Do People in China Commonly Speak English?

Investigating Chinese Use of English

As China takes bigger and bigger place on the world stage, the importance of English within the country is growing. This increasing importance.. made itself evident in educational policies, business norms, and quotidian social exchanges — especially in urban areas.

English Education in China

The level of English in China is currently believed to be between 10% to 15% of the population. The result will be between 140m to 210m people. English starts with primary school learning for many, all the way to university in Mandatory English for Chinese from a young age. Part of this large program of education is to make students ready to interact on global level once they enter the real world.

English Proficiency in Urban vs. Rural Areas

In cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, English proficiency remains more common. They are some of the most important educational and economical centers in the world and host many global companies and sport events which forces and stimulates the use of English the most. In rural schools, the lower exposure to English translates to a lower overall standard of proficiency.

Business English

When it comes to the corporate sector within China, English is an important skill set for the same. Companies in China that trade internationally need employees that can speak English. Moreover, many multinational corporations in China use English as the lingua franca of their companies, which further integrates English as a language of business.

Culture and Tourism Interactions

Tourism has similarly driven the use of English in China. In many main tourist areas across the country, roads signs and services offer signage in the international language of MARKETING — English — in order to cater specifically and bring international visitors. That exposure helps to improve the English skills of the locals working in the tourism sector.

Challenges and Limitations

Even as English is taught widely, proficiency of English varies in large scale amongst demographics in various regions. The principle support base of education is reading and writing, the secondary support base is conversing and listening. This lack of practice often manifests as lower real world levels of fluent English than are thought given how so many people start learning English early.


English is though not spoken en mass in all places of China, the urban areas and more educated young demographics of China do speak a few words of English. Given that China is increasingly venturing out into the world, the phenomenon of English language of use and users are only going to grow.

However, for a deeper discussion of the position of English in China, the query "do people in china speak english" opens a wider, more multifaceted image of the English language among different outgroups, only of which in essence are determined by education, economy, or urban life.

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