© 2015 The Authors. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences © 2015 Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology. Aims Little is known about electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) use in Asian inpatients with schizophrenia. This study examined trends of ECT use for schizophrenia patients in Asia between 2001 and 2009 and its independent demographic and clinical correlates. Methods Data on 6761 hospitalized schizophrenia patients (2001 = 2399, 2004 = 2136, and 2009 = 2226) in nine Asian countries and territories were collected by either chart review or interviews during a 1-month period. Patients' sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, prescriptions of psychotropic drugs and ECT use were recorded using a standardized protocol and data-collection procedure. Results The frequency of ECT was 3.3% in the whole sample; rising from 1.8% in 2001 to 3.3% in 2004 and 4.9% in 2009 (P <0.0001). However, this increased trend was driven solely by increased ECT use in China (P <0.0001), and the inclusion of India in the 2009 survey. There were wide inter-country variations: 2001, 0% (Hong Kong, Korea) to 5.9% (China); 2004, 0% (Singapore) to 11.1% (China); 2009, 0% (Hong Kong) to 13.8% (India) and 15.2% (China). Multiple logistic regression analysis of the whole sample revealed that patients receiving ECT were less likely in the 35-64-year age group, had shorter length of current hospitalization and fewer negative symptoms, and were more likely to receive second-generation antipsychotic medications compared to those who were not treated with ECT (R2 = 0.264, P <0.001). Conclusions ECT use for schizophrenia has increased over the past decade in China, being low/relatively stable in other Asian countries/regions. Reasons for substantial variations in ECT frequency in Asia require further study.