Cost of Living in Guangzhou



Mercer reported that, due to Chinese Yuan’s strong performance in 2009, Guangzhou ranks as the 23rd most expensive city in the world.


Most expats reside in Castle Hill Luxury Home, Ersha Island, Clifford Mansion and Nuova Plaza, which are all located in downtown Guangzhou. With its suburban ambiance, modern facilities and proximity to fellow English-speaking professionals, these residential developments are the popular choice among expats. Even hotels like Garden Hotel Guangzhou, China Hotel and Guangdong International Hotel offer serviced apartments in Guangzhou.

Most expats opt to rent an apartment or unfurnished houses. The most common lease period is one or two years. Once it is settled, the landlord would ask for month's rent as a deposit and up to 3 months, rent in advance and some would even ask for 6 months to a year. Rental cost range from 元 6000 to 500 per month for a 1 bedroom flat to 元 55000 – 5000 per month for a 2-bedroom flat. For a 3 bedrooms furnished flat, expect to pay 元 85000 to 10000 per month.

Buying a Property

Since the mid-2000s, foreigners may only have their own piece of land in two conditions, such as residence or school attendance in China for more than a year (not applicable for purchase of second-hand houses) and for the purpose of residence instead of investment.

The procedure involves the signing of purchase contract, application for a mortgage from a bank (if needed), payment of taxes, and application for title deed from title transfer office. Make sure to prepare the certification from Exit-Entry Administration of Public Security Bureau for proof of residential tenure, passport notarization, and Chinese name notarization (for the title deed) and, in case, you need someone to transact on your behalf, a notarized Power of Attorney.


Gas costs about CNY 2.50/cubic meter (US$0.37); supplied by the Guangzhou Coal Gas Company. The Residential price for water amounts to CNY 1.32/cubic meter (US$0.19) and is supplied by the Guangzhou Water Supply Company. The monthly energy costs for a 100-sq-m apartment costs CNY 508.33 (US$74.44). Visit the Guangzhou Power Supply Bureau for more information.

Monthly bill for telephone line is at CNY 32.50 (US$4.76). Local calls are about CNY 0.2 (US$0.03) for 3 minutes and CNY 0.1 (US$0.01) for each succeeding minute.

Most expats are unsatisfied with their Internet access. It may come in cheap at CNY 239 (US$35) but this "high-speed Internet" gets frequently interrupted and can get very slow for Western standards. Per month, the cost of internet is 元 80 – 177.


All cuisines are virtually represented in Guangzhou. While a three-course dinner in a restaurant or fast food meal at CNY 93.33 (US$13.65) and CNY 21.67 (US$3.17), respectively, may sound reasonably priced, make sure to try the much favoured cuisine all throughout China.

The most popular dishes are roast suckling pig, stewed snake, and wildcat, dim sums (about a thousand varieties), wonton noodles, and drinks like Laoji Herbal Tea, among others. You can spend CNY 5-10 (US$0.73-1.46) per meal. A "rice box," comprised of rice and three tasty toppings, only costs CNY 5(US$0.73).The cost of 1 Daily menu in the business district is 元 52, while 1 Big Mac Meal costs 元 25 to 30. A dinner out for two in an Italian restaurant with wine and dessert costs 元 505.

The cost of 1 Daily menu in the business district is 元 52, while 1 Big Mac Meal costs 元 25 to 30. A dinner out for two in an Italian restaurant with wine and dessert costs 元 505.


Public transportation options in Guangzhou include trains, buses, taxis, ships, subways, and waterbuses. There are three railway stations for public transport, operating in Chinese cities like Beijing, Hong Kong, Wuhan, Nanjing, Lhasa and others. The ticket amounts to CNY 70 (US$10.25) per head. A monthly ticket for public transportation costs 元 124 while 1 liter (1/4 gallon) of gas costs 元 124.

Around 80% of the city buses are air-conditioned; bus fare costs CNY 3-5 (US$0.44-0.73). That is the cheapest form of public transport, but most expats are discouraged since all buses are jam-packed at all times. One inner city bus ticket costs 元 2 to 3.

Taxi drivers charge CNY 7 (US$1.03) for the first 2.3 kilometers and CNY 2.6 (US$0.38) per succeeding kilometer. The subway makes use of stage fare system; it charges more the longer your trip takes. Lastly, the waterbus journeys would typically take 40 minutes and cost CNY 2 (US$0.29).

Most expats find the cost of living in Guangzhou manageable as it proves to be cheaper than in their home countries. However, it can get tricky as most shop vendors overcharge foreigners compared to the locals. Fortunately, haggling is widely practiced.


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