Cost of an Ayi

Cost of an Ayi

By Jenny Zhu December 12, 2011

Costs vary depending on the type of work they do and the type of arrangements you make, e.g. if you employ someone for 2 weeks or come in for a few hours per week, the rates will be higher than someone who comes more frequently.

Hourly based (钟点工/zhōngdiǎngōng): this is the most common type of ayi. They come in for several hours everyday to do household chores. As inflation soars in China, the wages of lower end labor has increased significantly in the past year. Last year, the average salary of an hourly based ayi was around RMB12/hour. But this year, it’s at RMB15.  The type of ayi who also cooks and cooks well could command an even higher salary to around RMB 20. My ayi who cooks for us gets RMB1700 for 4 hours everyday from Monday to Saturday.  But some ayi’s who have worked for you for a few years and are in good terms with you might work for less. (The ayi who has worked for my parents for 10 years is working for RMB12/hour because she gets along with them very well). And if you are just looking for someone very short term or come in for a few hours every week, you could be paying around RMB20-25/hour.

Live-in child caretaker: this is a highly sought after type of ayi as many Chinese parents both work and it requires more skills and experience than someone who just cleans.  I have been very blessed with the nanny situation. My nanny, Xiao Wang was the first nanny I hired and she has been working for almost a year now. When she started in February this year, she asked for RMB2500/month. 5 months onwards, the market price has risen to about RMB2800 to RMB3000. So I gave her a raise. And next year, she will be getting RMB3200 because this is what the market price is. So I’d say anything between RMB3000-3500 is a reasonable number in Shanghai now. If you have more than one young kind, expect to pay around RMB5000. But sometimes the nanny would refuse higher rate and insist on you hiring a second nanny.  I have to say though live-in nannies are no easy feat. They practically work 24/6 tending to your child and help with minor household work. (Usually they take a day off each week).

Below is a table from the Chinese government website from April 01, 2012 about the per hour rate and monthly salary. You can use this as a reference when talking salary with your prospective ayi.


Description of Grade

Service Charge



RMB/Per Hour

RMB/Per Month

Grade 1

One year and above industry experience with absence in foreign service experience, service skill can meet ecumenic requirements.



Grade 2

Two years and above industry experience with one year+ foreign service experience, part of service skill can meet high requirements.



Grade 3

Two to three years industry experience with one year+ foreign service experience, service skill can meet high requirements as well as special skill, and be familiar with foreign proprieties & criterion. Additionally, simple communication in oral English is a must.



Grade 4

Upon the above requirements of service skill of Grade 3, fluent in oral English.




Hour service charge will have a range based on difference of service time or service frequency.