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A marketing expert in China

Liyu Hu is 25 and works for a marketing agency in Shanghai. He is in charge of market research and data analysis. 

He studied at the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology for four years and did a master's degree in Sweden. On returning to China, he moved back in with his parents. When talking to foreigners, he calls himself Leo – most of them can pronounce that.

Income, basic costs, retirement provision

Hu earns 6,900 yuan a month (about €900 or £800). From this he has to pay towards social security and the state housing fund, which is intended to help people to buy their own homes. Together, the contributions come to about €170. He lives rent-free with his parents, which is lucky as Shanghai rents are among the highest in the world. He gets to work by underground and the Chinese bike-sharing service Mobike, which costs him €26 a month. He spends another €85 a month or so socialising with friends.

What does working mean to you?

It is a challenge. Some people get nervous about challenges, but to others they are as exciting as bungee jumping. I belong to the second category.

What is the most important thing in your life?

To keep learning more and more, and to get better and better at my job. I am currently at a critical phase, which could affect my entire life. If I want to achieve great things in the future, I must work for them now.

What would you like to change in your life?

My relationship status.

What are your biggest problems and how do you deal with them?

Probably primarily my time management. At university, I was always able to finish one task after another. My job is not like that – and it's something I still have to get used to.

What is a treat?

After a long stint working hard, I travel. I find that fulfilling.

What would you do if you didn’t have to earn a living for a whole year?

For the first six months I would learn more about my job, and for the second six I would travel. Ideally to Sweden, to remind myself of my wonderful time there.

How is China developing, in economic terms?

The country is undergoing a huge transformation. We are upgrading our industry. In future, we shall be using even more technology and science. This will take some time though. Until then, things will remain exciting.


Population: 1.4 billion
Currency: yuan renminbi (CNY)
(7.6 yuan renminbi = €1 = 89p)
GDP per capita 2016: €7,330 ($8,710/£6,495)
Human Development Index 2016: 90th place
(Germany: 4th place out of 188 countries; UK: 16th)

Current average costs

1 ticket for underground railway: €1 (89p)
100 grams of chicken: €1.20
1 egg: €0.20
1 packet of cigarettes: €2
1 cup of coffee: €3.80
1 bottle of water: €1.30