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Moving and Storage, Sorted: How to Move Even If You’re Not in China

Life in cubic meters.
Last updated: 2020-04-14
From the directly and minutely useful to information on living your best self in the world. How To is our regular column on how to accomplish things in the city.

Now that non-residents are barred from entering China and international flights are cut to a bare minimum, you may have decided it isn’t worth paying rent on an empty apartment in a country you can’t get back to, with no clear end to the global pandemic in sight. If you are in Shanghai or abroad and need of putting your things in a storage space or in need of relocation services, you aren’t alone. One company we talked to said they have seen a 20 percent bump in remote-moving demand.

So, here are several storage and moving companies that can help pack up your things into neat boxes to wait patiently for your return.

First, a couple bits of knowledge you’ll need to navigate this:

How much is 1 cubic meter? 1 meter x 1 meter x 1 meter. Like, a bit more than a washing machine.

I have a one-bedroom, 60 sqm apartment. How many cubic meters is my stuff? It really depends on how much stuff you have. If you take most of the furniture (including a queen size bed, wardrobe, sofa, tables, chairs, TV and bike) you will need about nine cbm.

What is Huolala and how does it work: We mention Huolala a couple of times below: it's like Didi for cargo. You can rent a truck on the Chinese-language Huolala app (download here) which will come with movers. English services are only found through online chat (hidden within the app — groan). It’s not the smoothest service in either language, but it's an option for transport.

A truck for a small house move within 12km for places with elevator access includes a 8.67 cbm van, two movers and costs 458rmb. Extra services need to be discussed beforehand with your movers, and cost extra. Disassembling and packaging of large furniture like a bed will cost 180rmb.


YouYou Space

You You Space has been around for more than ten years. They offer basic self-storage as well as door-to-door relocation services including remote-moving for people whose stuff is in Shanghai, even if they personally are not. They do both international and domestic door-to-door moving, including packing, transportation, storage, and unpacking at the final destination.

Remote-moving? Yes. Get your landlord to open the door and then direct the movers by WeChat video call.

Packing and Transportation: Varies. Packing and transportation to storage is about 1,000rmb for an individual’s apartment and 2,000rmb for a family, but depends on how much stuff you have. Packing material costs 100-300rmb. Expect international shipping to vary from normal during this special virus period.

Storage Pricing: Their B2 size storage is 2-5 cbm in size and costs 698rmb/month. There is a one-month contract minimum, and they ask for three days advance notice to end a contract.

Storage Details: Storage spaces have 24/7 access, are equipped with CCTV, have personal access codes for the building and a personal lock. The facilities are temperature-controlled and storage units are above ground. Your storage unit can even receive mail while you’re away.

Contact: You You’s website is in Chinese, English and Japanese. For English services, call Steven at 158 2103 0431.

Payment: Foreign and domestic cards, PayPal, Alipay and bank transfers.

Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a big, international company with a history of more than a century (outside China) and relocation services to 47 countries. They also provide storage, pet and vehicle transportation and even visa services.

Remote-moving? Yes. Done by WeChat call.

Packing and Transportation: Local moves are a minimum of 4,500rmb for 10 cbm of stuff. That includes door to door service with packing, delivery and unpacking.

Storage Pricing: Storage costs 180rmb/cbm/month, with a minimum of 5 cbm stored for two weeks. If you are looking for longer storage of more than three months, then the price is 140rmb/cbm/month. They are currently offering a small Covid discount on moves until end of April.

Storage Details: Storage is in a large communal warehouse; you don’t have personal access to your things. The facilities are temperature and humidity controlled. They also sell insurance for your stored belongings.

Contact: Santa Fe has English language services along with a ton of other language options. They can be reached at their Shanghai branch (6233 9700), by email or their website.

Payment: Bank transfers or sweet, sweet cash.

SAE Asia

SAE Asia is a door-to-door moving service that was founded in Shanghai in 2005.

Remote-moving? Yes.

Packing and Transportation: SAE provides door-to-door service including packing, domestic and international transportation, storage, and unpacking for a household move. They also provide pet relocation and insurance for the whole process. They have a minimum local move amount of five cbm which costs 2,500rmb, with each additional cubic meter costing 250rmb. Packing materials are included.

Storage Pricing: There are two categories of storage: high-end and normal. For high value items such as fine art and wines, the cost is 500rmb/month for up to three cbm and then every additional cubic meter is 100rmb/month.

For normal storage, the minimum storage length is one month at a rate of 300rmb/month for up to three cbm. Every additional cubic meter is 80rmb/month.

Storage Details: The warehouse storage space is monitored 24/7 with CCTV and is temperature- and humidity-controlled. There isn’t self-access to the facilities but arrangements can be made to send needed items.

Contact: SAE Asia can be reached at 400-680-6132 and have excellent English services as well as English, French, and German versions of their website.

Payment: Cash, bank transfer, PayPal, and credit card in many different currencies.


Keron International is based in Shanghai and has been operating since 2010. They provide door-to-door domestic and international relocation as well as storage.

Remote-moving? Yes.

Packing and Transportation: Packing, unpacking and packing materials are all included in the door-to-door service. A local city move is a minimum of 2,500rmb for up to five cbm. Insurance can also be purchased to cover the whole process.

Storage Pricing: The minimum storage time is two weeks and the cost of storage is 80rmb/month/cbm.

Storage Details: The storage facility is a second-floor warehouse. The communal environment is temperature-controlled. If customers have special needs, Keron can accommodate by building special units inside the warehouse. If you need access to your things, you can schedule a time to go to the warehouse or Keron can ship your things.

Contact: They have good English phone service at 400 821 5527 and a Chinese and English website.

Payment: Foreign and local cards, WeChat, Alipay and bank transfers.


MiniCC is a German company operating self-storage since 2010. They have a space calculator on their website where you choose what household items you have and they give you an estimate on the storage size needed.

Remote-moving? No.

Packing and Transportation: About 700rmb for transport and 200rmb per worker per hour to pack your stuff up. Both are done through third-party companies. You can also use Huolala.

Storage Pricing: MiniCC offers four storage size ranges. A medium space of three sqm in area and height of 1.5m costs 173rmb/week. The minimum rental length is four weeks. Contracts are then week by week.

Storage Details: They have locations in Hongqiao, Putuo, Caoyang, Huangxing and Pudong. Storage access is by appointment only. Facilities have CCTV surveillance and are humidity controlled at 60 percent. There is no fixed temperature control but the associate we talked to said it remains at 20-25 degrees Celsius even in summer.

Contact: Their website is, and have decent English service at their number 400 900 8923.

Payment: Paypal, Alipay

Ree Storage 瑞易微仓

Ree Storage is another self-storage company. They only provide storage services but can connect you with movers if needed.

Remote-moving? No.

Packing and Transportation: 1,000rmb by third-party company, or Huolala.

Storage Pricing: They have many locations around the city center. Storage is priced at 110rmb/month/square meter of space, so a three sqm area costs 330rmb/month. There is no deposit fee and minimum storage time is one week. A security box costs 39rmb/month with a minimum one-month storage. You will need to buy a lock from them or provide your own.

Storage Details: Access is 24/7. Most locations are basement storage. They keep the humidity at 60 percent.

Contact: They have nice, patient customer service when we called 400 106 0199, which is needed when communicating in English. Their website is in Chinese.

Payment: WeChat, Alipay, bank transfer or cash.

Public Self Storage 大众迷你仓

The national self-storage chain Public Self Storage has locations near the city center.

Remote-moving? No.

Packing and Transportation: 600-800rmb by partner company, or Huolala.

Storage Pricing: They require a deposit of one month’s fee and have a minimum storage time of one month. The medium storage size of eight cbm costs 969rmb/month. Pricing and promotions at each storage facility are different, with places in Pudong being cheaper, so call ahead to a specific store to get a quote. If you eventually need to toss out your things in storage, they will find a company you can pay to make your things disappear.

Storage Details: There is 24/7 access for clients. They keep the storage facility temperature between 20-25 degrees Celsius and the humidity at 60 percent. The store we called provided locks. If you add them on WeChat they have a 360 VR tool where you can see their facility and see the sizes of storage units. They have fire and flood insurance. If you need individual insurance, they can connect you with an insurance company.

Contact: Basic Mandarin is need for phone calls at 400 833 3083. If your language skills are lacking, English communication is better over WeChat messaging. Their website is in Chinese.

Payment: Alipay, WeChat and local bank cards only.