_____ _____ China

Global Sourcebook for International Data Management

                                         by Graham Rhind



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Global Sourcebook | Index | Properties


For supplementary information, see links to post office home pages here External, to postal code pages here External and to other personal name and addressing issues pages here External.

Table of Contents

China - Country information


Local short name form

Official name





International telephone access code


ISO 3166 country codes

Car nationality plate code


Internet country code


GRC Country Code


China - Number format

   Note: This section last updated 1st December 2020

(where . indicates the decimal separator and , the thousands separator)

Large numbers may also be written in myriad (10000) groups rather than thousand (1000) groups, so that numbers are grouped into fours instead of threes in this way: 1,2345,6789.00

China - Date and time formats



Chinese separators (yyyy年m月d日) are also used.

24-hour time notation is usually used in written Chinese, both in spoken Chinese.

China - Languages

The official language is Mandarin Chinese External (836 000 000 speakers). China has 205 languages. 55 official minority nationalities are recognized. The most widespread of these languages are: Bouyei External (2 000 000 speakers); Gan Chinese External (20 580 000 speakers, no written form); Hakka Chinese External (25 725 000 speakers); Jinyu Chinese External (45 000 000, no written form); Min Bei Chinese External (10 290 000 speakers), Min Nan Chinese External (25 725 000 speakers); Wu Chinese External (77 175 000 speakers); Xiang Chinese External (36 015 000, no written form); Yue Chinese External (Cantonese, 46 305 000 speakers); Peripheral Mongolian External (2 713 000 speakers); Uyghur External (7 214 431 speakers) and Southern Zhuang External (4 000 000 speakers).

English is still widely spoken in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, though its importance is already decreasing.

China - For the attention of


   Note: This section last updated 26th March 2015

This may be transliterated as Shou Jian Ren. The title or job title of a person is often put in brackets after the name.

China - Personal names


Chinese names are written in the order family name + generational name + given name. Mao Zedong was Mr Mao (in Western notation) and not Mr Zedong. A generational name is one that is shared with siblings and first cousins on the paternal line, and is not always used.

Han Chinese have a very limited supply of family names (not many more than 100), so most names are very common. Parents attempt to provide individuality by finding unusual given names.

Females usually keep their family name throughout life, though a marital family name may be used in some circumstances. Miss Zhou, for example, will continue to be know as Miss Zhou at work, though, after marriage, she may socially be referred to as Mrs Li. Children traditionally take the father’s family name. Names are not gender-specific.

Be aware that Chinese can be transliterated into the Roman alphabet in a number of different ways. For example, Pinyin, used in mainland China, will create Xu and Mao Zedong, Cantonese will create Hui and Mao Tse-tung, whilst in Taiwan this would be Hsu and Mao Tse-tung.

In Tibetan, forms of address are not used. Names are gender neutral and may be used in interchangeable order.

   Tables of names can be acquired: given names External, surnames/family names External, family name prefixes External, forms of address External, job titles External

China - Company legal forms

Chinese company types include:

   Foreign Cooperative Company
   Joint Stock Limited Liability Company
   有限公司  (Limited company)
   Private (Unlimited Liability) Company
   Shareholder Cooperative
   Sole Proprietorship
   股份有限公司  (Stock limited company)
   Comprehensive tables of these strings can be acquired – see http:www.grcdi.nl/addresses.htm External

China - Address formats


   Note: This section last updated 5th June 2020

As with many countries with languages using a non-Latin script, address formats tend to vary by script and to be used quite variably by people. Postally, the preference is that the postal code is positioned to the left of the major city or province name:


Other formats used include, for example:





Addresses written in Chinese usually have the lines ordered opposite to when the address is written in Latin script. This:

   Li Xiaofang
   Apartment 8, Building 5,
   No. 6 Hongkong East Road

is reversed when written in Chinese script:

   李小方 (先生)收

Often elements which are written on different lines in addresses written in Latin scripts are written on the same line in addresses written in Chinese script.

Blocks of flats are usually numbered rather than named. Numbers (which are written in Arabic numerals) are followed by the hào symbol (号).

The suffix –qu (区) means district (the suffixes are also often written concatenated to the rest of the street name, i.e. without a hyphen). Shi (市) means "city" and sheng (省) means "province" and xian (县) means “county”. Lou (楼) means “building” and shì (室 or宅) means “house”, “flat” or “apartment”. For other address elements, see below.

Within Chinese philosophy, the cardinal compass points have great significance, and this is reflected in the street addressing system, which can see street names within cities change as many as 16 times, with the building numbering recommencing when the name changes. Streets may be divided into east and west or north and south, such as Nanjing dong lu (Nanking Street East), Nanjing zhong lu (Nanking Street Central) and Nanjing xi lu (Nanking Street West).

   A table containing information about the relevant position of elements within address blocks can be acquired External

Thoroughfare types

   Note: This section last updated 18th March 2015

Below is a list of the most commonly occurring thoroughfare types found in Chinese addresses:

Thoroughfare type Translation
Cundao (村道) Village-level highway
Dadao (大道) Boulevard
Dajie (大街) Main street
Dao (道) Byway
Dayuan (大院) Courtyard
Guodao (国道) Motorway
Hutong (胡同) Lane
Jie (街) Street, House
Lu (路) Road
Qiao (桥) Bridge
Shengdao (省道) Provincial highway
Xiandao (县道) County-level highway
Xiang (巷) Alley, lane
Xiangdao (乡道) Township-level highway

Other elements commonly found in address databases


   Note: This section last updated 18th March 2015
Element Translation
Bei (北) North
Da (大) Large
Dong (东) East
Hou (后) Behind
Nan (南) South
Nei (内) Inner
Qian (前) In front
Wai (外) Outer
Xi (西) West
Xiao (小) Small
Zhong (中) Centre

China - Postal codes


   Note: This section last updated 5th February 2012

Postal codes (邮编) consist of a block of 6 digits. The first two digits indicate the province, the third the postal area, the fourth the city and county and the final two the delivery region. For domestic use the postal code 999077 has been assigned to Hong Kong and 999078 to Macao.

   Metadata containing postal code formatting rules, exceptions and regular expressions can be acquired External

China - Postal code format graphic


China - Postal code format

China - Postal code specifics


China - Postal code regular expression


China - Postal code level of coverage


China - Postal code map


Place names in China


   Note: This section last updated 12th December 2015

Zhongdian, in Tibet, is being renamed Xiang-ge-ri-la (Shangri-la).

Refer to Exonyms in China for full lists of place names in China in other languages.

   Alternate place name forms/postal code tables can be acquired at http://www.grcdi.nl/settlements.htm External
   Other language place name data can be acquired at http://www.grcdi.nl/otherlanguageplace.htm External

China - Administrative districts


China has 22 provinces External (sheng), 5 autonomous regions (zizhiqu, shown in the list below with an asterisk), and 4 municipalities (shi, show in the list below with a ‡). These names are sometimes found written in addresses. The province names are often written ending in the word ‘province’ when written in English, like this:

   Shandong Province

Taiwan is regarded by China as its 23rd province. The full list is:

Province Postal code area indication (where not shared between provinces)
Anhui External 23-24
Beijing External 10
Chongqing External 40
Fujian External 35-36
Gansu External 73-74
Guangdong External 51-52
Guangxi External * 53-54
Guizhou External 55-56
Hainan External 57
Hebei External 05-07
Heilongjiang External 15-16
Henan External 45-47
Hubei External 43-44
Hunan External 41-42
Jiangsu External 21-22
Jiangxi External 33-34
Jilin External 13
Liaoning External 11-12
Nei Mongol External * 01-02, 7503
Ningxia External * 7500, 751, 753, 756
Qinghai External 81
Shaanxi External 03-04
Shandong External 25-27
Shanghai External 20
Shanxi External 71-72
Sichuan External 61-64
Tianjin External 30
Xinjiang External * 83-84
Xizang External * (Tibet) 85-86
Yunnan External 65-67
Zhejiang External 31-32
   This regions/postal code data can be acquired as a data file External

Administrative districts graphic


Telephone numbers in China


   Note: This section last updated 9th November 2020

When called from abroad, Chinese geographic numbers have area codes of 2-3 digits and subscriber numbers of 7-9 digits, with a total length of between 10 and 12 digits. Mobile numbers have area codes of 3 digits and subscriber numbers of 8 digits. Mobile numbers are identifiable having area codes 130-139, 145-147, 150-151, 153, 155-156, 158-159, 166, 171, 17400-17405, 175, 180, 182-183, 187-190, 193, 196, 199.

   Tables of telephone number information/formats can be acquired – see http://www.grcdi.nl/telephone.htm External 


  1. ^ citypopulation.de/en/china/prov/admin/ External 20230114

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All information copyright Graham Rhind 2024. Any information used should be acknowledged and referenced.