SHANGHAI is ranked fifth in residents' average salary among all Chinese mainland cities, according to new numbers from statistics authorities.

The annual income of local residents was 51,968 yuan (US$8,185) in 2011, following the nearby cities of Hangzhou and Nanjing. Guangzhou tops the salary list at 57,473 yuan, while Beijing is ranked second.

"The lower-than-expected ranking of Shanghai is because the city used a different statistical measure from that of other cities," said Zhang Dongqin, an official with the Shanghai Statistics Bureau.

The bureau took into account the salaries of those on sick leave and long vacations, dragging down the average, Zhang told Shanghai Daily, suggesting the city's ranking would be higher if all cities used a common measure.

Shanghai residents' annual incomes increased by 11.1 percent last year, Zhang said.

Meanwhile, the city's cost of living remains the highest among all the mainland cities, according to the latest survey from the US human resource and consulting firm Mercer.

Shanghai climbed five spots to be ranked 16th globally in cost of living this year, followed by Beijing as the 17th. Shenzhen (30th) and Guangzhou (31st) are the next two most expensive mainland cities.

In China, Hong Kong tops the list by taking a position at ninth, making it the fourth most expensive city in Asia, where Tokyo takes the lead, the survey said.

Relatively low salaries and an expensive cost of living have made Shanghai rank 20th among the 32 mainland cities on residents' feel about their quality of life, according to a nationwide economic survey recently.

There are also big income gaps among employees of different industries, said Feng Nailin, director-general of the department of population and employment statistics of the National Bureau of Statistics.

In Shanghai, for instance, employees in the financial sector earned much more - 167,173 yuan annually - than workers in other industries thanks to the lucrative financial market, followed by the city's electricity and water supplier industries. But workers in domestic services, hotel and catering industries - among the least profitable jobs in the city - have an annual salary of about 23,000 yuan.

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