Chinese Language Data Points (and interesting facts)

China is the fourth largest country in the world (after Russia, Canada and the United States). It has an area of 3.7+ million square miles. Spoken Chinese is separated into five main dialectical groups: Mandarin, Yue (includes Cantonese), Min, Wu and Haka. These five groups cover more than 200 individual dialects. Written Chinese comprises of two different types of Chinese characters – Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese.

Here is a collection of other language and country data points and tips to help you on your global journey:

  • Locations. Chinese characters, both simplified and traditional, are logograms used in the writing of Chinese. Simplified Chinese has been officially adopted by the People’s Republic of China since 1950s, while Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan continued using Traditional Chinese characters in their writing systems.
  • Online opportunities. According to Common Sense Advisory’s 2017 report on top online languages, both Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese are listed as two of the top 100 languages for online opportunity, being ranked as second and thirteenth, respectively.
  • No article. Chinese has no definite article (e.g. no word meaning ‘the’), although the word meaning ‘one’ and the demonstrative adjective are sometimes used as articles in the language today.
  • Growth in pharma. China is the second largest pharmaceutical market in the world, forecasted to grow from $108 billion in 2015 to $167 billion by 2020. Additional healthcare and pharmaceutical forecasts, according to the International Trade Association’s report “Pharmaceuticals Top Markets,” include the following:
    • Private healthcare spending reached $640 billion in 2015 and is expected to rise to $1.1 trillion by 2020, due to the expansion of universal insurance coverage by the Chinese government.
    • Pharmaceutical sales currently represent 17% of health expenditures. In terms of the market breakdown, generics lead the way with 64% of total sales.
    • Patented drugs amount to only 22% of sales. However, over the past 10 years, patented drug sales had double digit growth rates.
  • Market barriers. Regulatory delays, IP violations, counterfeit medicines, price controls and a lack of transparency remain some of the most commonly cited barriers to better penetration of the Chinese pharmaceutical market by foreign companies.
  • Clinical trials. There are 10,703 clinical trials currently registered in China. (Source:

Interesting Facts: 

  • All for one. Despite its size, all of China is in one time zone.
  • Search for it. There are multiple search engines in China, but with almost 80% of China’s search engine market share, Baidu is the one to focus on.
  • Range of colors. In China, red symbolizes happiness and luck and is commonly used at Chinese festivals, birthdays and weddings. White is associated with death; it is the color for mourning and funerals.
  • Big celebrations. The Chinese New Year celebration lasts for 15 days. Each year is represented by one of 12 animals. 2017 is the year of the rooster.
  • In the family. Chinese names typically have two parts. Traditional Chinese family names are placed first with the given name coming last. (Source: com)
  • Influence on other languages.The Chinese language has heavy influence on other Asian languages, such as Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese.
  • Tonal language. Unlike English, Chinese is a tonal language where pitch is used to distinguish the meaning of words. A word with the same pronunciation can have a completely different meaning if a different pitch is used.

Localizing for China involves more than linguistic knowledge. Content must be culturally adapted to reach local Chinese markets and this includes graphics, images, humor, religion, social etiquette and more.

Contact us if you’re in need of professional translation, interpretation or website localization services for the Chinese marketplace.