Chinese Numbers

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Chinese NumbersChinese Numbers from 0 to 10


Like Chinese language, Chinese numbers are written quite differently from the Arabic numeral system, which first came into China between the 13-14 century.

It wasn't popularly used until the 20th century, but the Chinese numeral system, which is also a base-10 system, has prevailed all the time.

Chinese people use characters for numbers. Like shown above, there is a character for each number from zero to ten. Zero can be writen as a circle in some informal situations, and 2 is writen and spoken as "Liang" Chinese symbol for twovery often when not used in two-digit numbers.

The characters demostrated on this page are in Simplified Chinese, which is used in mainland China.

Count Numbers Chinese Way

From 0 to 10, count the numbers as they are.

11 in Chinese count is "ten one", Chinese symbol for eleven; 12 is "ten two"Chinese symbo for twelve... 19 is "ten nine", and so on.

20 is "two ten" Chinese symbol for twenty, 21 is "two ten one" Chinese symbol for twenty one, and so on.

30 is "three ten" Chinese symbol for thirty, and so on.

100 is "one handred" Chinese symbol for one hundred; 200 is "two hundred" Chinese symbol for two hundred or Chinese symbol for two hundred; and so on.

While 10 is the base number, after 10, Chinese numerical system uses hundred Chinese symbol for hundred, thousand Chinese symbol for Thousand, ten thousand Chinese symbol for ten thousand and 100 million Chinese symbol for One Hundred Million to count.

1,234 would be Chinese symbol for 1234.

1,234,567 would be 1234567.

The Chinese Numbers on Important Documents

As you can see, there are few strokes in some of the Chinese numbers, especially for the numbers 1,2, and 3. It's easy for a person to change it. Just add a horizotal stroke and the number can increase dramaticaly.

To prevent this from happening, Chinese people use a set of more complicated numerical characters on bank statements, checks and other important documents. These characters are shown as below:

Chinese symbols for numbers

Shorthand Numerical Characters

There are two common shorthand characters for 20 and 30. Newspapers and some older writings use them very often, especially when it comes to date.

The shorthand for twenty is "Nian": Chinese symbol for 20

The shorthand for thirty is "Sa": Chinese symbol for 30

Fractions, Percents and Decimal Points

In Fractions

China uses fen zhi followed by the numerator and following the denominator. The two characters look like this: Chinese symbols for fractions . For example:

1/2 would be "two fen zhi one", in Chinese: Chinese symbol for  one second.

3/4 would be "four fen zhi three": Chinese symbol for three forth.

In Percents

In percents, China also uses fen zhi to express percentage. For example, 50% would be "hundred fen zhi fifty" (Don't say " one hundred fen zhi fifty"), in Chinese: Chinese symbol for 50%.

In Decimal Point

Chinese people use dian to express the decimal point. The character is: Chinese symbol for dot, which means "dot" or "point".

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