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An Expat’s Guide On Moving To Dubai From China

With China pushing the Belt and Road Initiative in the UAE, opportunities for expats are abundant in Dubai, especially in sectors such as AI, clean energy, and infrastructure. Before you move to Dubai, there are many factors you have to consider, from finding the best places to live to healthcare.

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Are you looking to explore new opportunities in Dubai? Or perhaps you have just accepted a job in Dubai and are doing research before you relocate. In this article, we will go through everything you need to know on moving to Dubai from China, from places to live to healthcare and health insurance.

After reading this article, you’ll want to check out our comprehensive guide about moving to Dubai as an expat and our article about how to become a citizen in Dubai.

What to Expect About Living in Dubai Coming From China     

Guide To Living In Dubai Coming From China

When Dubai is portrayed in movies, they tend to focus on the modern luxurious attractions the emirate has to offer but rarely what it will be like living there. It is important to consider aspects like cost of living, cultural difference, and the intense desert heat before moving to Dubai.

Dubai Culture

Dubai, like the rest of the UAE, has deep Islamic roots which is reflected in local laws. The most significant difference is the strict laws on public dress codes. Whilst modern, the culture can be quite conservative, both men and women are required to dress modestly.

In public, women should dress in a way that covers the shoulders and knees. Public displays of affection, a.k.a. PDA, is also considered a taboo and should be avoided.

Cost of Living in Dubai Versus China

To maintain the same standard of living of RMB ¥26,000 (AED 13,048) in Shanghai and RMB ¥24,000 (AED 12,044) in Beijing, you would need RMB ¥42,036 (AED 21,000) and RMB ¥42,475 (AED 21,320) respectively in Dubai.

Synonymous with luxury, the cost of living in Dubai can be quite high even when compared to major cities in China, such as Shanghai and Beijing.

As with most places, rent in Dubai will most likely make up the bulk of your monthly expenses. The amount you have to pay for rent will depend on several factors. The main factors that determine your rent is the size of your apartment and the location. 

The Range of Average Rent in Dubai:

Apartment Type Annual Rent in AED (RMB)
Studio Apartment 30,000 – 50,000 (59,767 – 99,612)
2-bedroom 80,000 – 100,000 (159,379 – 199,224)
Villas (4-bedroom) 200,000 – 265,000 (398,448 – 527,944)

Read a more in depth exploration of the average rent in Dubai in our blog post.

Climate in Dubai

Before you move to Dubai, please take note that the UAE is an arid desert region. As such, you might need some time to acclimate to Dubai’s intense summer dry heat which can reach up to  41°C. Summer in Dubai typically begins in April and lasts until early October.

To give you an idea of the climate in Dubai, below is a table of the average monthly temperature in Dubai.


Month Temperature (Low – High, °C)
January 14 – 24
February 16 – 25
March 18 – 29
April 21 – 33
May 25 – 38
June 28 – 40
July 30 – 41
August 31 – 41
September 28 – 39
October 24 – 35
November 20 – 31
December 16 – 26

Available Visas for Moving to Dubai from China

Visas for Moving to Dubai from China

There are several visa options available to Chinese expats moving to Dubai including the employment visa, family visa, and the golden visa.

Employment Visa

The employment visa is the most common work visa used by expats in Dubai. To apply for this visa, expats will need a UAE employer to sponsor their application. Expats cannot work in the UAE without this visa.

Please note that there is also a virtual employment visa which is used for expats who work remotely for a Dubai company. 

Family Visa

The family visa is used for family members of an expat with a valid residency visa. These can include an employment visa or an investor/business visa. Family members can also apply for other visas on their own if applicable.

Golden Visa

The golden visa is used for those who are starting or investing in a business in Dubai. These visas require proof of investment funds and a business plan approval. Golden visas are long term visas that are valid for five to 10 years.

Student Visa

Student visas, as the name suggests, are for educational purposes. Student visas last for up to a year and can be renewed for the same duration as long as proof of continuous study is provided.

Best Places to Live in Dubai

Dubai is one of the most developed emirates in the UAE, from the iconic landmarks of the Downtown area to the stunning scenery of Dubai Marina, there are a lot of great places to live in Dubai. If you are considering moving to Dubai, here are some of the best places to live in Dubai for expats.

Healthcare Services In Dubai


Dubai’s Downtown area features iconic landmarks as seen in movies like the Burj Khalifa. As one of Dubai’s best known areas to offer diverse entertainment, dining options, and a vibrant nightlife, the Downtown area has an array of amenities that makes it a convenient place to live for expats.

Average annual rent Downtown:

  • Studio apartment AED 25,000 (RMB ¥49,811)
  • 2-bedroom apartment AED 60,000 (RMB ¥119,545)

Dubai Marina

Beach access, upscale dining options, and glamorous nightlife is what makes Dubai Marina special. The marina area has a laid back vibe with ample pedestrian-friendly trails that are perfect for walks and light jogging. The stunning view and nightlife makes it perfect for single and couple expats.

Average annual rent in Dubai Marina:

  • Studio apartment AED 40,000 (RMB ¥79,697)
  • 2-bedroom apartment AED 80,000 (RMB ¥159,395)

Al Bashar

Despite being further from major business hubs in the emirate, Al Bashar gives expats a delicate balance between the bustling city life and relaxing suburb living. The suburb area features its own metro station, shopping malls, parks, and restaurants making it the perfect place for expat families.

Average annual rent in Al Bashar:

  • Studio apartment AED 41,000 (RMB ¥81,690)
  • 2-bedroom apartment AED 81,000 (RMB ¥161,387)

Healthcare In Dubai

Dubai’s healthcare system consists of a public sector, managed by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), and a private sector. Locals can access the public sector for free through the Health Card system, expats can also obtain a health card for around AED 350 (RMB ¥697).

Famous Places to Live in Dubai

Public vs Private Healthcare

One key difference between the public and private healthcare sectors in Dubai is the cost. The public sector is available for free for Emiratis and it is relatively cheap for expats whilst medical fees from private healthcare facilities can be quite costly.

Another difference that sets the two apart is the quality of service and the waiting time. Generally speaking, the private sector has better quality service when compared to the public sector. Public healthcare facilities also have a longer waiting time when compared to private healthcare facilities.

Despite public healthcare being free for Emiratis and cheap for expats, the private sector is more widespread due to the better quality of service. The private sector is especially favored by expats and foreigners due to having staff equipped to help foreigners in different languages.

Making Sure You’re Well Insured

As mentioned above, Dubai’s private healthcare scene, whilst being recognized to meet international standards, can be quite costly. As such, it is recommended that expats secure their own comprehensive health insurance plan on top of the mandatory health insurance provided by their employers.

A comprehensive health insurance plan can do more than help you cover medical fees when you’re ill. Certain plans also provide coverage for preventive measures like routine screenings. By monitoring your health regularly, you can get ahead of potential illnesses to improve your overall well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of living in Dubai compared to China? 

The cost of living in Dubai is higher than major cities in China such as Shanghai. To maintain a standard of living of RMB ¥26,000 (AED 13,048) in Shanghai you would need approximately RMB ¥42,036 (AED 21,000) in Dubai.

What is considered a good salary in Dubai?

A monthly salary of AED 10,000 (RMB ¥19,927) – 15,000 (RMB ¥29,891) is considered to be a decent salary in Dubai. The average monthly cost of a single person (excluding rent) is approximately AED 3,883 (RMB ¥7,737).

How hot does it get in Dubai during summer?

Dubai’s climate can be very hot and dry as it is located in the Arabian desert region. Summer starts in April and ends in early October. The temperature can reach up to 41°C during the summer season.


Dubai can offer expats many opportunities, especially if you are from China. China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative is creating abundant opportunities for expats to move from China to Dubai. This unique opportunity sets China apart from other places such as the US, Canada, or the UK.

Before moving to Dubai it is imperative that you consider the cultural difference and the high cost of living. The Islamic roots of Dubai means that, whilst modern, there is still conservative culture, men and women must dress modestly in public.

Dubai generally has a higher cost of living than China, as such, personal budgeting is imperative in order to ensure a certain standard of living. That is why it is important to secure a comprehensive health insurance plan to prevent avoidable medical expenses.

If you’re looking to secure an insurance plan, Pacific Prime can help you! With 20 years of experience in the industry, our insurance experts can help you navigate through complex procedures and simplify your insurance process to offer you the best plan for your needs and budget.

Contact us today for an obligation-free quote and plan comparison.

Content Creator at Pacific Prime
Vista is a content creator at Pacific Prime. With over 8 years of writing experience for online platforms on various topics such as luxury lifestyle and digital entertainment. He enjoys diving into complex and otherwise confusing topics, and creating easy-to-understand content for the readers to help them navigate through the topic - something that’s perfectly aligned with Pacific Prime’s motto of ‘simplifying insurance’.

Born and raised in the cultural melting pot that is Hong Kong, and having studied at an international school, Vista has developed a multicultural perspective that he uses in his writing and strives to connect to people of different backgrounds.

In his free time, Vista enjoys immersing himself in different worlds, from video games to light novels and movies. His hobbies help him expand his writing style by putting himself in the point-of-view of different people and characters.
Vista Nip