Salary in Shanghai – Part II

David asked one question about salary in Shanghai.

Hello Wang,

Thanks a lot for creating this homepage, i really love it and i can get most of the information i need.

I was totally blind about Shanghai until i read this website.

But still i would probably need some sort of idea from you and maybe also another readers here to help me with my confusion.

I applied a job in Shanghai without knowing any standard salary there through email and surprisingly the company replied me so fast with one question ‘how much your salary expectation ?’, i got stunned and didn’t have any idea to answer the mail.

My job i am applying is to work as an Technical Manager (IT industry), i speak english, japanese and a little chinese that i think is an advantage for me besided my 7 years experience working in the same industry. It’s a foreign firm.

How much do you think i should expect from the salary ? well, sure it would be nice if i can feel Shanghai as a heaven too ! :-)

Thanks in advance.



Well. I have no idea about how a related Technical Manager would expect. “How much do you expect?” is one of the hardest questions to answer during job hunting, especially for the job in a completely unfamiliar city.

The best resource I would suggest is forum

Here are some thread to discuss the salary:

Salary expectations Automotive … Manager

According to arnoldchina’s explaination, you should expect 30K-40K as a Automative industry


the average level of Manager is kinda about 30k-40k RMB annually,

plus the double/triple salary system. medical insurance, pension,etc.

for the hour workers is also can reach almost 10K a year

75 thoughts on “Salary in Shanghai – Part II

  1. 30k-40k!That’s really impressive figure.I have to say,Chinese Tech managers with same professional abilitly might not obtain so high salary

  2. 30-40k a year is about 3000RMB/month — that sounds a little low. I guess it depends on the company and the level of management.

  3. David,

    First of all, is this position a local hire or expat? Secondly, what kind of company is it? General speaking, big international firms pay good money to their foreign expats. For middle level management, US salary + housing + some allowrance is pretty normal package. For lower level employee, the package is not that juicy or they prefer local hire. Reason? It is hard to persuade a US based manager to move his family to China, especially when he/she is in his/her 30s or 40s, has kids, and already takes a lot of responsibilities in the company. However, on the other hand, those big companies also realize that hire local well educated people are their great bargains.

    In your situation, I think you should know what this company really needs from you? Your IT experience? Your communication skills? Your bilingual skills? They come back so quickly is both a good sign and bad sign. The good part is they are hiring and looking for a good fit. The bad part this could be a sign they won’t pay big money for this position, so they ask first. The following is some numbers i know my friend make in Beijing and Shanghai. Just for your reference. Local hire manager with a big accounting firm: 30000 – 40000 RMB/month. Expat manager: 80k – 100k USD plus benefit(paid in HKD) A shanghai local hire manager with big consultanting firm: 30000RMB/month.

    Hope this will help.

  4. When u ppl talkin’ about annual salary, is the guaranteed year-end bonus also included?


  5. The salary varies so much in China, but 30-40K is indeed too low. According to what I was told, an IT manager with 7 years experience may expect something between 100k and 300kRMB from a foreign company.

  6. I do think the information provided by Jianshuo is misleading. According to David’s working experience and expertise, the reasonable salary should be between 200k to 300k annually (about the detailed benefits, you can negotiate with local HR dept.. usually they provide medical insurance etc..)

  7. David,

    You should be able to get 300K RMB as the minimum plus housing and other benefits. This would add up to the equivalent of about 60 K USD as a local hire.

    Find yourself a company willing to pay for your experience. Language skills might be beneficial but not always a prerequisite.



  8. whats the salary for a HEad Quality assurance (BE MBA) in an IT company in shanghai. pl indicate in USD .

    wud appreciate if anyone can write direclty to me on my email id

  9. hey yo, can someone please let me how to get work permit in China? is there any cha-ching web site where I can download the application form? thanks aheap..

  10. thanks Bigbro, sounds like I do need an offer prior to having a work permit aha? but what if I am only interested at internship opportunities for about 6 months, is there any chance I can get around without the permit?

  11. Get the offer. Let whoever offering the internship worry about the status stuff, or the unnecessity thereof.

  12. Hi,

    Can anyone tell me who are the good head hunters in Shanghai, I am an Indian, holding an MBA interested in working inShanghai.


  13. Dear Friends!.

    Nin Hao !…Thanks for having this group & being resourceful about information on Shanghai.

    I am an Indian & will b moving to Shanghai by February’05 month end for my new job. I want to have some information majorly on food expenses & other living costs like mobile, internet, shopping , life etcc..

    My comapny is a HongKong based export/trading company; with its suppliers & manufacturers from China. So, I’ll b based in Shanghai as “Jr. Inspector & quality controller “. I am offered 4000 RMB + accomodation + travelling allowances + medical insurances + taxes( will b paid by company).

    Please tell me about daily food expenses on an average in Shanghai. I am a non veg. too but I do not drink.Please suggest how good is the job offer considering the salary package as above.

    Also let me know about the mobile & internet charges. Should i purchase a mobile from India or when i resch Shanghai….

    I am eager to make friends too through this group. Please reply with your guidance & suggestions.

    Eaherly waiting for your reply.Personal reply will be of a great help.

    Thank you.

  14. Hi,

    I am also interested in moving to Shanghai or area. My girlfriend is considering going back to teach English as a 2nd Language and has everything she needs. I would like to go with her, but don’t have a clue what I would do for work while I am there. I work in computers providing English technical support for Notebooks and handheld computers (major US Manufactuer, but am subcontracted). I also use to support desktops. I am wondering where would be a good place to start looking and what my chances are seeing as I can only speak English right now. I am trying to learn Mandarin though.



  15. I just want ask you a question.

    I have a B.A degree from U.S, plus one year experience in banking industry. I will moving back to Shanghai in July. What kinda salary should i expect and ask for? i really have no clue what i should get.


  16. why so many foreingers come to work in Shanghai? lots of white in shanghai already. the competition among foreigners even is very fierce. really interesting…4000 rmb 500 dollars to work here…and also pay the rent here…2000 rmb at least you have to rent a flat to live here…one room one parlor kind…plus other bills, i don’t think u can save..haha

  17. Monica, Reeta talks about 4000 rmb plus accommodation plus travel expenses plus medical insurance plus taxes. This makes 4000 rmb net per month (133 rmb/day) just for food and leisure. Don’t you think this should be enough to live in Shanghai?

    Of course this is not comparable with European salaries which are about 50’000 rmb per month (IT job in a major city). However, costs are much higher in Europe too. For eating lunch, most people pay about 200 rmb. A three-room flat costs >15’000 rmb/month, a small house costs about 7’000’000 rmb, insurances cost about 6’000 rmb/month, cinema costs 110 rmb a ticket, a beer costs 40 rmb, a car about 8 rmb per km. You see?

    However, working in PRC is not about the money. It’s about a cultural exchange, meeting people of a different cultural and ethnic background and living a different lifestyle. That’s why I am sad that the people in PRC are becoming more and more similar to western people. There’s only a very thin line between capitalism and arrogance and superficiality. Believe me, money, wealth and materialistic success isn’t everything in life. I grew up in a very capitalistic environment. I’d love to see more hearty and sincere people again. People should work to live, and not live to work.

  18. Reeta, RMB4000 net will allow you to live moderate comfortablly in Shanghai. This pay level is typically for an office white collar with 5 years experience in a US/Europe enterprise. Of course, not for those working in big IT companies like MS. I believe their payment should be around 20000 something.

  19. RMB 4000 is a typical pay for an white collar with 5 yrs experience? My cousin in Shanghai just graduated from a 4-yr school got an offer for RMB 4700 a month in market research field. I believe the salary in Shanghai should be much higher than that. If you have a B.A. degree from a descent 4-yr college with 4 yrs working experience, it should be common to make 100k for a year(after average out, its about 8000 RMB a month). Salary is really high in Shanghai for these well-educated and nice polished young kids.

    I will come back to Shanghai and wish can successfuly enjoy the work force there. Don’t want to be these bad example of Hai Gui. Anyway, Shanghai has a lot potential and it just STARTED to grow. I project to see a lot change and growth in the next 5 yrs.

  20. Hi,

    I am also planning to move to HangZhou. The company is a big multinational and I have an experience of around 7 yrs in my field.

    I am not sure as to what could be the ideal salary in HangZhou as per my experience. In US, I can expect somewhere around $60K – $75K for this current position.

    I hope anyone of you may have some good advice for me at this point of negotiation as to what could be best salary for a professional like me.

    Any help will be appreciated.



  21. Hi,

    I am also planning to move to HangZhou. The company is a big multinational and I have an experience of around 7 yrs in my field.

    I am not sure as to what could be the ideal salary in HangZhou as per my experience. In US, I can expect somewhere around $60K – $75K for this current position.

    I hope anyone of you may have some good advice for me at this point of negotiation as to what could be best salary for a professional like me. I am also looking for any other pointers regarding the cost of index in HangZhou and other salary structure being followed in China

    Any help will be appreciated.



  22. Hi,-

    Thanks for setting up this page!

    My chinese wife and I plan to go to Shanghai to work there for some time(part of my wedding primise….:) ). The first year I plan to study chinese at the Fudan University. We both hold a Master degree in technology(electrical engineering). She has taken her M. degree in Norway and stayed there for five years. When we arrive Shanghai, we will probably have a working experience of 3 years each. Though we both hope to work for foreign companies, this is not sure yet.

    What salaries could we expect?

    Should I make other preparations in additon to learning the language well?

    I would be most grateful for any advice.



  23. what exactley do they mean double / triple bonus salary program. anyone ?

    is that the new year’s bonus program ? or is it like taking sharehold in productivity.

    me. ya . i am in the middle of a negotiation.. questions ? anyone ?

    -topic of interest – midlevel operation manager – automotive. ( us expat program )

    relocating to shanghai in winter of 06 .

  24. I have an offer of RMB 22,500/month + education for 2 kids + Housing + Medical + Annual bonus and return air fare for entire family…..please adv me if this is a good offer and if we can have some decent saving left.

    hope you experienced ones can give some good insight asap…


  25. Dear Jianshuo, this is a really informative website. Thanks for setting it up.

    I have a question and I hope you or other community members can offer some advice – I am a Singapore lawyer and I have been offered a job as in-house legal counsel at a semi-conductor firm based in Shanghai. It looks like a big firm. I have been asked about my required salary – does anyone know how much is the market rate for in-house legal counsel?

    Thanks so much,


  26. I think Jianshuo’s blog is by far the best on Shanghai life!!

    RockeR, if you are a lawyer with Chinese language skills, can I suggest that you consider a job with an international law firm. Try the legal recruitment websites, they are filled with these jobs. UK and US firms are expanding and setting up offices in China at an amazing pace. Depending on your experience and language skills, these firms will be prepared to pay you RMB60K – 80K a month (even more than RMB100K a month if you have 7-8 years’ experience), and on top of that 1-2 months’ bonus per year. Many of them are also very prestigious and a few years spent with one of these firms would look very good on your CV. You could end up working extremely hard, but the pay is very attractive, so it is worth considering. I know money is not everything but a few years of hard work and you could put aside quite a lot of money. IT skills are in shortage but so are legal skills and you are lucky to be in a position to take advantage of that! Good luck!

  27. Hi Rocker,

    I don’t know if this is going to help much but I believe you shoud expect at least SGD 10 000 per month (basic) plus medical insurance, car and accomodation. If none of these “perks” are going to be there, then you should look at a figure between SGD 13000 to 16000 to make up for it. This is equivalent to what Georgie suggested above and that’s what an expat usually gets. You got to beware that some Chinese firms treat expat Asians as second-class expats and may give you what local gets instead. If that is the case then I suggest you to just drop the offer. It is not worth it, really.

    My dad was posted to work in Shanghai for 2 years between 1997-1999 as a business development personel (I cannot remember exactly what his position was called, but he’s an GM at the same MNC today) and his salary at that time was around USD 20 000 plus insurance, car, accomadation and many other “perks’ that REAL expats usually get (minus those so-called “language teacher” , “tutors” etc).

    So now, you should have a rough idea of how much you should bargain for.

    Good luck :p


  28. Georgie, would you kindly suggest some “legal recruitment website”, please? I’m also interested in opportunities in that area.



  29. Hi,

    I have 8 years of experience in Battery manufacturing/Pharmaceuticals/Chemical Factories and will be relocating to Sanghai. I was wondering what would be a decent monthly salary including living expenses and everything. I am looking to relocate with my family. Expecting 24K RMB is high?

    Please revert me back.



  30. Dear All,

    I am a Postgraduate (M.Sc.) in Chemistry and I have 12 years experience in Pharmaceutical QA in India. One of the Pharmaceutical company in Sanghai has offered me Salary 17000 RMB/Month+ 5000 RMB HRA allowance.

    Will it be OK for to survive me and my family (wife + two kids) and can I save some money?

    Requested to the please who are in the sanghai to respond immediately.

    Best Regards


  31. Hi Everyone,

    Need some help with regard to salary info in Shanghai.

    I am from Malaysia and a Computer Engineering graduate with 7+ years of experience in the computer circuit board test development field. I was recently offered a job by a big American computer company in Shanghai with a salary of RMB 28000/month + housing allowance. Is this a reasonable offer, and will I be able to save some money (based on the living standard in Shanghai)?

    I like the description of the job, but just want to make sure I am getting the right offer.

    Hope you all could help. Thanks in advance.


    Michael Liew

  32. Hi Mr.Susheel,

    this is kishore,i am working in shanghai as a group leader.

    I think it is very good salary.

    atleast you can save 75000(INR).

    but the problem is with communication.

    i hope this will help you.

  33. Hi

    I am strategic sourcing professional with 12 years of experienec mainly in automotive environemnt. I am very keen to work in Shnaghai. I am an Indian & can’t speak chinese. Can anyone help me with some networking? write to me at


  34. hi there wang , thanks for all that information i’m really seeing forward to move to shanghai and i was trying to figure out something..maybe you can anser that to me ,

    it is easy to find a job as a bouncer ?and if yes how are those places who geenraly need bouncers and how many could i have on salary?

  35. I have 12 years of strategic sourcing experience. I have been offer 672,000 RMB per annum (all inclusive ) by a company to start buisness development for it. I will start either from Shanghai or Guangzou. Pls. tell, is the salary goos enough? It is urgent, i need to answer them

  36. I am a strategic sourcing professional with 12 years exp. I have been offer 672,000 RMB per annum (all inclusive ) by a compnay to start its china operation. Is the money good enough? Urgent as I have to reply them at the earliest.


  37. you should ask at least 100K USD/yr if you get this job from the USA and they send you to Shanghai.

  38. you should ask at least 100K USD/yr if you get this job from the USA and they send you to Shanghai.

  39. My company is sending me from India at 672,000RMB/yera (approx 90K USD). I am single and need to know, is the money decent enough to have a nice lifestyle in China. Can I afford to own a car in China.

  40. I think that money is decent enough to make a nice life in Shanghai. Let’s make a bill.

    Your total money: 672,000RMB/year, that is 56000RMA/m

    Living: 6000RMA/m (I think 6000RMA is enough for a single to rent a very good apartment in Shanghai)

    Eating:3000RMA/m, that is 100RMA/m (I don’t know if it is enough for you to have 3 meals a day. but it’s enough for me. if your company can afford lunch, the money will be less)

    Transporation: 300RMA/m, 10RMA/d (If you haven’t a car yet, you need to take bus or subway, and rent apartment near to your company, then 10RMA/d is enough I think)

    Clothes: 2000RMAm (This is not a regular consumption and also depend on what kind of clothes do you buy)

    Energy: 500RMA/m (that should include water, power, gas. the money can be less)


    so you use 16300RMA/m for the basic necessities. and rest 39700 can be accumulated to buy a car (it also depend on what kind of car you want to buy,I don’ know much about it.)

    Of course, this is an ideal situation, there must be many emergency using money.

    Is there anything missed or in wrong calculate in this bill?


    How about your ideas? is it enough? as you’re living in Shanghai!

    The living standard I assumed might be the standard 3 yrs ago! :-D

  41. @surender, and Elaine, that is very decent amount of money. If you think of the average salary of people in Shanghai – 1430 RMB/month, or minimum salary is 840 RMB/month, and newly graduates earns 2000-3000 RMB/month, you have some idea about how much you got.

  42. Thanx Elaine,

    Let’s not forget income tax. Is income tax rate is different for foreigner?

    I have to start my companies business in China and I may start from Guangzou or Shanghai. What %ge is the tax deduction per month? Is it varies from province to province? What is the monthly instalment for a sedan car & what is the gasoline chanrges?



  43. Hi Jian & Elaine,

    I agree but do not compare me with the fresh garduate. I have 12 years experience in strategic sourcing in MNC environment.

    I am single & just want the money good enough to have a nice lifestyle with car and a decent saving for my future. I am not sure about the income tax structure and the monthly installation for car and ist gasoline/ maintenance expense.

  44. Thanks Jian,

    I appreciate if you could guide me with the income tax structure for foreigner .

  45. @surender

    You can go to JS’s artical “Living Cost in Shanghai – Driving”. It has a detailed answer to you car’s question.

  46. I am having a opputunity to relocate fm India – Shanghai. I have 2 kids. At the moment in India i am having a good seniority and 11 yrs of rich experience. I am confused abt how to ask to incl living, kids, expenses, housing etc.

  47. Hi

    My wife and I are thinking to move to Shanghai in the near future. She has a PhD in Psychology (10+ years experience) and I’m a Designer (17+years experience) specialized in web, graphic design and motion graphics, also an architect with a Masters degree (no experience, just graduated). No kids.

    What are the chances of getting a job there and salary expectations for us. Is there a problem with validating your degrees there, how long does it take before you can start working (specially in Psycology)?

    Is there any head hunter office in this areas in Shanghai?

    Best regards


  48. Surender

    Seems like you are an educated and intelligent person or you would not be able to command such a salary. However, when you are told that the average starting salary for a college grad is 2000-3000 and your monthly salary is over 20 times higher you cannot surmise what that might mean?

  49. Hi Surender

    Not sure if you finally moved to China but if you did, it would be nice to know how are you coping up with your life there. I am in a similar situation and have been offered a job by a Telecom company in Shenzhen paying the same amount of money (CNY 650,000 per annum). The difference is that I have 2 kids and a wife.

    I have received conflicting advice from different people. Some say I can live like a king with this money and some say that since I will have expenses that of an expat, it wouldnt be easy to live a comfortable life. What do you reckon?



  50. Ammar, Surender –

    I think it depends on what your lifestyle is at home. It is all relative. Generally, for a middle class, the amount you get will make them feel like a king. Your company is probably paying as though you are working in the United States (probably still lower compared to US employees), IMHO.

    In the computing industry, this is a very good deal already. But then again, you are in a different industry. Man, can I join your industry? ;)


  51. Hi Michael Liew,

    Have you moved to Shanghai already? If so how are you getting on? I am a Malaysian, IT Project Management background with 22 years exp. I have intention to work and live in Shanghai.

    Look forward to your reply.

  52. Hi Ajip,

    Yup, in fact just arrived for 2 weeks, just in time to see the snow :)

    You have 22 years of experience – I dare not imagine what sort of salary you’ll get, must be sky-high. Which company are you working for?

  53. Hi Michael,

    Thank you for your reply. I understand that cost of living is relative. But there are certain items that everyone needs no matter if he is local or an expat.

    In your opinion can I afford to lease a car, rent a decent apartment and live a comfortable life in the salary that I have been offered? The previously mentioned salary includes Bonus which woud not be paid monthly. After tax I will be getting something around CNY 30K a month.

    Is that good enough?


  54. I’m not sure about the cost of leasing a car.

    As for apartment CNY6-12K should get you a good apartment apartment in a good area. If you’re willing to live in more outskirt areas in Pudong, CNY5K should get you a good apartment. These are normal apartments. Serviced apartments will be much more expensive. It will be good if the company provides you with temp living while you search for apartments – then, you can take your time and shop around.

    Overall, you should be able to live comfortably with the salary you are getting.

    But, do think about what you plan to do after this assignment. How long will the company be willing to employ you at this high price? I think most contract is for 3 years. Is it going to increase your market value when you go back home? Many things to think about.

  55. Hi! I am from the Philippines with nearly 17yrs experience as Human Resource Manager being a BS Psychology graduate and having Master’s Degree in Administration. I am offered by this Swiss Company in Shanghai as HR/Admin Manager. I have 3 sons to send to school if i will accept and settle in Shanghai, How much will i be worth to have a comfortable life in Shanghai? I have very nice scholastic records and been to Bangkok, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore for in-depth conferences on Human Resource.

    The company is offering me all expenses paid round trip from Philippines to Shanghai to see the company and the people i will be working with first before i will decide.

    Please, i will be grateful for your opinions. They are keen on giving me 5000usd/month+medical insurance+house accommodation (food excluded)+paid leaves.


  56. Hi,

    I am an Indian moving to Shanghai in April 08. My office is at Sui De Road, Pu Tuo District.

    Can anyone help me where to take accomodation in any nearby Indian society, my range is 5000-6000Rmb.

    Thanks in advance.


  57. Hi Ammar,

    I am still in India. The company has postponed its plan to open new facility in China, as their India operations are expanding.

    I still want to go to Shnaghai but not getting suitable opening. How are you doing?


  58. Hi!

    I am an Indonesian chinese, currently in the middle of negotiation with a china company,

    I need some information about salary as Architect/ interior designer in shanghai & the living cost.

    (I’m holding B.Arch degree with 4 yr experience, able to speak in fluent , intermediate dutch & chinese) thank you 4 the infos!

  59. Hi,

    There are a lot of figure mentioned in various comments, from RMB8000 – RMBXXXXXXX, is this the nett pay? Will you given another basic pay in your home country?

    For example, Michael Liew mentioned that he is offered RMB 28,000 + housing allowance, this is good if he is getting another basic pay in his home country also, but is it good if it is the total package he is going to get? The tax bracket is going to be high also.


  60. I’ve been working & living in Shanghai for more than 8 years, can speak mandarin (cannot grade myself but can even handle meetings in mandarin). Have been doing logistics for different companies (both local & foreign). Now i am expecting and offer from a top 5 worldwide logistics co. by the recommandation of my origin country branch of theirs, to continue working for them here in shanghai, beeing responsibke for mainly the traffic from/to china/that region.

    I’d appreciate if anyone can comment on what i can require for compansation and benefits.

    Shall it be something between a full expat and local hire package ? I am currently making around 35-40 k RMB/month (including housing allowance and etc.)

    thanks in advance…

  61. Hi Arlene,

    Did you accept the job in Shanghai? I was wondering if you could assist a fellow Filipino in securing a job in Shanghai. I’m fluent in Mandarin and speaks little Japanese. Extensive traveler and is now working for the Sales-IT-Hospitality industry.

    Thanks and hope to hear from you soon! :)

  62. Hi, I am Shulin. I am currently a student in USA major in Aerospace Engineering. I am Chinese too, and I would love to go back to China and work there. I will eventually obtain my Master Degree from either UCLA or UC Berkely, and I plan to first work at Boeing gain 5 years of experience then move back to China.

    Can eveyone please tell me what kind of salary would I expect. I really miss my country and would love to go back.

  63. Wow, I see a lot of people from other country want to work in China. That is great, let me tell you this, that Chinese people are very friendly to you, and that is why I miss my country so much. I really do not like here in America.

    Anyway good luck in China, I hope you all live well in China and I will soon be coming back too.

  64. Hi all,

    I am a graphic/web designer with 5-6 years working experience. Australian graduate, Chinese proficiency. Was wondering what kind of salary should I be looking at in Shanghai. And what is the common allowance/benefit. Thanks!

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