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/ Home / China Facts & Travel Tips / Chinese Name

Chinese Name
The names of Chinese people have their own tradition and characteristics. In China the family name is put first, followed by the given name. Traditionally, Chinese women usually retain their maiden names as their family name after marriage, Children usually inherit the father's family name . The given name usually contains one or two Chinese characters

Given Name 

Chinese names are meant to convey special meaning, with the given names often expressing the best of wishes on the new-born. When a baby is born, parents often give him or her a “Nick name" such as “Little treasue “(小宝) or two characters that repeat "BaoBao". Nicknames are often called in their childhood or by their confidants The given name is then usually chosen later and is often chosen with consultation of the grandparents..


Family Name  
Altogether some  22,000 family names have been used in China but over time, some of them have become reserved and only 3,500 are commonly used nowadays. The most popular three surnames in China are Li, Wang and Zhang, respectively occupying about 7.9%, 7.4% and 7.1% of the whole Chinese population. There are 270 million Chinese people who own one of these top three surnames.


Among all the Chinese family names, 100 common ones cover almost 87% of the total population. Of these, 19 are more popular than others, including Li, Wang, Zhang, Liu, Chen, Yang, Zhao, Huang, Zhou, Wu, Xu, Sun, Hu, Zhu, Gao, Lin, He, Guo and Ma, and represent about half of the whole Chinese people.


Some Chinese people have compound surnames, consisting of two Chinese characters, like Ou Yang, Tai Shi, Duan Mu, Shang Guan, Si Ma, Dong Fang, Du Gu, Nan Gong, among others. Now there are altogether 81 compound surnames existing in China.