Housing in China

China Travel Guide

Housing in China

Housing in China - What to expect from housing from schools in China

Housing in China is one of the first things we’re asked about with new teachers. This guide has been written to give you further information about what to expect. As a teacher, you will most likely live in a small apartment – either on your own or with another teacher. If you need your own flat, you should negotiate this before signing your contract.

Housing in China is sometimes provided free of charge with your salary package depending on where you choose to live, but schools rarely pay for your utilities. Your apartment will be fully furnished including the necessary kitchen appliances. As a rule, first tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen will likely offer a nice housing stipend in your monthly salary and help you negotiate your housing through a housing agent that works directly with the school.

For teachers who are heading to second-tier and third-tier cities, most schools rent directly to teachers, meaning that your housing is secured from when you arrive in China.

Direction of the apartment – Which way does your apartment face?

Most Westerners in China don’t care too much to which direction an apartment faces.

For the Chinese, however, the direction is an important factor. For one, feng shui dictates certain blessings that are associated with directions. The second reason is that the direction of your apartment might determine the TV signals that you receive.

Utility bills – China housing

The tenant (that’s you!) usually pays gas, water, electricity, and telephone charges. The total monthly cost of these is generally around $65 USD which is the average for one year. Expect higher electricity bills during winter and summer. T

hose charges can be paid to any convenient stores like Kedi, Lawson or Convenience 21; or also at the post office or the bank. Bring your bills with you.


China uses a standard of 220 volts and 50 cycles. Plugs come in at least four designs: three pronged angled pins (as in Australia), three pronged round pins (as in Hong Kong), two flat pins (US style but without the ground wire) and two narrow round pins (European style). You will be able to buy most kind of adapters in China, but it is a good idea to bring a few with you to start.

Water – China housing

The tap water is not drinkable or must be boiled before drinking. It is recommended that you use water dispensers with water jugs. The base unit can be purchased at any supermarket. Water containers can be delivered as needed.


Gas is billed bimonthly. Most kitchen burners use gas.

Cable or Satellite TV

Most buildings are cable ready, and give you access to Chinese channels (about 50 channels), and only one in English (CCTV 9). Some apartments have satellite TV installed but it is quite rare. However if you do want to install it, installation fees cost from $280-570 USD.

Phone & Internet

There will be a separate bill for the Internet charges. Usually you need to pay $70 USD for the installation of a broadband Internet connection and every month you pay $20 USD for the leasing.

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