China has released the data of their 7th Population Census, which shows a total of 845,697 foreigners in China as of November 2020, which is an increase in the number of foreigners (593,832) who lived here in 2010. When including residents from Greater China (Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) then there were over 1.4 million foreign residents living in China.
The Census data also revealed that China’s total population reached over 1.4 billion, with a significant rise in the number of over 60s as a percentage of total population.
Another key point of interest in the data was the decline in births in 2020 (12 million babies born) representing an 18% drop from 2019 (14.65 million).
Impact on foreigners in China and opportunities
The increase in foreigners over the last 10 years shows an increase in foreign investment into China over the past decade, but it does not show whether there has been a steady rise during the last 10 years, or whether a peak has been reached.
Despite the perception of the employment opportunities becoming increasingly difficult for foreign workers in China, the Census data does also point to potential opportunities in the future.
China’s working-age population stands at 63.35%, which is down almost 7% from 2010. Combined with an increase in the over 60s, now comprising 18.70% of the population (an increase of 5.5% since 2010), makes some experts predict that foreign workers will potentially have opportunities in the future.
In addition to the well-documented demand for international education in China, there is also an increase for elderly Healthcare and Wellbeing Services with foreign businesses being ideally placed to bring their expertise and experience to the China market in the future.
Business travellers to China
As the Census data is recorded only once every 10 years, it is very difficult to see the impact that Covid-19 has had on the number of foreigners entering China. The one piece of data that can highlight an impact is the number of business travellers in China as of November 2020. There were 204,962 foreigners who travelled to China for a business trip in 2010, but in 2020 that number was just 77,008, a clear sign of the impact of Covid-19 on travel.
We hope that these restrictions will slowly start to ease later in the year, depending on the local policy as well as the status of vaccinations and cases in countries around the world.
If you would like to have more information about your planned return to China, or opportunities for your company to enter the market, please contact us!