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Chinese Numbering System for large numbers


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#1 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 08:18 AM

I was educated under the English numbering system such as thousands, millions, billions. All these large numbers use three digits (zeros) as division.

For instance,

1 thousand = 1,000 (3 digits or 3 zeros)
1 million = 1,000,000 (6 digits or 6 zeros - 3 x 2)
1 billion = 1,000,000,000 (9 digits or 9 zeros - 3 x 3)

But the chinese numbering system basically follows 4 digits (zeros) system for huge numbers. Note that these 4 digits system are only used when chinese numbers are represented in chinese characters. If numbers are represented in terms of numbers rather than chinese characters, they will follow western 3 zeros system.

For instance,

一万 (yi1 wan4) = 10,000 or 1,0000(4 digits or 4 zeros) [ten thousand]
一亿 (yi1 yi4) = 100,000,000 or 1,0000,0000 (8 digits or 8 zeros - 4 x 2) [Hundred million]
一兆 (yi1 zhao4) = 1,000,000,000,000 or 1,0000,0000,0000 (12 digits or 12 zeros = 4 x 3) [trillion]

Remembering the 4 zeros/digits system is a better way to count chinese numbers. Chinese numbers are remembered by 各 (single digit) ,十 (shi=tens), 百 (bai=hundred) ,千 (qian=thousand), 万 (wan=ten thousand), 亿 (yi = hundred million) , 兆 (zhao=trillion)

For eg.

一百万 (yi1 bai3 wan4) = "hundred" wan = 100 + 4 zeros = 6 zeros = 1,000,000 = 1 million (or 100,0000)
一千万 (yi1 qian1 wan4) = "thousand" wan = 1,000 + 4 zeros = 7 zeros = 10,000,000 = 10 million (or 1000,0000)
一百亿 (yi1 bai3 yi4) = "hundred" yi = 100 + 8 zeros = 10 zeros = 10,000,000,000 = 10 billion (or 100,0000,0000)

The chinese numbering system can be abit 'difficult' for those who are used to western numbering system. However, you might just want to remember using 4 zeros as division units for big numbers. That'll help you get used to it. These numbering system are still widely practised in China and Taiwan. This is just a way which I've 'discovered' to help remembeing it. Basically, remembering how many zeros will help you convert into 3 zeros system.

Please feel free to comment on your experience on huge chinese numbers.
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#2 kaiselin

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 09:03 AM

I was educated under the English numbering system such as thousands, millions, billions. All these large numbers use three digits (zeros) as division.

For instance,

1 thousand = 1,000 (3 digits or 3 zeros)
1 million = 1,000,000 (6 digits or 6 zeros - 3 x 2)
1 billion = 1,000,000,000 (9 digits or 9 zeros - 3 x 3)

But the chinese numbering system basically follows 4 digits (zeros) system for huge numbers. Note that these 4 digits system are only used when chinese numbers are represented in chinese characters. If numbers are represented in terms of numbers rather than chinese characters, they will follow western 3 zeros system.

For instance,

一万 (yi1 wan4) = 10,000 or 1,0000(4 digits or 4 zeros) [ten thousand]
一亿 (yi1 yi4) = 100,000,000 or 1,0000,0000 (8 digits or 8 zeros - 4 x 2) [Hundred million]
一兆 (yi2 zhao4) = 1,000,000,000,000 or 1,0000,0000,0000 (12 digits or 12 zeros = 4 x 3) [trillion]

Remembering the 4 zeros/digits system is a better way to count chinese numbers. Chinese numbers are remembered by 各 (single digit) ,十 (shi=tens), 百 (bai=hundred) ,千 (qian=thousand), 万 (wan=ten thousand), 亿 (yi = hundred million) , 兆 (zhao=trillion)

For eg.

一百万 (yi1 bai3 wan4) = "hundred" wan = 100 + 4 zeros = 6 zeros = 1,000,000 = 1 million (or 100,0000)
一千万 (yi1 qian1 wan4) = "thousand" wan = 1,000 + 4 zeros = 7 zeros = 10,000,000 = 10 million (or 1000,0000)
一百亿 (yi1 bai3 yi4) = "hundred" yi = 100 + 8 zeros = 10 zeros = 10,000,000,000 = 10 billion (or 100,0000,0000)

The chinese numbering system can be abit 'difficult' for those who are used to western numbering system. However, you might just want to remember using 4 zeros as division units for big numbers. That'll help you get used to it. These numbering system are still widely practised in China and Taiwan. This is just a way which I've 'discovered' to help remembeing it. Basically, remembering how many zeros will help you convert into 3 zeros system.

Please feel free to comment on your experience on huge chinese numbers.



So one billion by the western system is ten hundred million / shi2 bai3 yi4 十百亿 ?

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#3 Bao Pu

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 09:17 AM

Thanks General. Interesting.
May you enjoy good health, harmony and happiness.
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#4 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 09:18 AM

So one billion by the western system is ten hundred million / shi2 bai3 yi4 十百亿 ?


1 billion =1,000,000,000 = 9 zeros = 10 + 8 zeros (for 亿) = 十亿 (shi2 yi4)
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"夫君子之行:靜以修身,儉以養德;非淡泊無以明志,非寧靜無以致遠。" - 諸葛亮

One should seek serenity to cultivate the body, thriftiness to cultivate the morals. If you are not simple and frugal, your ambition will not sparkle. If you are not calm and cool, you will not reach far. - Zhugeliang

#5 kaiselin

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 09:26 AM

1 billion = 十亿 (shi2 yi4) = "ten" Yi = 10 (1 zero) + 8 zeros (for Yi 亿) = 9 zeros = 1,000,000,000



OOPS! Thanks for correcting my mistake, I can see I will have to be very careful if I ever try to figure math in Chinese!!!

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