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  • Sep 6th, 2007 1:24 pm
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[OP]
Newbie
Sep 4, 2007
9 posts

Living in China

Does anyone know how much it would cost to live in China (Beijing)for a year? I'm not talking about working there or teaching or anything... just straight up living expenses, groceries, apt's, etc.

Thanks,

Dan
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8 replies
Sr. Member
Jan 15, 2007
637 posts
its like living in Toronto, some things to consider:

- where would you like to live? (city center vs. suburbs)
- what food do you eat? (western food vs. Chinese)
- how will you get around? (car vs. public)
- how much do you spend on entertainment? (cable tv vs. over the air)

Think about it this way: You can get by barely spending US$100/wk if you eat like the locals, but you want to live like you're in Toronto, it can get costly.
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 4, 2007
9 posts
sweet.. thanks for the reply...

i'm looking to live as much like a chinese person as possible, but with a few luxuries (some american food, more on entertainment, etc.)

how much would it cost to rent an apt. in downtown beijing?

Dan
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Jul 18, 2003
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Housing costs vary as it does here. If you live in the middle of the city and close to all amenities (ie. inside ring 5), the rent will be higher. But if you live in the suburbs, rent is cheaper. There's no way to predict how much housing will cost. But if you must have an estimate, figure about $1000 - $2000RMB for a typical apartment (small compared to here but typical there) for a month ($150 - $300Cdn)

That said, many homes in the centre of BJ (courtyard houses in the hutongs) are heavily subsidized by the government (left over from the socialist days). As such, if you have connections, you can rent 1 bedroom for as little as $200RMB a month (appx $30 Cdn). Some companies also have employee residences that are very cheap.

Food wise, there's no comparison if you eat what the locals eat. It's very very cheap. $20RMB (< $3) will buy you a good meal. 3 course dinner (enough for 2 - 3 ppl) is about $70 - $80 RMB ($10 - $11 and THERE IS NO TIPPING). The same goes for transportation. The buses, subways, trains etc. are all very utilitarian and cheap. Some charge by the distance you travel and a fraction of the cost of public transportation here. Bus fare is usually about $2 - $3 RMB (< $0.50).

If you live like the locals do, you can live comfortably for appx $500 Cdn a month ($3500RMB). Of course, that's not including entertainment. The number varies a lot depending on your standards.
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Also, assume that you will need to eat Western food at least once a week. When I lived there, every non-resident ended up with a case of 'Beijing Belly' simply because their system wasn't used to the different level of bacteria and such that's in the local food. I ended up going to the markets near the embassy where you can get most western food and making sure I had my kitchen stocked for when I was feeling ill. And that's just things like Peanut Butter and Chicken Noodle Soup.
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eelfliw wrote:
Sep 5th, 2007 1:14 pm
Housing costs vary as it does here. If you live in the middle of the city and close to all amenities (ie. inside ring 5), the rent will be higher. But if you live in the suburbs, rent is cheaper. There's no way to predict how much housing will cost. But if you must have an estimate, figure about $1000 - $2000RMB for a typical apartment (small compared to here but typical there) for a month ($150 - $300Cdn)

That said, many homes in the centre of BJ (courtyard houses in the hutongs) are heavily subsidized by the government (left over from the socialist days). As such, if you have connections, you can rent 1 bedroom for as little as $200RMB a month (appx $30 Cdn). Some companies also have employee residences that are very cheap.

Food wise, there's no comparison if you eat what the locals eat. It's very very cheap. $20RMB (< $3) will buy you a good meal. 3 course dinner (enough for 2 - 3 ppl) is about $70 - $80 RMB ($10 - $11 and THERE IS NO TIPPING). The same goes for transportation. The buses, subways, trains etc. are all very utilitarian and cheap. Some charge by the distance you travel and a fraction of the cost of public transportation here. Bus fare is usually about $2 - $3 RMB (< $0.50).

If you live like the locals do, you can live comfortably for appx $500 Cdn a month ($3500RMB). Of course, that's not including entertainment. The number varies a lot depending on your standards.


Remember, a lot of the Hutongs and small apartment areas have been removed by the government in preparation for the Olympics. It's not as cheap as it was a few years ago, nor as easy to find.
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Dec 25, 2006
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eelfliw wrote:
Sep 5th, 2007 1:14 pm
Housing costs vary as it does here. If you live in the middle of the city and close to all amenities (ie. inside ring 5), the rent will be higher. But if you live in the suburbs, rent is cheaper. There's no way to predict how much housing will cost. But if you must have an estimate, figure about $1000 - $2000RMB for a typical apartment (small compared to here but typical there) for a month ($150 - $300Cdn)

That said, many homes in the centre of BJ (courtyard houses in the hutongs) are heavily subsidized by the government (left over from the socialist days). As such, if you have connections, you can rent 1 bedroom for as little as $200RMB a month (appx $30 Cdn). Some companies also have employee residences that are very cheap.

Food wise, there's no comparison if you eat what the locals eat. It's very very cheap. $20RMB (< $3) will buy you a good meal. 3 course dinner (enough for 2 - 3 ppl) is about $70 - $80 RMB ($10 - $11 and THERE IS NO TIPPING). The same goes for transportation. The buses, subways, trains etc. are all very utilitarian and cheap. Some charge by the distance you travel and a fraction of the cost of public transportation here. Bus fare is usually about $2 - $3 RMB (< $0.50).

If you live like the locals do, you can live comfortably for appx $500 Cdn a month ($3500RMB). Of course, that's not including entertainment. The number varies a lot depending on your standards.

I am sorry but a lot of info is wrong.

1 CDN=7 RMB
rent: 1000-2000 rmb for ONE ROOM in an apartment inside 4th ring (meaning shared), an apartment with one bedroom costs 3000-4000 RMB. 2 bed room costs 5000 RMB to 7000 RMB a month, depending on location. and this is just commie blocks, not condo apartments.
Courtyard cost more, some courtyard in downtown beijing sell for millions if not tens of millions due to location, I doubt the rent will be cheap, I think you are talking about hutongs outside Beijing, well put it this way I wouldn't want to live there.

food: if you eat out it is comparable to Toronto, there is no tipping or tax so it is a little bit cheaper, generally for one person in at an mid end restaurant it is 50 RMB to 80 RMB for a meal, if you want to eat dirt cheap you can get it for under 20 RMB, high end restaurant can cost more than 200 RMB per person, or even more.
if you buy groceries it also depends on where you buy, if you go to supermarket again it is comparable to price here, but there are some outdoor market where they sell it for cheaper, I don't recommend it though, stick with the supermarket.

transportation: subway 3RMB, 5RMB for transfer ticket. Buses 0.4 RMB with Yikatong card, otherwise 1 RMB.
taxi: base price 10 RMB, 2RMB per kilometre after that.

entertainment: movies usually cost 60 RMB, for clubs it is usually 60 RMB admission for guys 20 RMB for girls, alcohol costs the same if not more in China. for museums and parks etc there is admission ticket, it is neglible if you are Chinese but I think they charge more if you are foreigner, but it is still acceptable. I mean you are not going there every day.

shopping: if you go to department stores then again it is comparable to price in Toronto. For luxury brands it is even more expensive due to tax. but there are some famous shopping areas where they sell fake brands and you can also bargain.
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march9 wrote:
Sep 5th, 2007 1:39 pm
I am sorry but a lot of info is wrong.

1 CDN=7 RMB
rent: 1000-2000 rmb for ONE ROOM in an apartment inside 4th ring (meaning shared), an apartment with one bedroom costs 3000-4000 RMB. 2 bed room costs 5000 RMB to 7000 RMB a month, depending on location. and this is just commie blocks, not condo apartments.
Courtyard cost more, some courtyard in downtown beijing sell for millions if not tens of millions due to location, I doubt the rent will be cheap, I think you are talking about hutongs outside Beijing, well put it this way I wouldn't want to live there.
I'm afraid you've either been duped or have been paying highly inflated westerner prices. Especially for courtyards. The courtyard houses are rather primitive so the rent is cheap for locals for no one with the means wants to live there. But to westerners, they like to live in "historical" houses so they will pay a premium. Best to shop around with a local.

As for buses, the ones with A/C is $2.
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Sep 11, 2006
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strohlio wrote:
Sep 5th, 2007 11:10 am
sweet.. thanks for the reply...

i'm looking to live as much like a chinese person as possible, but with a few luxuries (some american food, more on entertainment, etc.)

how much would it cost to rent an apt. in downtown beijing?

Dan
LOL, I don't think there are many people in the world who consider american food a luxury.

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