I would assume that population is same or bit lower than in OTL. Remember that China hasn't Tibet, Qinhai and Xinjiang whihc take some population off. In other hand China has Mongolia and Taiwan which compensate that population loss bit.Speaking of China:
What is the total Chinese population after the fall of the North? Obviously the longer and bloodier Civil War caused more casualties than in OTL. However afterwards the south avoided Mao's Great Leap of the Cliff and never had a one-child-policy. So by now the population might very well be significantly higher than OTL.
Because that's a question that doesn't matter just for tallying OTL vs TTL scores.
If China has much earlier economic growth than OTL and has a significantly higher population than in OTL and I think it does, then chances are that China will be "looking towards Africa" for "resources and the like" much earlier than in OTL. Like as in, when it's allies still have colonies there which it would be much more face-saving to sell to a friend than grant independence to.