OK so maybe the title goes a bit far; it might be more accurate to say "Where people are studying for the HSK" or "Where visitors to my website are from". But there's probably a pretty strong correlation between places where my site is popular, and where people are learning Chinese.

This map combines together country-level and city-level data, and it's pretty clear that most of the learners are from China (18%), Thailand (8%), and Indonesia (7%)! In Western Europe there is a fairly even spread of learners everywhere (except for a gap in central France!), without too much clustering. I wonder if this matches with more formal studies of the popularity of Chinese as a second language?

Splitting the data by 'region', shows that about 60% of the visits to my site are from Asia, 20% are from Europe, and less than 10% are from North America. There are more visits from S.E. Asia than from E. Asia (which includes China)!

A quick summary of how Google split the regions:'

  • Western Asia' is what I would call the 'Middle East',
  • Central Asia is all the 'Stans,
  • Southern Asia is Iran to India,
  • South-East Asia is Burma and Thailand to the Philippines and Indonesia.
  • East Asia is China, Mongolia, Japan, Korea.
  • Northern Europe is the UK and Scandanavia.
  • Western Europe is Germany and France to Switzerland.
Google created this nice map that shows which countries have visited my site most in the last month. The top 10 are: China, U.S., Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, U.K., Spain, Germany, Canada, Poland, Russia, Mongolia, Italy, France, Singapore, Australia, Sudan, Hong Kong, and Kenya!
This post won't make much sense on a PC, but it should look fine on a Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod, and very likely other mobile devices such as some versions of Android (let me know which devices it does and doesn't work on- thanks!). If you install a Unicode font that supports emoticons such as Symbola you will see a few more of the icons and a few less square boxes on a PC.
If you use the pinyin keyboard on an iPhone or iPad you may have noticed that sometimes little Emoji characters) appear amont the matching hanzi. Emoji are the little pictures or icons that were originally created on Japanese phones so that 14 year old girls could make their text messages look cuter.
The following is a list of all of the Emoji that I have notice along with the pinyin needed to type them, and the matching hanzi that the Emoji picture represents. Let me know if you notice any that I have missed.