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Thanks to China’s economic growth, the average salary is increasing every year and is catching up with many western countries.

Thanks to China’s economic growth, the average salary is increasing every year and is catching up with many western countries. If you’re looking for work in China it can be a smart career move, salaries for foreigners in china are very attractive and among the highest in Asia. So whether you are considering top tier cities like Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Beijing or even some of the second tier cities, this may be your guide.

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Minimum wages in China

Wages in China are controlled by provincial government. Each province set the minimum hourly wage for part time workers and monthly wage for full time jobs. The wages are updated every year and vary form one province to another.

Minimum wage by city:

CityHourly wageMonthly wage

The average salaries are much higher than the minimum wages. The Chinese government states that the provincial minimum wages must be between 40 to 60% of the average wage in the province.

Average wage in china

The average wage in china is higher in first-tier cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen). The median per capita disposable income of residents in China was 27,540 RMB in 2020. A person working in China typically earns around 29,000 RMB per month. The salaries in China range from 7,400 RMB to more than 131,000 RMB.

Salary Comparison by City

CityAverage salary per month

Average salary of foreigners in China

There are three categories of foreign workers in China. The category A comprises of those who are considered as “highly talented” and they have the highest salaries in China. Category B are mostly people with a bachelor degree, there are many good opportunities for them too but the average salary is lower than of those in category A. The category C are those with no degree or no work experience, it’s more difficult to them to get a well-paidjob but there are many internships opportunities that can lead to a full time job.

The average salary for foreigners in China is much higher than the average salary of Chinese professionals because of the work visa requirements. Companies in China are asked to hire foreigners for special needs, the positions that can’t be satisfied by the domestic labor force. It’s difficult to estimate the average salary for foreigners in China as it vary a lot depending on work experience, education level… But they are more likely to get hired into senior or skill-specific roles or in Education. The salary will be probably higher if you are hired from overseas than locally.

The salary package for foreigners in China usually comprises of a base salary and other benefits such as social insurance, rent allowances, school expenses for children, once or twice a year round-trip home flights, and other expenses. The employer also pays for visa processing expenses. Total pay packages for expatriates put china in the 3rd position in the Asia-Pacific region (after Australia and Japan).

The average salary in China also depends on the sector you’re working in. Here are some of the highest paid jobs in China:

•Sales Executive

•Software Engineer

•ESL teacher

•Financial Controller

•Project Manager

Average salary of English teachers in China

Salaries for English teachers in China vary a lot depending on many factors such as qualification, city, the type of institution you are teaching in and level of study. For experienced teachers hired in international schools, the salary can be as much as 30,000 RMB.

Typical salary for English teachers in private centers and public school range between 6,500 RMB and 16,000 RMB plus others benefits (housing allowance, flight tickets…). If you get hired in a public school, you will probably get paid less. You can also earn extra by doing private tutoring, most institutions offer extra classes and private tutors are paid between 100 –150 RMB per hour.

Average income of interns in China

It is currently illegal in China for a company to pay a working wage to its foreign interns. Despite being unable to receive a salary for your internship, many companies offer many benefits such as housing and transport allowances (ranging from 3,000 to 4,000RMB). As it is now required for foreigners to have at least two years of post-university work experience to get sponsored by a company for a work visa and resident permit (except for English teachers), internship can be a good option if you are recently graduated and have less than two years of work experience.

Cost of living in China

With the average salary for foreigners in China, you can expect to save a good amount of money as the cost of living is lower than most western countries. Of course, the cost of living depends on the city where you live and your lifestyle. Rent tends to be more expensive in first tier cities than the rest of the country. But most employers give housing allowance to their foreign employees. The average cost of rent in China is between 2,000-6,200 RMB per month. Utilities are not very expensive and can cost you around 300 RMB per month.

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