Which Teaching in China – Shanghai Vs. Beijing

China is made of many beautiful cities, which has contributed to its growth as a country. Among these cities are the very popular cities of Beijing and Shanghai. These two cities play a key role in the country’s growth economically, socially, and culturally. Due to the economic and industrial growth of the country, international trade is at its best. This has prompted the need for the country to explore better communication with foreign experts. One major role sort after due to an increased demand for better communication inChina is English teaching.

China remains an amazing place to develop one’s career, especially in international English teaching. Deciding where to teach among these two cities can sometimes be difficult as they offer great advantages to improving your international teaching experience. Should you consider a teaching job in any of these two cities, which will you go for? Taking up teaching jobs in Shanghai or choosing to teach in Beijing? To solve this, it is important to consider the qualities both offer towards teaching to help you make the best decision.

Although choices among people may vary, having a general concept of what to expect can help you weigh in on where may suit you best. It is very crucial to consider the available opportunities that suit your lifestyle. Here are a few things to know about before deciding on which is best between the two cities.

Similarities between Beijing and Shanghai

There are a couple of similarities when exploring the cities of Beijing and Shanghai. Identifying the different similarities can prepare you for what to expect.

Living costs and wages

Weighting the monetary cost of living in the two cities is important. As a foreigner looking forward to teaching in Shanghai or Beijing, you must understand how much you are bound to get and how much you will likely spend. Both have a minimum wage of RMB 12,000 monthly. And both have a similar cost for rent, feeding, electrical, water, and gas bills. An apartment in both cities should cost between 3,000 to 4,000 monthly.

Opportunities to work

Both Shanghai and Beijing are home to several expatriates. This means that both cities are thriving in work opportunities for foreigners. There is a large availability of teaching jobs in both cities. And a thriving demand for international teachers.

Language barrier

For international teachers in both cities, learning the language is not always compulsory, especially if you are an English as a Second Language teacher. However, if you have to, learning simplified Mandarin is enough to let you communicate better among your students and locals.

Weather condition

Heavy winters are general experiences for both cities in China. For international teachers, it is important to prepare yourself for the cold. One great thing is that most newer or modern homes will come with a heating system for both cities. Public locations and centers in both cities will also come with heating.

Teaching in Beijing vs. teaching in Shanghai

As similar as both cities can be, there are clear-cut differences between both, and these differences should be a foundation for you to decide on which to move to.

Teaching in Beijing

Teaching in China’s Beijing city is the real definition of big city life. Beijing is full of life, being the country’s heart of culture. Regardless of what you intend to teach in Beijing, it has a beautiful environment to draw inferences or conclusions. You will enjoy a wide range of things when you teach in Beijing as you will find yourself in a bustling metropolis filled with modern facilities and locations. This allows you to have everything you want, even at your doorstep. Transiting from home to work is easier as the streets are flooded with bikes for easier movement. They also have a well-planned and detailed public transport system at a fairly low price. An option to teach in Beijing exposes you to teach English with different schools and private academies. Also, you enjoy a competitive salary while teaching in Beijing.

Pros of teaching in Beijing

  • Teaching in Beijing guarantee maximum safety among other cities in the Asian country
  • Ever buzzing city full of vibes
  • Connection to various parts of the world
  • Home to various chain shops, including style restaurants
  • Access to learning Mandarin, the language with most speakers
  • Competitive salary
  • Proximity to the Great Wall

Cons of teaching in Beijing

  • Limited promotion options
  • Beijing is a busy city. You may often get tired before getting home
  • Teachers often need to be experienced with high qualifications. 

Teaching in Shanghai

Enthusiastic about taking teaching jobs in Shanghai? Shanghai has tons of English speakers, increasing your chances of meeting with foreign friends who can communicate with you. You don’t need to worry when you take up teaching jobs in Shanghai.

Shanghai is also home to several tourist sites and cultural heritages. Teaching there opens you up to exploring various cultures and traditions. However, the cost of living in the city can be a bit higher than living in Beijing, particularly in transportation, feeding, and entertainment.  However, teaching jobs in Shanghai come with higher wages.

Pros of teaching in Shanghai

  • Various available ESL jobs
  • It is the remains the biggest city in the world, making the chances of securing teaching jobs higher
  • Competitive salary
  • It is home to various cultural heritage and tourist attractions


  • It is a populated city, meaning you experience noise, crowds, and such
  • Living costs can be higher here than in other cities because of the large populationand demand
  • Getting to work may be delayed as there are too many pedestrian crossing


While there are many opportunities to live in China, it is important to identify the best city for you. Between Shanghai and Beijing, there are several teaching opportunities available however it is vital to weigh in on all the aspects of teaching in both cities before you decide to relocate. You should try to do further and deeper research before choosing either of these cities.

Vivek is a published author of Meidilight and a cofounder of Zestful Outreach Agency. He is passionate about helping webmaster to rank their keywords through good-quality website backlinks. In his spare time, he loves to swim and cycle. You can find him on Twitter and Linkedin.