10 Jan 2nd Tier Insights: Embassies and Consulates
We have analyzed the consulates and embassies in China’s major cities. We hope you find the data useful for investigating China’s changing level of internationalisation.
The cities with the largest number of foreign embassies and consulates in China remain to be Beijing and Shanghai, with 171 embassies in Beijing and 71 consulates in Shanghai respectively. Guangzhou then had the third highest number with 56 consulates. This is somewhat predictable considering the city’s close proximity to Hong Kong and Shenzhen, in addition to the fact that Guangzhou was one of China’s first special economic zones. These factors mean that it both retains one of the highest levels of FDI in China in addition to having the third most expats after Beijing and Shanghai.
The cities with the next highest number of consulates have also remained Chengdu and Chongqing. These results are representative of the increasing interest in west China that has emerged in recent years. Chengdu now has a total of 14 consulates as of 2019, this shows that it has become a highly attractive destination for foreign companies looking for a less saturated market than the cities of the coastal region. Chengdu is becoming a highly important city for both visitors and companies for central and western China, a direct result of this is that 278 fortune 500 companies have set up in Chengdu as of 2017. Similarly, Chongqing is another example of a growing interest in second-tier China. It currently has 10 consulates, including the only British, Dutch, Danish, Hungarian, Canadian and Japanese consulates in west China.
The city with the next highest total was Shenyang, the largest city of China’s north-east region. Shenyang is a city steeped in history and, due to its proximity to Russia, Japan and Korea, has often been integral to events in China’s tumultuous history. The influence of these cultures has formed amalgamations in Shenyang’s cuisine and cultural traditions. The population composition of the city also reflects this blend of cultures: Shenyang has the highest number of Korean expats of any city in China, as well as a significant number of Japanese and Russian residents. The city’s geographical position therefore also explains why the city hosts consulates for Russia, Japan, South Korea and the DPRK. Thanks to the central government’s plan of 2003 to revitalize the north-east, Shenyang’s automobile industry has exploded, as well as its product manufacturing and hi-tech industry. This has led to a healthy influx of foreign investment; in 2014, foreign trade in Shenyang rose to $15.8 billion, a 24% increase compared to two years prior. This may explain why France and America have both opened consular branches here.
The countries with the most consulates in China are South Korea and Thailand. Both countries have consulates in 10 different Chinese cities. Despite tensions rising over North Korea, Sino-Korean relations remain stable thanks to the growing economic relationship between China and South Korea. China is now South Korea’s largest trading partner with exports to China now accounting for 26% of all exports. People are moving abroad to capitalize on this relationship and South Koreans now constitute China’s largest single foreign group, with a total of 21% of all expats on the mainland. This explains why the South Korean government has made great effort to fully represent their citizens living abroad in China.
The large number of Thai embassies hints towards the growing importance of trade between China and the bamboo network of south-east Asia. This has risen further since the FTA between China and ASEAN came into effect in 2010. Thailand also plays host to the largest number of Chinese living abroad, in addition to this 14% of the Thai population are considered to be ethnically Chinese. Ties between the two nations can be traced back to hundreds of years and Thailand also remains a staunch supporter of the One China Policy in the face of tensions rising over the South China Sea. As a result, trade between the two nations continues to rise year-upon-year. The large number of embassies in China’s main centres for economic development would therefore suggest that the Thai government plans to fully represent the interests of their citizens working and living abroad in China.
For more information about living or working in China, please contact Maxxelli