Chinese Medicine

chinese culture

Mainland China has the most Chinese with almost 1.2 billion in population. Outside of China, there are many countries with a large Chinese population as well. Let's see the differences between these countries and mainland China.

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Mainland China

The largest Chinese population in the world is mainland China with a population estimated at 1.2 billion. Most of the Mainland Chinese are found in the rural regions but there is a steady migration to city areas.

China has a high literacy rate of 80% or higher of at least high school. There are over a 100 dialects in China with the official dialect being Mandarin - this being the official language of the country. Spoken dialects in China is very different from each other and each dialect group may not understand each other. However, the common language of spoken and written Mandarin is easily understand by almost everyone in China.

Large dialect groups in China include Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien and Shanghainese.

The written form of Mandarin is the simplified version, which has been simplified and adapted from the traditional version. For some basic understanding of Chinese words and phrases, please check our Chinese phrases page.


The next largest group of Chinese, of about 22 million is found in Taiwan. Technically, Taiwan and China is still in a state of war with each other, after the two countries were seperated in 1949.

The official language of Taiwan is also Mandarin but their written form of Mandarin is the traditional version, or what has been the officially correct form of written Mandarin. The largest dialect group in Taiwan is Hokkien (Minan).

Although the two countries has no formal official ties with each other, there are a lot of Taiwanses investments and businesses in China.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is now part of China from 1997, after Britian has ruled it ever since the Opium War. Hong Kong has a population of about 6.6 million with the majority being ethnic Chinese.

The official languages of Hong Kong is Cantonese and English, having been a British Colony for many years. The country is in the process of converting to using Mandarin as it's official language. The written version of Hong Kong is still the tradition version.


The next largest group of Chinese is found in Singapore, with a population of 4.5 million, of which about 75% are ethnic Chinese. The biggest dialect groups are Hokkien, Cantonese and Teochew.

The official languages of Singapore is Mandarin and English with the written Mandarin being the simplified version.


Macau was formerly a Portugese colony but is now part of China. The population is about 450,000 of which majority are ethnic Chinese.

The written Chinese practised is the traditional version.

Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines

These countries has a large proportion of ethnic Chinese and mixed blood Chinese. Chinese is not an official language in these countries and hence, you will find a mix of simplified and traditional Mandarin practised here depending on the school or newspaper that is promoting it.

A large number of Chinese in Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines has lost cultural ties with their enthicity and are barely able to read, write or speak the language. Most Chinese in these countries are culturally closer to their host culture than their enthic culture.

Rest of world

You will find Chinese in almost any part of the world, especially in enclaves commonly known as Chinatown. Again, most Chinese in these countries who are of a 2nd generation or more has lost cultural ties with their enthicity and are barely able to read, write or speak the language. Most Chinese in these countries are culturally closer to their host culture than their enthic culture.

However, with a rise of China economically and politically, we are seeing a return of interest ethnic Chinese in their Chinese enthnicity as parents rush to bring their children to Chinese language and culture schools.

For more information about Chinese culture and people, check out this interesting China Book. Or email us for further information.