every single day. With this salary, you can also travel around Asia but not on first class conditions.


20,000 CNY should be enough to get you a small apartment in downtown and enough to go out very often. I still suggest living in a shared apartment with this salary in order to increase your nightlife activity and traveling plans.


30,000 CNY is a very good salary and you can both have a nice apartment for yourself and go brunching every day with your friends. You should be very comfortable with this salary in every aspect.


If you earn more than this, then you will worry that spending 1000 CNY every time you go out doesn’t allow you to save as much as you’d like.


These are okay scenarios if you have no kids. If you want to permanently reside here, which means having a nice house, a car, and have your kids go to an international school, then you might need something like 60,000–100,000 CNY monthly and I don’t even know if that’s enough. Rent cost in Shanghai has increased a lot (and it shows no signs of stopping) and buying a car + Shanghai plates is just outrageously expensive. International schools will leave your balance empty. Consider all of this prior to moving here.



Dimitri Vallette, lives in Shanghai (2014-present)

It really comes down to what you mean by “comfortably”. If by comfortably, you mean being able to live in the downtown area, go to nightclubs twice a month, eat imported food etc… then you may be looking at 14,000–16,000.


When I once arrived in China, my apartment cost 5,000RMB/month, and it was a relatively small one far from downtown area. My current apartment is in downtown area and is ONLY costing me 7,200RMB/month. It’s a hotel-style apartment which suits me perfectly since I’m alone.


If you aren’t interested in living in the downtown area, you don’t fancy nightclubs and high end bars and metro is your preferred transportation method over taxi, you could be able to live in Shanghai with 10,000RMB.

Try to share the costs of your apartment by living with someone else.




Deshawn Peterson, lives in Shanghai

This is an objective and subjective question. All expats and locals come from different background so they will have different needs and requirements. For example a family of three will need a different budget than a single twenty something.


From my experience living in the city, I would recommend the following.


If you are comfortable in living in a shared apartment, and want to maintain a moderate social life, than 15,000 RMB should cover your expenses. Again this is an estimate. Your largest monthly expense will easily be your rent so be picky but not too picky because you get want you pay for.


If you want to live alone, I recommend at least 19,000 RMB monthly net income. If you want to live alone is a pretty okay one bedroom, not studio, you’re looking at a rent between 6–7k RMB.

如果你想一个人住,我建议每月至少有1.9万元的净收入。间不错的一居室,不是工作室,房租在6 - 7千人民币左右

Also, the necessities versus the wants. Do you have student loans or stable expenses outside your daily living situation. Do you want to live in the city center or don’t mind a little commute for the fun?



Michael Hutchens, lives in Shanghai

It of course depends on your idea of comfort and how many people you are bringing along with you.

I'll assume you are young and single and I will keep it simple. Monthly salary in RMB post benefits.

12000 is enough to live, you'll need to have some Chinese proficiency

15000 gets you to better restaurants and drinking better beer

20000 puts you central and able to rent without a roommate

30000 gets you an AYI and you start to take taxis most places

40000 maybe now you can date a Shanghai girl

50000 you stop trying to speak Chinese at this point cos you just don't have to at any of the places you go.










Chiming Yin, lives in Shanghai

Shanghai is a big city, and the comfort is largely depend on where you live,.

If you want to live in some central areas such as Lujiazui, Jinan temple.

I strongly recommend 5000$ or more.

If you just live in some far places from central area,like Songjiang district, 2500$ is enough for a decent life.

The main cost for foreigner living in Shanghai is house rent.

the food and commute cost is not expensive.

try to get used to use wechat pay or alipay, and use Internet to make e-shopping from websites, Taobao, Tmall, JD, and so on.

You definitely need not to go anywhere to buy food, clothes, appliances and others, instead those websites can solve all your requirements. Courier cost is low in China









Zara Zain

The most expensive living item is the rent. Once you have that counted, everything else is pretty reasonable. Here is a general guide, if you spend only 1/3 of your salary for rent, it is likely good enough.

Generally, it really depends a lot on your lifestyle what you spend and therefore what you can save.

Therefore you can use the World Cost of Living Calculator spreadsheet (crowdsourced data) to get a budget your spending based from your own needs. Items include in this calculation are accommodation, transportation, groceries, recreation, apparel and utilities




Ian Mote, lived in Shanghai

Salaries are very wide ranging. In the same office some people earn RMB3k per month, others RMB100k and over

Basically the nearer you are to the lower end, the longer your commute, the smaller your place, the cheaper places you have to eat in.



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