China is world's second liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer, as it has increased its LNG imports by 45%, importing 38.1 million tons of LNG during 2017, surpassing South Korea, said a Bloomberg report. The report quoted Data from the General Administration of Customs saying that South Korean LNG imports were up more modestly in 2017, by 12%, to 37.5M tonnes. In 2016, South Korea imported 33.5 million tons to China’s 26.1 million, according to customs data. Japan, the world’s largest importer, had shipped in 72.3 million tons through the end of November, according to government data. According to shipping data by Thomson Reuters Eikon, around 60 ships carrying a total of more than 4 million tons of LNG are en route to China in January. The move toward LNG is being driven by China's push to replace coal with gas for homes and factories in hopes of reducing air pollution levels in its cities. The increase in gas consumption is expected to further expand over the next years.