There are lots of discussions about living cost in Shanghai, such as this one from Wang Jianshuo. I am not going to do a comprehensive study here, but I want to share my findings after spending one week in Shanghai.
I rent a one bedroom apartment near Zhongshan park, it cost me CNY 2,300. Because I stay for short term, they charge me a little higher. I think for a one year lease it will be 2,000 Yuan a month. A comparable apartment in St. Louis will cost about $500. So 2000 Yuan vs. 500 dollars. We can say one dollar is really worth 4 Yuan, not the offical rate of 7.75?
Let me talk about food as we can not live without that. Last Friday I ordered two dishes at a Chinese restaurant for lunch (inside Cloud 9), and I paid CNY 75. For the sake of simplicity, let’s say one dish costs 40 Yuan. I know in St. Louis one Chinese dish will cost about $10. Again we can get the 1:4 ratio.
One can argue there are many cheaper restaurants, yet offering good food. Such as the picture I showed above. Dining out is quite affordable for all kinds of people here in Shanghai. I think for the dishes I paid 75 Yuan, I could pay 35 Yuan in that restaurant and get the similar things. The difference is, I have to bear the smoke from people smoking cigaretts. I found it’s quite common and annoying that people smoke even in the 75 Yuan level places…