For foreign students, cost of living in China is largely depend on their lifestyle, although it is easy to minimize day-to-day costs depending on how much luxury a person wants to live in and how far they will go to re-create the way they lived at home. For example, if you want to buy something imported, Western-style brands and goods, the price will be significantly more expensive – cereal in particular is exorbitant. Also, things are not typically Chinese such as dairy and wine, the price is usually higher than buying them back at your home. On the other hand, local products and services are widely available and incredibly affordable. Fresh produce and food stuffs, clothing, entertainment and domestically manufactured electronics are all very reasonably priced in China.
As in most destinations, the cost of living in the larger, urban centers will far exceed that of the small, rural villages. Beijing and Shanghai, in particular, claim cost of livings on par with major European capitals.
Below is a cost of living in China chart based on Beijing, 2014, you can take it as an example.
(Note that prices may vary depending on product and service provider and the list below shows average prices)
|Accommodation (monthly rent from unfurnished to furnished)|
|Single room on campus||RMB 3,000|
|Double room on campus||RMB 1,500|
|Furnished 2 bedroom apartment||RMB 8,000|
|Unfurnished 2 bedroom apartment||RMB 6,500|
|Food and Drink|
|Milk (1 liter)||RMB 15|
|Cheese (500g)||RMB 107|
|Dozen Eggs||RMB 15|
|White Bread||RMB 15|
|Rice (1kg)||RMB 7|
|1 packet of cigarettes (Marlboro)||RMB 15|
|City center bus/Subway fare||RMB 2|
|Taxi rate per km||RMB 3|
|Big Mac Meal||RMB 25|
|Coca Cola (330ml)||RMB 3.50|
|Bottle of beer||RMB 35|
|Three course meal at a mid-range restaurant||RMB 200|