Depending on which country you come from, the comparison of cost of living may vary. So take our article only as reference to estimate cost of rent, electric, water etc.
Renting an apartment runs between 5,000 RMB to 50000 RMB for expats. For example a 170 square meter three bedroom apartment costs around 5900 RMB per month and includes management fees, furnishings, DVD player, Chinese cable TV (setup), microwave, toaster oven, washer, dryer, 2 TVs.
Housing for the locals is below 5000 RMB and usually has no lifts (elevators). If your Mandarin is good and you enjoy the experience living among locals, there are plenty of choices to choose from.
You should pay your electric bill at local banks every other month. In China, everything is prepaid. There is no invoice system. In order not to have the services interrupted, you must pay attention to paying bills. For two months around 2000 RMB. Now, this is an outrageous amount of expense to the locals because that may represent their entire month’s salary. But the expenses of air condition for head and cool is high.
For two months around 100 RMB for water bills. It’s for 2-3 people pretty good. There don’t have water heaters like those in the US. Instead, the water line goes through a heating unit and the water gets really hot fast.
Water is not drinkable in Suzhou. Even the locals don’t drink them. Normally you subscribe to bottled water. This will mostly out a hot and cold water dispenser. The normal size use bottle have 18,9 liter an cost between 10-28 RMB each. Normally the water will delivered and install by the water provider company.
There is a card similar to a credit card inserted into the gas unit in our kitchen. It has a meter on the unit. You have to prepaid the gas bill, the monthly cost for 2-3 person around 200 RMB.
Chinese Cable TV
This is the Chinese TV networks from many regions outside of Suzhou. There are about 30+ channels. It has one English Channel, CCTV 9. CCTV 5 is the sports channel. Although it’s in Mandarin, you can watch many kind of sports on CCTV 5. The cost is 72 RMB for 6 months.
When you let install one dish incl. a receiver you can received many of the USA, England, German and Asian TV English programs (about 40-50 channels). It costs 1500 RMB for the installation and 2 years fees. Mostly this price is illegal (pirate) installation. The original legal price is between 3500 – 6500 RMB. The signals are good but very often the weather disturb the signal and the network is down. Illegal installation can be down for several days and then you get a new smart card.