Effects of low frequency electromagnetic field on surface quality, microstructure and hot-tearing tendency of direct chill casting of Φ500mm ZK60 magnesium alloy billets were investigated. The results show that with the application of the low frequency electromagnetic field, the surface quality of Φ500mm ZK60 magnesium alloy billets has been markedly improved, and the depth of cold fold is decreased. In the conventional direct chill casting, the microstructures of the billet, especially at the center, are coarse. The distribution of the grain size is non-uniform throughout the billet. From the edge to the center, the microstructure gradually changes from fine to coarse in all billets. However, under the low frequency electromagnetic casting, the microstructures of the billet is significantly refined, the distribution of the grains size is relatively uniform from the billets edge to the billets center. And it also shows that the hot-tearing tendency of direct chill casting Φ500mm ZK60 magnesium alloy billets under low frequency electromagnetic field is significantly reduced.