A Guide to Minimum Wages in China in 2021

Posted by Written by Qian Zhou and Zoey Zhang Reading Time: 6 minutes

Minimum wages in China continue to grow.

So far, in 2021, the provinces of Heilongjiang, Hubei, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Ningxia, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Tibet, Xinjiang, Zhejiang, Shandong, Jilin, Hainan, as well as the cities of Beijing and Tianjin have raised their minimum wage standards. Meanwhile,  the city of Chengdu stated it would adjust its minimum wages this year.

Currently, Shanghai has the highest monthly minimum wage among 31 provinces (RMB 2,590/US$400 per month) and Beijing has the highest hourly minimum wage (RMB 25.3/US$3.9 per hour). Six regions – Shanghai, Guangdong, Beijing, Tianjin, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang – surpassed the RMB 2,000 (US$308) mark in their monthly minimum wage standards.

Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most regions postponed their minimum wage adjustment plans. Only three provinces – Fujian, Qinghai, and Guangxi – raised minimum wages.

Local governments in China are required to update their minimum wages at least every few years but have the flexibility to adjust wages according to local conditions.

Most provinces set different classes of minimum wage levels for different areas depending on the given region’s level of development and cost of living.

For example, a higher minimum wage class for the provincial capital and the most developed cities, and a lower class for smaller cities and rural areas.

Minimum wage in China guide

A complete guide to China’s minimum wages can be found below.

Minimum Wages in China 2021

Province/region Class City/urban area* Monthly minimum wage (RMB) Hourly minimum wage (RMB)
Anhui A Hefei 1,520 16
B Bengbu

Huaibei

Huainan

Xuancheng

1,350 14
C Anqing

Fuyang

Huangshan

1,250 13
D Certain county-level cities 1,150 12
Beijing 2,320 25.3
Chongqing A Certain suburban districts and counties 1,800 18
B Certain suburban districts and counties 1,700 17
Fujian A Xiamen 1,800 18.5
B Fuzhou

Quanzhou

1,720 18
C Zhangzhou

Ningde

1,570 16.5
D Sanming

Nanping

1,420 15
Gansu A Lanzhou

Jiayuguan

Yumen

Dunhuang

1,620 17
B Hezuo 1,570 16.5
C Linxia 1,520 15.9
D Certain county-level cities 1,470 15.4
Guangdong A Guangzhou 2,100 20.3
B Zhuhai

Foshan

1,720 16.4
C Dongguan

Zhongshan

1,550 15.3
D Shantou

Huizhou

Jiangmen

Shaoguan

Heyuan

Meizhou

1,410 14
Guangxi A Nanning

Liuzhou

Guilin

Wuzhou

Beihai

Fangchenggang

Qinzhou

1,810 17.5
B Yulin

Baise

Guigang

1,580 15.3
C Certain county-level cities 1,430 14
Guizhou A Guiyang

Qingzhen

Chishui

1,790 18.6
B Kaiyang 1,670 17.5
C Xifeng

Xiuwen

1,570 16.5
Hainan*** A Haikou

Sanya

Yangpu Economic Development Zone

1,830 16.3
B Qionghai

Danzhou

Sansha

1,730 15.4
C Wenchang

Other cities

1,680 14.9
Hebei A Shijiazhuang

Baoding

Langfang

Tangshan

Qinghuangdao

1,900 19
B Handan

Xintai

Hengshui

Zhangjiakou

Chengde

1,790 18
C Shenzhou

Xinle

Yizhou

1,680 17
D Certain county-level cities 1,580 16
Heilongjiang A Harbin (except certain districts)

Daqin

1,860 18
B Qiqihar

Mudanjiang

Jiamusi

Suihua

1,610 14
C Heihe

Yinchun

Daxinganling

1,450 13
Henan A Zhengzhou

Luoyang

Anyang

1,900 19
B Kaifeng

Puyang

Nanyang

1,700 17
C Weihui 1,500 15
Hubei A Wuhan 2,010 19.5
B Huangshi

Yichang

Huanggang

Tianmen

1,800 18
C Certain county-level cities 1,650 16.5
D Shengnong

Other county-level cities

1,520 15
Hunan** A Changsha

Zhuzhou

1,580 15
B Xiangtan

Yueyang

Changde

1,430 13.4
C Zhangjiajie

Yongzhou

Yiyang

1,280 12.4
D Loudi 1,130 11.6
Inner Mongolia A Hohhot

Erenhot

1,760 18.6
B Hulunbuir

Xilinhot

1,660 17.6
C Bayanur

Ulanhot

1,560 16.5
D Arxan 1,460 15.5
Jiangsu        A Nanjing

Suzhou

Zhenjiang

Changzhou

Wuxi

2,280 22
B Yangzhou

Nantong

Lianyungang

2,070 20
C Suqian 1,840 18
Jiangxi A Nanchang 1,850 18.5
B Jiujiang

Shangrao

Pingxiang

Ji’an

1,730 17.3
C Yichun

Fuzhou

1,610 16.1
Jilin*** A Changchun 1,880 19
B Jilin

Songyuan

Yanji

Huichun

1,760 18
C Siping

Liaoyuan

Tonghua

Baishan

Qianguo county

Fusong county

1,640 17
D Baicheng and the rest counties (cities) 1,540 16
Liaoning A Dalian

Shenyang

1,620 16
B Anshan

Dandong

Fushun

Yingkou

1,420 14
C Chaoyang

Fuxin

1,300 11.8
D Huludao

Tieling

1,120 10.6
Ningxia A Yinchuan

Shizuishan

1,950 18
B Lingwu

Wuzhong

Zhongwei

1,840 17
C Guyuan 1,750 16
Qinghai 1,700 15.2
Shaanxi A Xi’an 1,950 19
B Baoji

Hancheng

Hanzhong

Tongchuan

Weinan

Xianyang

Yan’an

Yulin

1,850 18
C Ankang

Shangluo

1,750 17
Shandong A Dongying

Jinan

Qingdao

Weifang

Weihai

Yantai

Zibo

2,100 21
B Binzhou

Jinning

Laiwu

Linyi

Rizhao

Tai’an

Zaozhuang

1,900 19
C Dezhou

Heze

Liaocheng

1,700 17
Shanghai 2,590 23
Shanxi A Most districts under Taiyuan; some districts and county-level cities under Datong, Changzhi, Jincheng, Shuozhou, Yizhou, Jinzhong, Linfen, Lvliang, and Yuncheng 1,880 19.8
B Most county-level cities under Datong, Changzhi, Shuozhou, Yizhou, Jinzhong, Linfen, and Yuncheng 1,760 18.5
C Other county-level cities 1,630 17.2
Shenzhen 2,200 20.3
Sichuan A Chengdu 1,780 18.7
B Certain districts under the jurisdiction of Chengdu 1,650 17.4
C Other districts and county-level cities 1,550 16.3
Tianjin 2,180 22.6
Tibet 1,850 18
Xinjiang A Karamay

Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous Region

1,900 19
B Changji

Shixenze

Urumqi

Wujyachu

1,700 17
C Aksu

Arai

Kashgar

Korla

Kumul

Tumxuk

Turpan

Wusu

1,620 16.2
D Atlay

Atush

Bortala

Dacheng

Gulja

Kuytun

1,540 15.4
Yunnan A Kunming 1,670 15
B Certain counties under the jurisdiction of Kunming 1,500 14
C Other county-level cities 1,350 13
Zhejiang** A Hangzhou

Ningbo

Wenzhou

2,280 22
B Huzhou

Jinhua

Shaoxing

Taizhou

2,070 20
C Lishui

Zhoushan

1,840 18
Province/region Class City/urban area* Monthly minimum wage (RMB) Hourly minimum wage (RMB)


Note: Highlighted areas denote jurisdictions that updated their minimum wage in 2021. The monthly minimum wage is for full-time employment while the hourly minimum wage is for part-time employment. 

*Certain provinces set minimum wage standards at the county or district level. The cities listed in the table are examples and are not exhaustive.

**Hunan, Zhejiang provinces allow each city to decide which minimum wage level to apply. The cities given as examples are therefore subject to change.

***Jilin’s and Hainan’s new minimum wage standards will be in effect from December 1, 2021.

China’s minimum wage: Understanding regional variation

Hunan, Gansu, Guizhou, and Zhejiang are among the regions most likely to adjust their minimum wages in mid to late 2021, given that they have not done so in the past three years.

Chinese regions often opt to increase minimum wages to keep pace with the cost of living increases, so other regions may also adjust their wage standards later this year.

That said, 2021 might not see many wage increases rolled out due to the coronavirus pandemic, as reducing the financial burden on enterprises and job stabilization will be prioritized. The reorientation of priorities is also set against the backdrop of an ongoing US-China trade war and an economic slowdown.

Regions may opt to freeze local wages in order to maintain their economic competitiveness amid the uncertainty.

As stated earlier, Shanghai continues to have the highest minimum wage in China, followed by Beijing (RMB 2,320/US$358 per month) and Shenzhen (RMB 2,200/US$339 per month).

At the lowest end, the minimum wage in Hunan (RMB 1,130/US$174 per month) and Anhui (RMB 1,150/US$177 per month) is slightly higher than Liaoning’s (RMB 1,120/US$172 per month).

However, while China is still among the most unequal countries in the world in terms of income inequality, it has made some progress over the past decade.

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, the country’s Gini Coefficient dropped from 0.491 in 2008 to 0.465 in 2019, where a higher number denotes larger inequality.

Impact on China’s labor costs

Minimum wages only tell part of the story of labor costs in China.

As China’s economy moves up the value chain and transitions to innovation and services, most workers employed by foreign-invested enterprises earn above the minimum wage.

For example, workers in Shanghai made an average of RMB 9,580 (US$1,475) per month through 2019 – nearly four times the local minimum wage.

Moreover, employer social insurance and housing fund obligations add an additional 37.25 percent to an employee’s salary on average.

China’s rapidly rising wages are partly explained by the country’s labor pool which, while enormous, is gradually shrinking.

In 2018, China’s employed population declined for the first time ever, falling by 540,000 for a total of 776 million.

This trend is exacerbated in China’s wealthy coastal regions – the traditional hotbed for foreign investment and manufacturing – which migrant workers are leaving in favor of inland China.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, in 2019, the migrant worker population in coastal provinces fell by 0.7 percent, while that of Western provinces grew by 3.0 percent.

For foreign investors, rising wages are an unavoidable feature of doing business in China.

Nevertheless, when other factors like productivity, infrastructure, transportation costs, and access to a massive domestic market are considered, China may still emerge as the more cost-efficient option compared to countries with lower statutory labor costs.

When comparing locations for foreign investment into China, minimum wages are a helpful barometer to gauge labor costs across different regions.

From there, identifying industry-specific wage levels, availability of talent, and access to regional incentives offer a more nuanced view of ultimate labor costs within a given region.

(The latest version of this article was published on October 28, 2021. The article was originally published in November 2018.)


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2 thoughts on “A Guide to Minimum Wages in China in 2021

    Uzay Ozsevimli says:

    Do these amounts given below include tax? Are they net wages or gross wages?

    “Shanghai continues to have the highest minimum wage in China, at RMB 2,480 (US$358) per month, followed by Shenzhen and Beijing, both at RMB 2,200 (US$318) per month.
    At the lowest end, the minimum wage in certain areas of Guangxi province is RMB 1,000 (US$145), with rural areas in Liaoning (RMB 1,120/US$162), Hunan (RMB 1,130/US$163), and Anhui (RMB 1,150/US$166) slightly higher.”

    Melissa Cyrill says:

    Hello
    Under the current individual income tax system, the threshold to pay tax is RMB 5,000, even if all other kinds of deductions are not considered. Minimum wage in all provinces are still below this number. In this sense, the minimum wages are tax excluded. The minimum wage standard doesn’t include allowances, overtime pay, and social insurance contributions paid by the employers, as well as non-monetary income. However, it does include the social insurance contributions paid by the employees. Thus, we cannot say it’s net wages.

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