"I'll be RICH!!!"
Well, comparatively speaking, yes. Your
salary, even the 2,200 rmb/month standard salary for
teaching at a university will make you a high-wage earner
by local standards. But,
you may or may not get rich in terms of what you will
leave with. Also, at the end of this
article is a week's worth of eating dinner out prices.
Its possible to earn 7,000
rmb +/month working at a private school and doing private
teaching. As costs are so low, you could easily save
quite abit of that. Some teachers are currently
making as much as 350 rmb/hour for private teaching.
Stay a few years, and... HEY! But, where to keep
The Bank of China, the big
state run bank in China will let you open a deposit
account, and even offers ATM cards. The cards,
however, have a daily withdrawal limit of around 2,500 rmb.
Also, a once state owned
bank that was spun off in the late 70's, CITIC, the China
International Trust and Investment Corporation (Ka Wah
Bank) is perhaps a more accustomed to the kind of requests
foreigners might make. Unlike the BoC, it is not
found all over China, but only in larger
If you get to earning large
amounts and saving it, you might be concerned with
currency fluxuations. Although the government pegs
the rmb to a stable exchange against the dollar, some
people prefer to hold their savings in US$. You can
convert you salary to hard currency. The amount of
you salary that you can exchange for hard currency is set
out in your contract. It can be as high as 70%.
Concerning bank accounts,
the key issue is availability of your
funds. If you opened an account in China your funds
would be unavailable for withdrawal once you left
China. The money stays in China in your bank
account. There is strict control over the outflow of
currency. We are all hoping that the W.T.O. will
change all this. This should happen in November
alternative if you are really making big money, is to
travel. In Hong Kong you can open a dollar account
at one of the banks; Hong Kong allows people to exchange
up to 5,000 rmb. But, you would have to live quite
close to Hong Kong to make this be a cost-effective.
Still another is to be teaching
in China with a foriegn owned school. Often, these
schools will make arrangements to use direct deposit and
pay into your account back home. The ironic
side of this is that most teachers have been unhappy with
the management and labor practices at foreign owned
Still a third option is to
leave with a check from your school. This would
require a high degree of confidence in your school.
The long and short of the
matter is that most people teaching English in China will
earn a great income compared to the local standards, but
not relative to their own country. Even if you saved the
50% of a 5,000 rmb salary, after 12 months that would be
27,000 rmb. It's unlikely that you would save that much
money. If you were lucky enough to, until the
banking rules change, you should expect to
enjoy your earnings while in China.