A vast metropolis situated on China's southeastern coast, Shenzhen is one of the country’s wealthiest and fastest-growing cities. What was once a small fishing village has transformed into a global technology hub and major megacity. Shenzhen’s impressive skyscrapers may astonish new arrivals who relocate here, while the array of lush gardens and nature trails are equally inviting.

Living in Shenzhen as an expat

This megacity has grown out of the Pearl River Delta, a geographic landmark that has made Shenzhen one of the world’s busiest container ports and vital link to neighbouring Hong Kong.

Its status as a Special Economic Zone has also allowed the city to become a key manufacturing and tech centre with a clean, extensive and efficient public transport network. Shenzhen and its surrounding areas host the headquarters of numerous multinational companies including Tencent, ZTE and Huawei.

Finding work in this city’s strong economic climate, therefore, may not be a major hurdle. The same goes for settling and integrating into life here.

Although perhaps less spoken about than other Chinese cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, Shenzhen draws in its fair share of foreigners. This influx has led to a growing number of services and facilities to meet the needs and desires of expats.

Cost of living in Shenzhen

Moving to this megacity can come at a high financial cost. Shenzhen is one of the most expensive cities in China, and was ranked 20th out of 227 global cities in Mercer's 2023 Cost of Living Survey, placing the city only below Shanghai and Beijing. So, while renting accommodation in a modern apartment complex may seem alluring, expats should be sure to budget appropriately – and do some research on the popular neighbourhoods. Choosing to live further out from the city centre can save expats a significant amount on rent.

Families and children in Shenzhen

The city is becoming increasingly popular among expat families, who enjoy its diverse selection of shopping centres, outdoor activities and restaurants to suit any lifestyle. Shenzhen's beautiful natural surrounds also offer nature lovers an easy escape from the frantic pace of life. Plus, Shenzhen boasts several top international schools for expat parents to choose from.

Climate in Shenzhen

The pleasant subtropical climate of Shenzhen is one of its best qualities. Average summer highs of 86°F (30°C) make for perfect beach days, as long as expats remember to slather on the SPF, stay out of the sun in the hottest hours of the day, and don a shady hat. When winter rolls around, minimum temperatures tend to be cool rather than cold, usually no lower than 54°F (12°C).

As with anything, there are both pros and cons to moving to Shenzhen. Expats who are open to the move may find magic and charm hidden in every area of the city and truly enjoy their expat experience.