Eastern Asia region

asia-pacific-region
OVERVIEW
  • Eastern Asia contains seven countries and presents a balanced profile of sending and receiving region.
  • Three countries (China, Korean Democratic Republic of Korea and Mongolia) are primarily remittance receiving markets.
  • Four countries (Hong Kong SAR, China, Japan, Korean Republic and Macau SAR, China) are predominantly send focused.
Predominantly receiving countries
China
Mongolia
Predominantly sending countries
Hong Kong SAR, China
Japan
Macao SAR, China
Republic of Korea
KEY FIGURES
Migration Sources: UNDESA 2017
  • On the sending side, by 2017, there were over fourteen million registered emigrants from Eastern Asia, including 6.6 million (45 per cent) who moved within Asia Pacific.
  • China had the largest number of emigrants throughout the world, going mainly for economic reasons to USA, Canada, UK, other parts of Europe and throughout Asia Pacific.
  • On the receiving end, most of the immigrants in Eastern Asia are from Asia Pacific (87 per cent of the 7.8 million people). This number has grown steadily, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 1.39 per cent, between 2010 and 2017.
  • The largest groups of immigrants are from China and the Philippines.
Immigrants to Eastern Asia 2010 2017 CAGR1 2010-2017(%)
Total 7,061,814 7,776,716 1.4
From all Asia and the Pacific 4,909,174 6,695,703 1.5
Emigrants from Eastern Asia 2010 2017 CAGR 2010-2017 (%)
Total 12,959,414 14,661,079 1.8
To all Asia and the Pacific 5,110,154 6,557,360 3.6
Remittances (millions of US$) Sources: WB, Remittances bilateral matrix 2016
Inbound Remittances
  • In 2017, US$64 billion was sent to Eastern Asia; this amount has remained stable over the past three years.
  • Slightly more than half of the funds are received from Asia and the Pacific.
  • The main sending markets located outside the subregion are the United States of America, Canada and Australia.
Outbound Remittances
  • The subregion sent US$37.6 billion in 2017, of which 93.6 per cent was sent to Asia and the Pacific.
  • Hong Kong, SAR China is the main sending market to the rest of the subregion.
Inflows to Eastern Asia (US$ million) 2014 2017 CAGR 2014-2017 (%)
Total64,40664,129-0.1
From Asia and the Pacific36,196 36,102 -0.1
Largest inflows > US$ billion
Main receive countries from the sub-region
China63.9
Outflows from Eastern Asia (US$ million) 2014 2017 CAGR 2014-2017 (%)
Total 36,813 37,586 0.7
To Asia and the Pacific 31,630 35,173 3.6
Largest outflows > US$ billion
Main receive countries from the sub-region
Hong Kong SAR, China17.1
Japan9.1
Republic of Korea6.0
China2.8
Macao SAR, China2.2
Inflows origin
United States16.1
Canada4.1
Australia2.9
Singapore2.8
Italy1.2
Spain1.1
Outflows destination
Philippines2.7
Viet Nam 1.0
Remittance reliant countries with remittance/GDP > 3% (2016)
NA
COMPETITION IN THE MARKET
Costs Sources: WB RPW Q1 2018
Receiving
  • The cost to send money to Eastern Asia has fallen considerably from 10.7 per cent in 2015 to 8.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2018.
  • This average cost is still above the global average (7.13 per cent) and significantly above the SDG 10.c target.
  • China is an expensive market to receive low amounts of money (8.26 per cent to receive US$200). This cost structure may explain why sending amounts to China average more than US$500.
Sending
  • The cost to sending money from Eastern Asia is around 7.6 per cent, 0.6 per cent less than receiving it.
  • Sending and receiving prices have been falling at a similar rate.
  • Japan has the highest sending rate at 9.82 per cent, although it can be noted that it has had a strong decline, given that recently in 2015 it was 13.4 per cent.
Costs to receive US$200 (% of amount sent)
China8.3
Costs to send $200
Japan9.8
Republic of Korea5.2
Market operators Sources: RemitScope survey 2018
  • Sending remittances is dominated by the large global MTOs, especially WU and MoneyGram, particularly in Japan.
  • Banks from receive countries like China have a presence in some sending countries to ensure that they provide services for their own nationals, for example, ICBC (the Chinese bank) in the Republic of Korea.
  • Online platforms such as WorldRemit and Transferwise are progressively developing their clients base at the sending end.
  • Paying-out remittances in Eastern Asia generally takes place in banks or the post offices. These entities act as agents for the main money transfer operators, especially Western Union (WU) and MoneyGram.
Presence at the receiving end
Global MTO Number of countries where these companies are present (among the 7 Central Asia countries)
  Western Union
5 out of 7
  Money Gram
4 out of 7
  RIA
2 out of 7
  Small World
1 out of 7
  Sigue Money Transfer
1 out of 7
Regional MTO Number of countries where these companies are present (among the 7 Central Asia countries)
  Kyodai
2 out of 7
  UAE Exchange
1 out of 7
  Remit2India
1 out of 7
Main types of RSP
Receiving end
Bank (ATM)
Post offices
Mobile money providers
Other NBFI
Agent networks
Sending end
MTOs
NBFI-Fintech
Banks
Post offices
Mobile money providers

Legend

Dominant Significant Emerging Marginal and/or not applicable
Transfer methods
  • Cash-to-cash is still the dominant payment method of choice. Notably, in recent years, there has been a significant increase in transfers to accounts, especially in China.
  • Digital remittances gain momemtum through online methods promoted by fintech mostly at the sending end.
  • Eastern Asia has seen a number of initiatives in the use of block-chain with companies such as Bloom Solutions and OKLink offering solutions in countries like Hong Kong SAR, China.
Cash
Bank
Digital
Blockchain

Legend

Dominant Significant Emerging Marginal and/or not applicable
REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
Types of entities allowed to distributed remittances Sources: RemitScope survey 2018
Number of countries
  Banks
6 out of 7
  MTOs
4 out of 7
  Use of agents
2 out of 7
  Digital currency
4 out of 7
  MNOs
1 out of 7
Incidence of de-risking policies affecting remittance service providers
Low   Average   High  
INCLUSIVE FINANCIAL SERVICESSources: Findex survey 2014 (Pacific region countries not available)
  • Financial inclusion average in Eastern Asia is among the highest in Asia and the Pacific, (and far above the regional average) at 87 per cent of adults, both for sending and receiving countries.
  • Subsequently, more than half of domestic remittances (62 per cent) are paid into an account. This is the highest proportion in the region Asia and the Pacific.
Account ownership among the adult population +15 year old (%) Sources: Findex survey 2017 (Pacific region countries not available)
Average for Eastern Asia
87
Average Asia region
52
Adult population receiving domestic remittances and patterns to receive money
Average adult population receiving domestic remittances (%) 26
In person and in cash (%) 19  
Over the counter(%) 16  
Through a financial institution (%) 62  
1 Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR)