The People’s Republic of China is the most populous country in the world. In 2017, the country’s population stood at 1.386 billion. In terms of the diaspora population, China is third globally at 10.7 million, the top being India (17.5 million) followed in a distant second by Mexico (11.8 million).
The top five destinations for Chinese emigrants are the United States of America (2.9 million), Hong Kong SAR (2.27 million), Japan (0.785 million), Canada (0.689 million), and Australia (0.641 million).
In 2018, China received $67 billion in remittance inflows, making it the second-largest recipient globally after India which received $79 billion over the same year. The United States and HongKong contribute over 50 per cent of the remittances.
Overseas Chinese send money from time to time to their families back home. The money helps insure their families against economic shocks as and cater to daily living expenses.
Whatever the reasons, if you want to send money to China, it helps to know the various methods to use, how the recipients will get the money, and other crucial factors to bear in mind. Read the sections that follow for more on this.
Sending money to China is simple and easy. Follow these steps to get started.
There are multiple ways to easily send and receive money in China but these will largely depend on the provider you decide to use. Below you will find everything you need to know about sending and receiving money.
There are several ways Chinese in the diaspora can send money home. However, the main channels are banks and online money transfer services.
You can transfer money from your bank abroad to your family in China through inter-bank transfers. However, both of you must have bank accounts. If you transfer money from your bank to a local bank in China that is state-owned, regional or rural, your transfer may cost more and take a long time to get to the recipient.
There are international banks and branches of foreign banks in China that you can send through. For instance, transferring through Citibank, Bank of Montreal, Societe Generale, Banco Santander, and other international banks all of which have branches in China, can give you faster times and lower transfer fees.
Typically, inter-bank transfers require that you visit the branch to initiate the transfers. Thanks for the internet, many banks now allow for online transfers. Customers who have a good standing with their banks can transfer money through phone calls.
Apart from banks, money transfer service providers such as Western Union, MoneyGram, WorldRemit, Xoom, TransferWise, Transfast, and Ria can help you move money to China in minutes.
Before you transfer money using money transfer operators (MTOs), you’ll first have to sign up for an account online. The process is simple and takes a few minutes. After the account is set up, decide how you want to transfer the money and pay for your transfer.
There are three ways you can pay: using a debit card, a credit card, and a bank transfer. The credit card payment method is the fastest and the bank debit method, the slowest. Once you’ve paid, you can send the money through the website or a mobile app. There is also the option of depositing and sending from in-store.
If you decide to send to your family or relatives in China from the online platform, there are two options you could use.
Bank Transfer – This method is similar to inter-bank transfers. However, it happens on the MTO platform. It is cheaper and faster than the traditional bank wire system. For instance, TransferWise can help you send to a UnionPay account in China within a few minutes. Bank transfers are the best for transferring large amounts.
Cash Pickup- Through this method, Chinese in the diaspora can transfer money to their loved ones in China. The recipients collect the cash from any of the locations listed on the provider’s payout network. Western Union in partnership with the Bank of China has 32,000+ agents nationwide.
Money transfer through the blockchain network had started gaining popularity. However, in 2017 China banned all digital currency exchanges from operating in the country. This move makes it illegal to send money to China using digital currencies like Bitcoin.
When sending money to your family in China, you’ll be required to provide some information. There might be slight variations in the information needed by each money transfer service. However, the following general list has everything you’ll need to send to China.
Depending on the circumstances, you may have to indicate the source of the money and the reason for the sending.
If you are in China and expecting to receive money from your loved ones abroad, there are several ways you can go about this. There is the bank option, cash collection or Union Card.
TransferWise, Western Union, and MoneyGram have agreements with the Bank of China (BoC). The arrangement allows for both BoC customers and non-customers to receive money directly into their accounts. This method is safer and can be used for large amounts of money.
You can opt to collect cash from the different agents in a payout network. Depending on the provider, there are thousands of agents in China. Cash collections are convenient in far-flung areas where formal banking services may not be available.
It is one of the best ways to receive small amounts of up to $1,500. However, if you are in a safer area, you can choose to receive up to $5,000.
China UnionPay is the largest card issuer in the country. Money can be loaded into your Union Pay card to enable you to transact from any store or withdraw from ATMs. It is one of the popular ways of receiving money in China. In mainland China, Union Pay has more than 10.5 million merchants.
Depending on the provider and the means used to send you the money, you may need to provide some information or none at all! Bank deposits and Union Pay card deposits require no identification documents to access. For cash collection, you will have to provide the following information.
You may be required to provide additional information such as the purpose and source of the funds received. Be ready to respond as truthfully as you can.
Chinese in the diaspora have families and businesses back at home. From time to time, they send money to support their loved ones or add capital to their businesses. Here are some of the top reasons why overseas Chinese send money home.
Families in rural China use remittances mainly to boost basic consumption. According to a study conducted on households receiving remittances, it was established that many of them use the money sent to buy food, clothing and other basic supplies.
The study used propensity score matching in 6 provinces in rural China and found a strong relationship between remittances and consumptive investment.
Chinese in the diaspora have increasingly been taking up mortgages from banks such as the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank and many others. The real estate market has also witnessed increased inflows from overseas Chinese. Some of the houses are for family occupation while others are for commercial interests.
Apart from mortgages, remittances can be directed towards other debt repayments. They could be aged debts taken before the emigrant left or debts incurred on a rolling basis to bridge consumption and other needs.
China has a mixture of national and international schools. Most immigrants want the best for their children and family members. As a result, they enrol them in international schools.
Rural households in China may not necessarily be looking at enrolling their children in international schools but may use the remittances to enhance skill levels for their school-going children.
Healthcare in China comprises both public and private medical institutions. The population largely benefits from basic health insurance. However, for top-end medical care, individuals must be willing to spend more money. Families with their loved ones in the diaspora have been found to have better health outcomes.
The Chinese have a strong work culture. They follow maxims that encourage them to save and invest both abroad and back at home. Some of the investments are in physical assets and others in financial assets like equity and fixed-income investments.
Households in rural China invest heavily in farming and other agriculture-based businesses.
Chinese, much like most Asian families, love family and social life. The annual festivals, weddings, and other social gatherings in China attract a lot of participation from both the local and diaspora populations.
Remittances often increase during festivals such as the Chinese Spring Festival, Duanwu Festival, and Qixi Festival festival.
With China gradually opening up to the world, money transfer service providers such as Western Union, MoneyGram, TrasferWise and Xoom are spreading their wings in the country.
If you’ve never found a reason to use a money transfer service to send money to China, below are some benefits you’ll find interesting.
Every time the Chinese economy is mentioned, the mind recalls the protracted battle with the United States. As a result, currency movements have been volatile on both ends. This development and many others are worth considering when you are sending to China:
China is yet to open up all its doors to allow every money transfer company to operate in the country. With that said, there is nothing stopping you from maximizing on the available money transfer services on the Chinese remittance corridor. The information in the sections above will go along way into helping you get a handle on what it entails to send money to China.
Sending money anywhere else in the world is as easy as sending money to China. If you’re looking to send money to another country, here is the list of the most popular destinations.
Jonathan is the founder and editor of MoneyTransfers.com. Jonathan is highly experienced in the currency transfer market, having previously worked in the FX trading industry, alongside being an avid traveller. Using his knowledge he identified a need for transparency and further education to help people save money on their money transfers, leading to the creation of MoneyTransfers.com