Chinese numerals

Shang numerals

These are the numerals that were used in the Oracle Bone Script from the 14th century BC. Later numerals used in Chinese developed from these

Shang numerals

Rod numerals (筹 [籌] chóu)

Rod numerals or counting rods were a positional numeral system used by merchants, mathematicians and astronomers from the Han Dynasty to the 16th century.

Chinese rod numerals

Suzhou numerals (蘇州碼子 [苏州码子])

The Suzhou numerals system is a version of the rod numeral systems that were formerly used in China. The Suzhou numerals developed from the Southern Song rod numerals. They were a positional system used as a form of shorthand in bookkeeping and accounting, and were popular in markets, particularly in Hong Kong, until the 1990s, since when they have been replaced by Western numerals. These numerals are also known as 花碼 [花码] (huā mǎ)

Suzhou numerals (花碼 (huā mǎ)

Modern Chinese numerals

The complex numerals are used on cheques, banknotes and coins and are the equivalent of writing 'one', 'two', 'three', etc, rather than 1, 2, 3. The simple numerals are used for everything else.

Simple numerals

Simple Chinese numerals

Complex numerals

Complex Chinese numerals

Large numbers are divided into units of ten thousand, so 1 million is one hundred ten-thousands.

How to count in Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka, Shanghainese and Taiwanese

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Books about Chinese characters and calligraphy
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Information about Chinese numerals

Chinese pages

Written Chinese: Oracle Bone Script, Simplified characters, Bopomofo, Types of characters, Structure of written Chinese, Evolution of characters, How the Chinese script works, Xiao'erjing, General Chinese

Spoken Chinese: Mandarin, Dungan, Wu, Shanghainese, Wenzhounese, Yue, Cantonese, Weitou, Min, Jian'ou, Taiwanese, Teochew, Fuzhounese, Puxian, Hakka, Xiang, Gan, How many people speak Chinese?

Other Chinese pages: Chinese numbers (數碼) | Chinese classifiers (量詞) | Electronic dictionaries | Chinese links | Books: Chinese characters and calligraphy | Cantonese | Mandarin, Shanghainese, Hokkien and Taiwanese

Semanto-phonetic writing systems

Akkadian Cuneiform, Ancient Egyptian (Demotic), Ancient Egyptian (Hieratic), Ancient Egyptian (Hieroglyphs), Chinese, Chữ-nôm, Cuneiform, Japanese, Jurchen, Khitan, Linear B, Luwian, Mayan, Naxi, Sawndip (Old Zhuang), Sui, Sumerian Cuneiform, Tangut (Hsihsia)

Other writing systems

Page last modified: 15.03.23


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