Chinese numerals

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Chinese numerals are characters for writing numbers in Chinese. Today, speakers of Chinese use three numeral systems: the ubiquitous system of Arabic numerals, along with two ancient Chinese numeral systems.

The older of the ancient systems is the Suzhou numerals or huama system. It has gradually been supplanted by the Arabic system in writing numbers. It is the only surviving variation of the rod numeral system; this system has been popular only in Chinese markets, such as those in Hong Kong before the 1990s.

The later ancient numeral system is the written numbers system. It is still in use when writing numbers in long form, such as on cheques to hinder forgery. This character system is roughly analogous to spelling out a number in English text. The Chinese character system can be classified as part of the language, but it still counts as a number system. Most people in China now use the Arabic system for convenience.

Individual Chinese characters in this article link to their dictionary entries.

Contents

Written numbers

The Chinese character numeral system consists of the Chinese characters used by the Chinese written language to write spoken numerals. Similarly to spelled-out numbers in English (e.g., "one thousand nine hundred forty-five"), it is not an independent system per se. Since it reflects spoken language, it does not use the positional system as is done in Arabic numerals, in the same way that spelling out numbers in English does not.

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