The cost of living in Beijing

 

 

What do you think the cost of life is in Beijing ? It has changed quite a lot over the years and especially in the recent months, everything seems to be going up. The Chinese economy is developing fast, the Chinese class in growing, millions of migrant workers are still expected to come to the capital in the incoming years, so that the country still has a potential for growth and, unfortunately, price increases.

 

You may have a look on numbeo.com, a website dedicated to the cost of living in various cities around the world. By the standards of this website, Beijinhg still appears as a reasonable city regarding prices, but is this index worthwhile ?

 

There is a general feeling that everything has become more expensive in Beijing these last years.

 

Housing is the first concern. Beijing used to be a chep city but in the last decade with princes increase around 20% every year, sometimes more, this is clearly not the case any more; Beijing is damn expensive regarding ccomodation. A one bedroom apartment in the “city centre” (where exactly) is around 5.000 yuans (3.000 yuans outside of the center), it is a price very close to many european and american cities; Beijing is now an international metropolis and the prices are in accordance.

 

There is food. Actually, food is quite cheap in Beijing, from restaurant to supermarkets or small grocery stores. Still, there is several qualities of food and if you want to live the “full” expatriate living style, be aware that it can be pretty expensive. You’ll have to buy imported food and it’s much more expensive than at home. Some expatriates do it actually, since they are frightened by food scandals that are regularly occuring in China.

 

If you rely on foreign funds to live in Beijing, the yuan value is getting slighly higher, which means you get slighly less than before with your foreign curencies. Still, overall, Beijing remains an affordable city. In addition of cheap food, you benefit from cheap transportation (although taxi fares are now quite expensive), transport in common are almost free, you can find cheap clothes (beware the quality) or impored food brands. Everything depends actually on your way of living. Goibg out is much less expensive than in most places in the world, as ong as you don’t want those fancyimported alcohols.

 

Shanghai is a bit more expensive, but many cities in China are quite affordable.

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