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How much money you might need, how to pay for thing in China, and how to send money from China to your bank account back home. 

Money Management

How much money should I bring to China?

We recommend teachers to save a 15,000-20,000 RMB to help with upfront costs.

What are some upfront costs of arriving in China?

1. Rent - 1 month upfront +1-2 months agency fee (7000-9000 RMB)

2. Health check- 450 RMB

3. Phone / Sim Card - 200 RMB upfront then 80-90 RMB per month.

4. Fapiao - 6 - 12% of rent to be paid upfront before receiving the fapiao.

5. Utilities - 100+ RMB per month depending on usage.
6. WIFI - 700 - 1300 RMB upfront (6 months - 12 months) + Service Fee 100-200 one time.
7. Passport / Social Insurance Photos - 20 RMB for Passport photos, then 65 RMB for the other photos for social insurance.
8. Residence permit - 400 RMB to be reimbursed by SDE afterwards.

9. Metro Card - 100 RMB upfront (45 RMB for the card & 65 RMB for credit).

10. Opening Bank Account - 10 RMB deposit.

How can I pay bills? 

Bills can be paid via bank ATM, WeChat or Alipay.

How do I handle taxes as an American abroad?

SDE will help with this. The United States practices tax equalization. Since the Chinese tax rate is higher than the United States’, teachers will generally only pay Chinese tax, deducted each month, and file a US return, with no payment due. Of course, if you have other forms of income, your circumstances may be different, and we encourage you to consult a tax professional.

Is Shenzhen an affordable city to live?

While Shenzhen is a modern city, it will be more expensive than smaller Chinese cities. However, it is still very affordable for those looking to save money. 

Is it possible to transfer money outside of China?

Yes, it is possible to transfer money outside of China. You can do an international wire from your bank or use western union. If you buddy with a Chinese local, they can help you transfer money back home quite conveniently.

How can WeChat connect to my bank?

Once you have opened a bank account, you will have to enter in WeChat your personal and bank information to link both accounts. Once completed, you are free to pay directly from your bank account via WeChat! Almost every store and person accepts WeChat pay.

How do I set up a local bank account?

As part of orientation, an English-speaking staff member will take you to the bank to help you open an account. 

Watch a video created by our teachers which goes over managing your money in China!

发布时间: 2017 - 07 - 20

Questions about finding an apartment, how to pay for it, and what else might be your responsibility regarding your housing while living here. 


How do I go about finding an apartment? 

Your Foreign Teacher Management Specialist will be there to help you find an apartment.

What is housing allowance and how is it different from salary?

Salary and housing allowance is paid together via direct deposit. With a fapiao provided, housing allowance will be tax-free.

What is a "fapiao"?

Fapiao is an "invoice" provided by your landlord or landlady showing how much you pay in rent each month. This will be used to get your housing allowance tax-free. Your housing allowance will still be tax-free even if you rent cost is below or above your monthly housing allowance. 

What is the average monthly rent of an apartment?

The monthly rent per room will vary from 2,000-4,000 RMB depending on size and location.

Is there a deposit on renting an apartment?

Most landlords in China require a 2 month deposit for rent. There will also be an agency fee of typically ½-1 month’s rent.

How much are monthly utilities? 

This will vary, but expect to pay 200-400 RMB per month for utilities.

How are the living standards in China compared to Western standards?

The living standard in Shenzhen is very good. Shenzhen is a very modern city with new building and apartments. However, don't expect everything to be the same as your home!

Will internet be pre-installed?

Unlikely, please refer to the Money Management part of the FAQs to see the upfront costs of moving in.

发布时间: 2017 - 07 - 20

How to get around China once your here, from the subway, to other question you might have about traveling around. 


What is a convenient way from Hong Kong airport to Shenzhen?

In terminal 2, there are sky limos (bus services) that each fit 4-6 people and will drop you off at the huanggang border. It is approximately 120-150 Hong Kong dollars and will take 45 minutes. 

How can I explore Shenzhen? 

Shenzhen has many different options for exploration. Transportation options include: metro, bus, taxi, Uber (Didi), bike sharing and even someone to drive you around on a bike (illegally).

Can I buy a metro card to use on all transit? 

Your FTM Specialist will help you get a transit card. It can be used on the subway and bus. For the cost of this card, please refer to the money management part of the FAQ.

How can I navigate the metro?

It is recommended to all foreign teachers to download an app called "MetroMan"

Is it easy to get to Hong Kong from Shenzhen or Zhongshan?   

There’s many different ways to get to Hong Kong. You can either go through one of the many subway transfers, by care, or by ferry.  

What else is there to go near Shenzhen?

There are almost too many great destinations near Shenzhen! Macau, Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Taiwan, and all of Southeast Asia are just a few of your options.

Is the transit information written in English?

It is mostly in Chinese and Chinese Pinyin. There will announcements during transit will be made in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese.

Is there a taxi request service app like Uber in Shenzhen?

Yes. Didi, partially funded by Apple, is available in Shenzhen.

What are some convenient ways to Hong Kong?

Most of our teachers find the two most convenient way to be at the Huanggang port and taking a Skylimo to and from the HK international airport. Another convenient way would be the ferry. 

发布时间: 2017 - 07 - 20

What you might want to know regarding technology in China, from basic questions about the internet, to mobile phones and so on. 


How is the internet in China? 

You will find any website and application extremely fast in China.. However, anything based outside of China will either be blocked or very slow. China has its own version of every Western website (YouTube, Facebook, Spotify, etc.)

Do foreign websites work in China?

Due to restrictions set by the Chinese government, some websites will not be accessible without using a VPN. 

What is a VPN? Is it legal?

A VPN is a virtual private network. It will allow other users and your computer to believe that you are located elsewhere depending on where you choose to connect to. Once connected, you will be able to browse the internet in the location you are connected to. For example, if you connect to Hungary, you may be directed to Hungary Google. VPN's not approved for use by the Chinese government. however, they have shown little concern of foreigners using VPNs. In the past, VPN services have been shutdown by the government. 

What are some VPN recommendations?

Most of our teachers use Astril or Express VPN. You may do some research to decide which VPN is best for you. 

What exactly can the WeChat app do in China? Why is it a must have?

WeChat is everything good and nice put together into one application. You will find just about everything is linked to WeChat (including your bank). All communication whether business or personal is done via WeChat. You will be in many group chats sharing newly discovered stickers and sending red pockets (you will find out soon enough). If you don't have it, you will find it very hard to connect with others.

How do I go about setting up a mobile phone number?

As part of orientation, an English speaking staff member will be with you to set up a mobile phone number.

Any other mobile app recommendations to download before I come?

Pleco is a great translation app that will be used very often. It is also recommended to connect your VPN to your phone. 

发布时间: 2017 - 07 - 20

What can I do about learning Chinese? How much Chinese do I need? And other questions about learning Chinese. 


Do I need to learn Mandarin before coming to China?

No, you do not; but it definitely doesn’t hurt to learn! You will find your experience here in China more enjoyable and enriching if you study some Mandarin before arrival.

How can I learn or study Chinese before arriving? 

There are a ton of online resources! You can start practicing your reading with Chineasy, practice listening and speaking with Chinesepod and learning vocabulary with Memrise.

These SDE non-affiliated resources can be found here: www.chineasy.com  www.chinesepod.com  www.memrise.com

Do Chinese people speak Mandarin, Cantonese, or both in Shenzhen? 

Chinese people in Shenzhen speak to you Mandarin. In Hong Kong and Guangdong province, locals speak Cantonese to other locals, but will use Mandarin for foreigners and other non-locals.

How can I learn or study Chinese after arriving?

Keep using the resources you’ve used prior to your arrival and stick with it! Always try to use the language you’ve acquired. There a lot of Chinese people wanting language exchange partners, as well as tutors and Mandarin language schools looking for foreign students.

Is it easy to get involved in language exchange groups? 

Ask another SDE teacher! There is always someone who knows a person that knows a person.

Can I easily find a Chinese tutor?

If you want to learn Mandarin seriously, you may have to find a serious Chinese tutor. There will be plenty of Chinese people offering to tutor you. Make sure you pick the right one!

发布时间: 2017 - 07 - 20
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