This infographic shows the number of expats in China. Even after living in China for two years, I was amazed to find out the majority of expats in China are from South Korea (closely followed by the USA; less surprising).
Why did that surprise me? The two cultures of Chinese and Korean are kept very separate. Almost no Chinese people speak South Korean, and if you mention K-pop, K-beauty or Korean TV shows to young people in China, they scoff and tell you that China is better at all those things (and maybe there’s some chicken-and-egg going on here because the two styles are very, very similar). By contrast, if you don’t look Chinese, most people in China assume you speak English, even if you don’t. I was also surprised about the low percentage of South Americans and South Africans, since I know quite a few of both who live in China.
I was also surprised to find out that most expats in China live along the coastal region (loosely coastal, you still have to travel a couple of hundred miles from the main cities in most of these provinces, but the provinces themselves are the coastal ones). I was surprised that Shaanxi (where Xi’an is) and Sichuan (Chengdu) provinces were not teeming with expats, because these are great places to live and work, and I do know quite a few people who work in these areas.
While I made this infographic, it was less surprising to discover a third of expats living in China work in education, research and translation. China needs highly skilled, degree-educated workers to keep their economy forever growing and moving forward.
Click the infographic to enlarge. Keep scrolling for the graph of countries of origin for expatriates in China.
If you’re thinking of a move to China, follow my blog (right hand menu) to stay updated as I tell you everything I’ve learned about this mysterious and fascinating country in my two years of living there.
And here’s the graph with more of a breakdown of where those expats are all from although this one uses the 2010 data from the Chinese census so new data should be available for 2020 very soon: