Nanjing, in south-eastern China is a city of seven million, not far from Shanghai, now the world's largest city, with over 20 million residents. This is the most expansive region in China and an engine of world economic growth. Chuan Wang and Xiaoyan Ji moved from this dynamic and populous part of the world to a quieter life in Luleå.


Chuan Wang is an engineering specialist at research institute Swerea Mefos, where he works with steel-industry production processes. Xiaoyan Ji works as a researcher and associate professor at the Division of Energy Science, at Luleå University of Technology (LTU).

Chuan is originally from a place near the winter city of Harbin, in north-western China. Xiaoyan grew up in Jiangsu Province, a few hours by car from Shanghai. They met at university in Nanjing.

Chuan began working directly after graduating. The Chinese economy was booming, there were plenty of jobs and salaries were good. But the world beckoned. Like many other young people, they wanted to travel and see other parts of the world.

In 2001 they came to Stockholm to further their studies at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). Since then, they have been based in Sweden. Chuan has worked here in Sweden, while Xiaoyan has done stints in Germany and the USA.

Chuan was employed by Mefos before he finished his degree and has worked there ever since. The institute is world-renowned in the iron, steel and engineering industries and has helped to make Luleå a centre of metallurgical research.

When Chuan lot his job at Mefos it was time to make Luleå the whole family's new home. Xiaoyan moved here in 2007 and began work at the university the following year. She is an associate professor at the Division of Energy Science, where she teaches, supervises doctoral students and runs research projects. Her own research has to do with reducing carbon dioxide emissions from large-scale industrial processes.

Ji-An, their son, whose full name is Ji-An Wang (with both parents' names, according to Chinese custom), was born when they lived in Stockholm. Their daughter Ji-Xiang was born in Luleå. The family lives in a house in Porsöberget, within walking distance of the university and the children's daycare centre and school.

There are now between 50 and 60 Luleå residents who have moved here from China. Some have lived here for many years; others are here only temporarily to study or work. On holidays, such as the Chinese New Year and National Day, they meet to celebrate together. But, on a day-to-day basis, Xiaoyan and Chuan live a Chinese-Swedish life, with work, family and friends. The Ji-Wang family has decided to stay.