China minimum wage standard, four provinces and cities have increased their minimum wage.

SAFEGUARDS | Labor Standards NO. 109/19

SafeGuardS chinese worker

The legal minimum wage is the lowest amount which employers may pay to employees for work performed within the legal standard working hours, or specific working hours in accordance with their employment contract. According to the new Provisions on Minimum Wage, the minimum wage is one of two types – a monthly minimum wage and an hourly minimum wage. The monthly minimum wage applies to full-time employees, and the hourly minimum wage applies to others such as part-time and temporary employees. In recent years, the minimum wage in various provinces and cities nationwide has become stable.

By July 1, 2019, four provinces and cities have increased their minimum wage standards(Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Shanxi), and the minimum wage in six districts exceeded 2000CNY, including Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, A class regions in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Guangdong. The minimum wage in Shanghai has been adjusted per year for 10 years, and the monthly minimum wage has reached 2480CNY, ranking first nationwide. Meanwhile, the hourly minimum wage in Shanghai has been raised to 22CNY, which is the second highest behind Beijing (24CNY). According to data from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the monthly minimum wage in Qinghai continues to be the lowest at just 1500CNY; the next position was taken by Anhui with a monthly figure in the A class regions of 1550CNY. The latter was adjusted on January 1, 2018, so the number won’t be changed soon.

In the table below, we can see that in the four provinces and cities the adjusted minimum wage in Class A areas has exceeded 1800CNY. In terms of rate of increase, B class regions in Chongqing ranked first, reaching 21.4% both monthly and hourly, and in C class regions Shanxi also increased by 8.1%. While Beijing and Shanghai adjusted only last year, the increase rate is low, and the ratio for Shanghai monthly and hourly were 2.5% and 4.8%. In terms of differences between districts, Chongqing and Shanxi shared a same gap of minimum wage in different regions (100CNY), which was small. Due to national conditions, there are huge gaps between the level of economic and social development in provinces and cities, causing the huge differences between minimum wages in these districts. So far, speaking of minimum wages, there is a huge gap of 980CNY between Shanghai (2480CNY), ranking first and Qinghai (1500CNY), ranking last, which shows that the wealth inequality problem in China still needs improvement.

Although only four provinces and cities adjusted the minimum wage in the first half of 2019, a 40% decrease compared to the same period last year, many provinces are expected to follow. Based on the notice that minimum wage adjustments should be made at least every two to three years, Hebei, Tianjin, Inner Mongolia, Fujian, Guizhou, Gansu, Hunan and Qinghai are coming closer to the adjustment, and macro-guidance system for enterprise wage distribution is now being improved.

As of July 1, 2019, four provinces and cities have updated their minimum wages. Further information is listed in the following table: (sorted by Class area from highest to lowest):

Provinces/Cities Class Effective date Monthly (full-time) Hourly (part-time)
2019 (CNY) 2018 (CNY) Increase rate (%) 2019 (CNY) 2018 (CNY) Rate of increase (%)
Shanghai A 2019/04/01 2480 2420 (2018 data)
22 21 (2018 data) 4.8%
A 2019/07/01
2120 (2018 data)
24 22 (2018 data)
A 2019/01/01
1500 (2016 data)
20% 18 15 (2016 data)
1400 (2016 data)
17 14 (2016 data)
A 2019/05/01
1680 (2017 data)
7.1% 18 16.8 (2017 data)
B 1700
1580 (2017 data)
17 15.8 (2017 data)
C 1600
1480 (2017 data)
16 14.8 (2017 data)
D 1380 (2017 data)

13.8 (2017 data)

Remarks : * The monthly minimum wage and hourly minimum wage standards in Shanxi Province was adjusted to 3 levels.

** A, B, C, D mean regional level in each province.

Data source: Human Resources and Social Security department (bureau) websites of provinces and cities listed in the table

Table design : SGS RBS

SGS Service

SGS has been involved in social accountability since its inception and has been offering tailored audit services since 1996. Supported by the largest network of highly trained auditors, with extensive experience of reviewing operations with particular emphasis on factory capability, labor standards, environmental compliance and business integrity we can support your responsible purchasing policies. For further information, please contact us or visit

Responsible Business Services (RBS)

Shenzhen Office
t: +86 (0)755 2532 8137

Hong Kong Office
t: +852 2774 7440

For enquiries, please contact:

Olina Cai
Marketing officer
t: +86(0)755 2532 8137

Stay on top of regulatory changes within your industry: subscribe to SafeGuardS!

Read more articles for the Consumer Goods and Retail industry

© SGS Group Management SA - 2019 - All rights reserved - SGS is a registered trademark of SGS Group Management SA. This is a publication of SGS, except for 3rd parties’ contents submitted or licensed for use by SGS. SGS neither endorses nor disapproves said 3rd parties contents. This publication is intended to provide technical information and shall not be considered an exhaustive treatment of any subject treated. It is strictly educational and does not replace any legal requirements or applicable regulations. It is not intended to constitute consulting or professional advice. The information contained herein is provided “as is” and SGS does not warrant that it will be error-free or will meet any particular criteria of performance or quality. Do not quote or refer any information herein without SGS’s prior written consent.