Living cost compared: Shanghai - Taipei


#1

Are there any (reliable) quotes on the living cost ratio between Shanghai and Taipei? I once got that book from AmCham on living cost in Greater China, but their data were pretty old, and IMO their numbers were not really based on comparable data.

Friends of mine are possibly moving here from Shanghai, and he’s discussing the contract with his company, so he would like to have some detailed data. Though I lived in Shanghai until March, I’m very bad at estimating costs and numbers. I’d guess that Taipei is at least 30-50% more expensive than Shanghai, German bread costs the same, a litre of milk costs about double. I don’t exactly know about rent, in Shanghai, we stayed in a place that belonged to a friend, so rent was low. I guess it’s more expensive here, but how much? My friends have a baby and will probably move somewhere out of town where the air is better and the grass is greener :wink:

Does anybody have experience with living in Shanghai and here and would be able to compare the cost? Or does anybody know where to find numbers?

Thanks
Iris


#2

Iris,

I would estimate the costs to be fairly comparable. But, I think you can actually rent a place for less here, with a little bit of leg work. I know my pals in Shanghai pay around 2500 US for a 3 bedroom place. I think you can get a pretty nice place for less than that here. I know people that live out in the Warner Village area that spend more (around 3500 for a 4 bedroom) but have other friends who live downtown that have a very nice place for 70,000 NT (which is $2000). They could also live a bit more “local” for cheaper and or live out in Neihu or XiZhi for cheap cheap cheap. Like the prices out at Lotus… $25,000 ($725)average for a 3 bedroom BIG place (acording to Alien et al).

I also think Dining Out here is less than Shanghai. We were just there last July for a long weekend and our Dinners on average cost us around $100 US for 2 at a “mid range” place. (more in Xin Tien Di of course) but ave price for dinner for 2 at a mid range place here is around NT$2000 so about $60.

Anyway, my NT$2

Kristy


#3

IMHO Shanghai is much more expensive than Taipei. I found that there is nothing for an expat to do but go to wildly overpriced pubs and restaurants in Shanghai, or sit at home and listen to construction noise. Dreadful place - although they do have rugby. I’ll say that in its favour. To me it was just like Hong Kong but with Mandarin and no English.


#4

I don’t know, I always feel that I spend much more money here. Partially due to the fact that there are more opportunities to spend money. We would hardly get anywhere else but office, supermarket and compound during the week in Shanghai, and there were no shopping opportunities around those places while here, I pass several boutiques during lunch hour, have a night market in front of my appartment and hardly ever cook (or rather have my flatmate cooking for me).

Anyway, my friends will not be looking for the cheapest places but probably for the most convenient and Western places, possibly a house in a nice environment. They love to go out for high-class food and they won’t buy their furniture at Conforama (btw, IKEA in Taipei is about twice as much as IKEA in Shanghai, I compared the prices). I think especially Western products (including food stuff) are more expensive here (and sometimes harder to find).

But Hexuan and Kristy, thanks for the input.

As to things to do in Shanghai, we were never bored. We would meet friends, go to parks or a market. We would walk through those great old streets with beautiful old houses for hours, sometimes even at night, something I miss here terribly (many, many nice old buildings, not just one here and there). And we hardly ever went to overpriced clubs. I think we went to Xintiandi twice in all the time I lived there. Xintiandi is not Shanghai!

Thanks anyway
Iris


#5

I found that there is nothing for an expat to do but go to wildly overpriced pubs and restaurants in Shanghai …

Coming from Kuala Lumpur that can also be said about Taipei …


#6

I moved from Shanghai to TPE 1.5 years ago.
My cost of living differential (which is based on living expenses
excluding housing ) was increased by 33%.

The housing rental costs are signficantly lower here if you compare reasonable expat. accomaodation its almost 50% lower in TPE.


#7

scuba, do you mean that the restaurants and bars are more expensive here but housing is more expensive? What about the price of going out to pubs in XinTianDi compared with Taipei upscale pubs? Probably the same no? What about other things like ADSL internet fees, mobile phone and international calls? Which place are these things cheaper? By the way, how to get real TV and newspapers in China? Everytime I go, I can only find CCTV1, CCTV2 CCTV3 and so on, as well as only China Daily which is nthing but government sanctioned and approved news. Is foreign TV and print media available there and is it more expensive?

Also, I never found anything like Eslite bookstore in Shanghai, is there a place besides a hotel lobby or airport with an uncensored selection of English books?


#8

Hobart
Regarding the cost of living differential , this is not my calculation but that of my company who take the data from a source that compares costs of
for example "an average basket of food from a a supermarket " .This data is available (I dont know where) for every country in the world.

My personal experience on restaurants is that at the top end they are more expensive in Shanghai (eg the Tandoor Indian restaurant there…but the food quality is great). At the middle & low end it more expensive in TPE. Pubs as restaurants.

TV .As an expat you can get all the typical cable channels in SHG in fact my selction was better there than here.
TPE is better for buying english language books. Having said that I havent visited SHG in over a year & things change very quickly there.


#9

Hobart
Regarding the cost of living differential , this is not my calculation but that of my company who take the data from a source that compares costs of
for example "an average basket of food from a a supermarket " .This data is available (I dont know where) for every country in the world.

My personal experience on restaurants is that at the top end they are more expensive in Shanghai (eg the Tandoor Indian restaurant there…but the food quality is great). At the middle & low end it more expensive in TPE. Pubs as restaurants.

TV .As an expat you can get all the typical cable channels in SHG in fact my selction was better there than here.
TPE is better for buying english language books. Having said that I havent visited SHG in over a year & things change very quickly there.


#10

Hobart:

I agree with Scuba on the food thing: middle and low end food are more expensive here, and some of it was way better in Shanghai. I can’t really tell on the high end food (besides, we hardly ever went to Xintiandi, neither do my friends, there are many much more interesting places in Shanghai). Grocery shopping seems more expensive here, too, as I said, 1l of milk costs about double here from what we paid in Shanghai. I thought there was this kind database that compared living costs everywhere, but didn’t know where to look for it. I also tried to find my book on the comparison of living costs in Greater China, don’t know where I put it.

As to books: The selection of the Foreign Language Bookstore in Shanghai isn’t too bad. You can get loads of English books there (like, books printed somewhere else, not just the cheap classics printed in China), and some other languages as well. Actually, it’s probably the best place for books in Shanghai. Once in a while, “That’s Shanghai” would have a feature on the best book stores in Shanghai, maybe they’d have some resources on their website? I never managed to read all the books I bought in the Foreign Language Bookstore, but I admit to also stocking up whenever I go to Europe or Singapore.

But you’re right on the print media. Great leap forward :? , they actually started selling foreign newspapers and magazines in our supermarket in Shanghai (where many foreigners shop), but these were still more than a week old, and you wouldn’t get anything newer at the airport. As to TV, we’d prefer Phoenix in Mandarin from Hong Kong (very easy to understand because slower than the Mainland news), CNN would be on and off, and I think you’d get at least STAR movie channel, but we would usually just watch VCD and get the news we wanted from the internet.

I’m still not sure about the housing costs. My friend was told by his company everything (including living costs) would be cheaper here in Taiwan. I’d estimate they paid about 2500 USD for their house (two storeys, about 4 bedrooms, not attached, garden) in a compound southwest of Hongqiao Airport (not quite within the city anymore). They’ll probably look for something similar here in Taipei (or rather out of Taipei), possibly close to Tienmu (for the shopping and food). I don’t see them in the Huayuan Xinsheng in Hsintien (personally, I think that would be a great place to live, but not for them), probably not even in an apartment building. I don’t really know such places, but I guess I’d best just tell them to get in touch with an agency.

Anyway, thanks for the input
Iris