Do Most Chinese Speak English?

Taking an English Proficiency Peak Across China (Pt.

China is increasingly becoming important in the world and many people want to learn English because it teaches how to communicate with English speaking persons and much more. But this is a complex question with geographic, economic and educational implications of whether or not most of the population here speak English.

English skills: Statistical Overview

A recent reports indicates that about 10–15 % of the Chinas population possesses some fluency in English. That is 140 million to 210 million people. This illustrates a high number of English speakers, however, it does not make up the plurality of the populace.

Educational Influence

Chinese English learners, for whom English is compulsory from primary through to high school, and thus are being exposed to the language in ever greater numbers. We will have to begin a three-block year of formal English language education for every student 9 years old or older in schools across the country to develop their language skills as a base level for having basic conversations.

Urban vs. Rural Discrepancies

Language Most Chinese urbanites speak fairly good English, most people in rural China do not

Urban Areas: A larger percentage of the population of all ages in major cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, who also facilitates themselves in international trade to some extent, can communicate in English, often more than 25%, by English lessons in schools and businesses and tourism.
Rural: English Proficiency is low when it comes to rural areas where there is lack of educational resources along with low accessibility of language.
Use of English in Business / Technology

English as an essential tool for the tech industry, trade, and multinational business operations. Further, many of the professions and businesses represented in these fields have a relatively higher proportion of people fluent in English at an advanced level, which is important for their roles within a global economy.

Impact of Globalization

The globalisation of the economy of China has equally called for the diffusion of the English language. Young professionals, learners and business people are especially driven to pick up the English language to increase the chances of doing well in their education and work-life.


Although many Chinese can speak English, especially in cities and industries, it is not completely true that most Chinese speak English. Though the majority of the English-speaking population has English as a second language, Chinese dialects are still the language of communication for the large part.

For further detail on English in China (and how it affects public and private life), check out the in-depth analysis at so do most chinese speak english. It provides an in-depth perspective on the patterns of English learning and mastery in a country of incredible diversity: China.

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