Here is how much I spend for living in Shenzhen, China as a non-local people. Note the cost may vary a lot depending on various factors.

All numbers are in the unit of Chinese Yuan (symbol ¥).

Housing/renting

For renting a house, there are mainly two types you can choose, private property or urban village.

private property

Private properties generally have better overall conditions, less noise/quiet, cleaner, but usually more expensive.

For renting, I am currently using ziroom, it is the largest renting platform in China. Ziroom works by renting homes from home owners and re-rent these homes room by room to different tenants. So their model is a lot like the co-living model, where different people share a house1. It will refurbish the home a bit to standardize their offerings, usually they will provide refrigerator, microwave oven, washing machine, hot shower (powered either by electricity or gas) in the home. For each room, they will also provide a bed, a working table with lamp, air conditioner, and a wardrobe.

The price for renting a room from ziroom is higher than directly renting it from the home owner. It mainly depends on the size of the room, which floor the house is, whether there is elevator, the condition of the property, and also the distance to the train station, supermarket etc.

For reference, I once rented a less than $15 \mathbf{m^2}$ room from ziroom, and it costed me around ¥2000. It is located in 6th floor and has no elevator, otherwise, it may cost me ¥2500. The price also includes the internet cost.

Ziroom also charge about 11% of the rent for service fees, which includes public areas cleaning every two weeks, and also repair services for anything broken or malfunctioning. So if the rent is ¥2000, the service fee is about ¥200.

For utilities (water, electricity, gas), we need to pay it monthly. The biggest expense will be electricity price, especially in hot summer, and it may exceed ¥250. Combined, utilities will cost around ¥300.

urban village

Urban villages also provide a lot of housing with affordable prices. For example, in urban village, you can probably rent an apartment less than 1500 for $30 \mathbf{m^2}$. There is also a lot of grocery store and restaurants in urban village, which is another advantage.

Transportation

Shenzhen has one of the largest metro lines in China, you can literally go anywhere in Shenzhen with the metro lines. The price is relatively cheap: for a trip of 40 min, you may need ¥6 or ¥7. There are also a lot of bus lines, which is cheaper than metro.

The transportation cost will be about ¥350/month.

Food

For breakfast, I usually eat bread or baozi, with milk. It costs me less than ¥7. For lunch, it really depends on what I eat, usually less than ¥30, and in rare times, less than ¥40.

If I go to restaurants in the weekend, the cost will be certainly much more. You can eat really good food with ¥150 per person, which is less than 30 Euros.

Since I tend to not go to the restaurants frequently, so my monthly expense for food may be 2500.

Phones/Internet

For my phone, I use China Unicom and spend ¥36/month, and the data is about 50 GB, which is a lot. It also includes around 120 minutes of calling, but now people will just use wechat to call each other.

For internet, it is relatively expensive compared to other parts of China, but it may be still cheap compared to Europe. Both China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom provide internet access service. Among them, China Telecom may be the most expensive. For 300 Mbps, you need to pay ¥159/month, and for 1000 Mbps, you need ¥229/month.

Misc

Watching a movie costs about ¥50 mostly. I may also need to buy daily stuff like shampoo, laundry detergent, tissue paper etc. Occasionally, I also need to buy clothes, shoes, but that is not very frequent. So I have not include those cost in this post.

Conclusion

So the list of my minimum cost of living in Shenzhen is as follows:

  • Renting: ¥2000 + ¥200 (service fee) + ¥300 (utility) = ¥2500
  • Transportation: ¥350
  • Food: around ¥2500
  • Phones + Internet: ¥200

So in total, that is about ¥5500 for one month. If I take other expenses into account, cost of living for one month will be around ¥6000.


  1. Usually, they share bathrooms, kitchen and living room, but they have their own separate rooms. ↩︎