Tier 2 cities are the most extensive sub-provincial cities which are largest prefecture-level cities with added autonomy economically. Tier – 2 also called as ‘new first-tier cities’ is generally made up of provincial capitals, sub-provincial cities, Special Economic Zones and other more developed cities with cultural and economic influences. These cities have undergone rapid development due to increased domestic and international investment and have prospered greatly from opportunities afforded by their advantageous location.

  • A total of 15 cities are included in the list of tier two cities
  • Directly controlled municipalities, provincial capital cities and economically important cities
  • The population is between 3 – 15 million in these areas


For ESL teachers the housing is almost always provided by the schools with a few exceptions when schools rather pay a stipend that you can use to find your own
housing. If you are renting your own room or apartment, then this will be your biggest outlay each month other than the basic monthly utilities including water, heating, electricity and internet. The cost varies from city and should be a factor in mind.

  • Cost of Renting a private apartment in the city centre: 3000 RMB
  • The utility bills in a Tier 2 city is roughly around 130 RMB per month.


Depending on where you live, you’ll encounter all sorts of big shopping centres in China. Most of the stores have a section for westerners if you have a craving for a
favourite product you get at home and should also be able to find the toiletries you use back at home. However, a part of living in a new country is to try new things and such you should apply that to your grocery shopping as well.

  • Fruits and Vegetables- 100 RMB
  • Dairy- 150 RMB
  • Toiletries- 50 RMB
  • Other grocery items- 100 – 150 RMB
  • Beer- 5 RMB per can
  • Wine- 50 – 60 RMB per bottle


The transport in China is cheap, efficient and very modern. It is easy to get around with diverse choice of local transport including extensive bus network, subway metro
systems, taxis and other local transport such as motor pedicabs. All the large regional cities are connected with trains and numerous high-speed rail services.

  • Taxi/Didi: 12 RMB Base Fare + 2 RMB/km
  • Metro: 3 RMB
  • Bus: 2 RMB/trip
  • High Speed Train: Shanghai to Beijing (1070 km) in Standard class is 450 RMB, Premium class is 750 RMB and Business class is 1500 RMB

Leisure Activities

When it comes to entertainment there are numerous options in China as people have more disposable income. All the cities have a wide selection of activities to choose from depending on the interest and taste. Cinemas which feature newly released English Language films, foreign bars and clubs with reasonable prices for drinks, getting a gym membership, visiting historical, cultural and scenic sites. Also, people hardly cook food at home and prefer to dine out or order a delivery.

  • Eating in a restaurant: 2500 RMB
  • Food delivery: 1200 RMB
  • Movies: 35 RMB
  • Museums: Free entry
  • Park: Free entry to most of the parks
  • Scenic Spots: 100 – 180 RMB each entry
  • Bars and Clubs: 160 RMB (average)
  • Gym membership: 100 – 150 RMB

All the figures in the table are approximate only and can vary