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Average Salary in China

In 2024, the average monthly salary in China is reported to be around 1,301.701 USD. The yearly figure would be the monthly amount multiplied by 12, giving an annual average of approximately 15,620 USD.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding average salaries in China provides insights into its economic condition and development.
  • Wage determinants include education, experience, location, and industry, showing regional and sectorial disparities.
  • These factors are crucial for business strategy and assessing the potential for economic engagement with China.

China Average Salary Insights

In China, the landscape of average wages varies significantly across different sectors. These disparities reflect the economic structure where technology and manufacturing are pivotal. Internationally, China’s average salaries show interesting contrasts against both developed and emerging economies.

Average Wages by Sector

  • Software: In the ever-evolving information transmission sector, software engineers in China can expect to earn wages comparable to their counterparts in many global tech hubs.

  • Manufacturing: This cornerstone of China’s economy might offer consistently growing wages, keeping pace with the nation’s industrial development.

  • Education: Teachers and academic professionals receive salaries emphasizing the country’s dedication to educational excellence.

  • Construction & Real Estate: Within the high-demand construction sector, wages reflect the country’s continuous urbanization and real estate development.

Comparison with International Salaries

Wages in China stand in an interesting juxtaposition when compared with other nations:

  • USD: In dollar terms, China’s average wages appear less than those in the United States but demonstrate the country’s competitive cost of living.
  • Germany & Belgium: Compared with countries like Germany and Belgium, Chinese wages in sectors like manufacturing are lower, highlighting differences in economic scales and social systems.
  • Russia & Indonesia: Compared to Russia and Indonesia, Chinese wages are often higher, representing the nation’s significant economic progress.
  • Japan & South Korea: While Japanese and South Korean salaries might be higher in technology sectors, China competes closely in manufacturing.
  • Malaysia & Pakistan: Professionals in China generally receive higher wages than those in Malaysia and Pakistan, reflecting a larger and more diversified economy.
  • Singapore & Taiwan: These Asian tigers offer competitive wages, especially in niches like finance and technology, which are on par with or even surpass China’s averages in similar sectors.

Minimum Wage Policies

In China, minimum wage policies play a crucial role in both the economic structure and in providing basic income security for millions of workers. These policies are designed to keep pace with the cost of living and are subject to regional variability.

Legal Framework

The central government in China establishes the legal framework for minimum wage, which must be followed by all regions within the country. Key legislative acts and regulations determine the lowest legal amount that can be paid to workers, with the aim of safeguarding their welfare and ensuring fair payment for labour. Employers found violating minimum wage standards may face legal consequences, including fines and sanctions.

Minimum Wage by Region

Within China, the minimum wage varies significantly across different provinces and cities, in reflection of the diverse economic conditions present throughout the country. Local governments have the authority to adjust the minimum wage levels, with the stipulation that revisions should occur at least every few years. Differences in minimum wages across regions can be pronounced, with economically prosperous areas typically offering higher wage floors. Here’s an illustration of the variance:

  • Shanghai: Known for having one of the highest minimum wages in China.
  • Inner Regions: Some of the lower minimum wages are found in less developed areas.

Efforts to monitor and adjust minimum wage standards are ongoing, and they are an integral part of China’s socioeconomic policy landscape.

Standard of Living

In evaluating the standard of living in China, one must consider the disposable income available to its citizens as well as the varying living standards across different regions of the country. These facets provide a clear picture of economic well-being and access to goods and services.

Disposable Income

The disposable income of Chinese households provides insight into the economic capabilities of its citizens. The St. Louis Fed’s report stated that real per capita household disposable income is a critical measure for understanding economic position. In 2015, the average real per capita income in China was reported to be $12,472.51, aligning with the world median but remaining below the world average. This figure has implications for Chinese citizens’ ability to spend and save after accounting for taxes and social contributions.

Living Standards Across Regions

Differences in living standards across Chinese regions are significant and notable. The coastal areas, such as Beijing and Shanghai, often see higher incomes and standards of living when compared to inland provinces. The average salary in China in 2023 can range widely, highlighting regional disparities. Varying levels of income affect regional access to healthcare, education, and housing, thereby influencing overall living standards. Urban areas generally exhibit a higher standard of living due to concentrated economic activity and employment opportunities.

Industrial Classification and Wages

In China, wages are intricately linked with the industrial classification and ownership type of an enterprise. This structure significantly influences the average annual wages of employees, particularly in urban areas and across different types of companies such as private enterprises and limited companies.

Industrial Sector Analysis

The industrial sector in China plays a pivotal role in determining wage scales. For instance, different industries come with varying wage averages that align with the economic value generated and the level of skill required. According to recent data, urban private units report distinctive wage numbers compared to public sectors. The Industrial Classification of National Economy is a standard referenced for wage statistics, ensuring consistent categorization across the board.

Wages by Ownership Type

Ownership types within China’s economy, such as private enterprises and limited companies, showcase varying wage levels. For example, in 2021, urban private units saw an average annual wage increase, indicating not only annual fluctuations but also the impact of the type of ownership on employee earnings. The differences in wages can be attributed to the business models, revenue generation capabilities, and the extent of government affiliation.

Influences on Salaries in China

Salaries in China are shaped by a variety of factors, among which economic expansion and the increasing value of education and experience stand out as significant determinants.

Economic Growth

China’s impressive economic growth over the years has been a primary influence on the rise in average salaries. This growth has led to a higher demand for skilled labor, pushing wages upward. The growth rate, one of the world’s highest, reflects the country’s advancement from a primarily agrarian society to an industrial powerhouse and now a major player in the global digital economy.

Education and Experience

The correlation between higher education levels and increased pay is evident in China’s labor market. Individuals with specialized skills or higher educational qualifications tend to command higher wages. Likewise, experience adds considerable value, with seasoned professionals often occupying positions that offer salaries well above the national average. The emphasis on education and the accumulation of experience translate into a more skilled workforce capable of supporting China’s economic objectives and innovations.

Sectorial and Regional Salary Trends

Salary trends in China vary significantly across different industries and regions, reflecting the diverse economic landscape. The technology and information sector often leads with higher pay scales, whereas traditional sectors like manufacturing show varied trends depending on region and industrial focus. Urban areas, particularly in the eastern region, typically offer higher salaries in comparison to other parts of the country.

Technology and Information

In the technology and information sector, employees in urban China, and particularly those in coastal regions, tend to earn significantly higher salaries. Annual wages in the IT sector can reach up to approximately 220,400 yuan, highlighting the industry’s competitive edge in compensation. This sector is dynamic, with a high demand for skilled professionals driving up salaries.

Manufacturing and Construction

Salaries in the manufacturing and construction industries have a wide range across regions, with the eastern coastal areas generally offering higher wages reflective of the advanced industrial activities. Employees in these sectors in less developed inland regions may receive lower compensation, indicating a regional disparity within the sector.

Real Estate and Catering

The real estate and catering sectors paint a complex picture of wage trends across China. Regions with high economic activity, like the Eastern region, see higher average wages. For instance, in the urban non-private sector, wages are substantial, indicating a robust market. The catering industry, on the other hand, often shows lower average salaries, which is a trend consistent across most regions.

Sector-specific and regional aspects of China’s economic framework significantly influence salary trends, demonstrating how geography and industry type are potent determinants of an employee’s earning potential.


In recent years, China’s average salaries have witnessed a notable upward trend, influenced by various factors such as education, industry domain, and experience level. By May 2023, the monthly salary for an average worker in China has been estimated at 29,300 Yuan. This figure translates to approximately USD 4,214 when considering exchange rates of that period.

Regionally, disparities in compensation are evident with Eastern China, including key economic areas such as Beijing and Shanghai, reporting higher annual salaries. In 2022, for instance, private employees in this region earned on average around RMB 72,965. Such regional variations underscore the impact of local economies and urbanization on wage patterns.

In the realm of executive compensation, an increase tied closely to company performance has become more prevalent. This shift towards performance-based incentives reflects a broader move within China’s corporate structures, prioritizing results and financial outcomes.

For businesses and individuals, these figures and trends are not mere statistics but valuable data points for planning — from salary negotiations to strategic hiring decisions within the dynamic Chinese job market.

Given this landscape, entities must remain adaptive and informed to navigate the evolving salary trends effectively, ensuring competitive positioning for talent acquisition and retention in China’s diverse and growing economy.

At RemotePad, Lech draws on his professional experience to write about employment taxes and payroll (both remote, and in-office). Lech holds a Bachelors’ degree from the University of Kent, a Master of Arts (MA) from Kings College London, and professional payroll and tax qualifications. He has 20 years experience advising on all manner of tax and business planning matters.