Numbers in Chinese: How to Count And More

Chinese Numbers

Chinese numbers are always essential to know. Whether it be for counting, exchanging money, your phone number, your age, or your Birthday.

So Let Gets Started With Counting
Numbers in Chinese 0-11:

How to Say Your Phone Number in Chinese

Now you know the basic numbers 0-10, so phone numbers should be easy. However, one important thing to know is that Number One is not pronounced as 一 Yì but rather 幺 Yāo. This is because numbers one and seven sound similar when said quickly (yī and qī).

Another thing is there are no groupings in numbers like we do in English, for example, 1-800 “one eight-hundred,” or 332229 “double-three treble-two nine.” In Chinese, all numbers are spoken individually.

Now let’s take a look at an example:

134 5666 2488
yāo, sān, sì, wǔ, liù, liù, liù, èr, sì, bā, bā

If you are trying to call a Chinese Number from Overseas, you will need to add the International Access Code and the respective country code.

00 líng líng = international access code

86 bā liù = country code for China

Emergency Numbers When In China:

From within Mainland China, the following emergency numbers are essential:

  • 110 yāo yāo líng – Police (12110 for text to police)
  • 119 yāo yāo jiǔ – Fire brigade (12119 for forest fire in some regions)
  • 120 yāo èr líng – Ambulance
  • 122 yāo èr èr – Traffic accident (incorporated into 110 in some cities) (12122 on the highway)
  • 999 jiǔ jiǔ jiǔ – Privately operated ambulance (Beijing ONLY, calls from outside Beijing are 010-999)

Dialing the wrong numbers 112 (German Emergency Number), 911 (U.S Emergency Number), and 999 (U.K Emergency Number) will play a recording in both English and Chinese to let you know the correct number.

Numbers in Chinese for Your Birthday And Age

In Chinese, you express your birthday, starting with the year, followed by the month, and then the day. You can use the final two numbers for your birth year. Here are some important Chinese characters/words that you should know:

So if your birthday is on the 24th January 1967, you would say it like this:

67年 01月24号
liùshíqī nián, yīyuè, èrshísì hào

If someone is asking you for your age or birthday, you might hear one of the following questions:

nǐ duō dà
How old are you? (mainly for addressing kids)

nǐ jǐ suì
How old are you?

Other characters/words that are handy to know:

Counting Chinese Numbers With Just One Hand

Most of the time, people express numbers with hands and fingers with both hands. The Chinese are a step in front of us by being able to count with just one hand. This can be particularly handy when on the phone or when you are holding something in one hand.

Numbers in Chinese - One Hand Finger Counting

Chinese Numbers 12 and Higher

shí èr

shí sān 

shí sì 

shí wǔ 

shí liù

Shí qī

Shí bā

shí jǐu 

The Numbers 20-99 all Follow the Same Pattern

èr shí 
twenty or “two tens”

èr shí yī 
twenty-one or “two tens plus one”

èr shí è 
twenty-two or “two tens plus two”

sān shí 

sān shí sān 

sì shí 

sì shí sì 

wǔ shí 

wǔ shí lìu

Numbers in Chinese: How to Count Over 100

Things are real easier all the way up to 9,999. After this point, you need to start counting things in 万 wàn (units of 10,000). Here are the terms you’ll need to start using:




Ten Thousand

bǎi wàn

qiān wàn

Ten Million


100 Million

Let’s look at how to say large numbers in Chinese.

How to Say Large Numbers

Let’s take a really huge number like this one:


In English, we would say “nine billion, five hundred and fifty-two million, six hundred and eighty-nine thousand, three hundred and forty-two.

But in Chinese, everything is dealt with differently, using units of 亿 yì Billion and 万 wàn Ten-Thousand. There’s also 兆 zhào for a trillion, but you’ll likely never use it.

According to the Chinese way, the number above would be divided like this:

95亿 jiǔshíwǔ yì (9.5 billion) + 5,268万 wǔqiān èrbǎi liùshíbā wàn + 9,342 jiǔqiān sānbǎi sìshíèr

So you see, the larger Chinese numbers are divided into groups of four numbers, instead of 3 for English. Really, you’re just moving the commas around a little, like this:

95, 5268, 9342

It’s rather strange at first, but with practice, you’ll get used to it!

One more quick tip…

Many Chinese students don’t know that the character 一 may vary from yī to yì according to its position in a number.

Therefore, there are two rules to keep in mind:

  • When 1 is in the position of thousands or hundreds, it is pronounced as yì, when in tens or units, it is pronounced as yī

1,111 | 一千一百一十一
yì qiān yì bǎi yī shí yī

1,831 | 一千八百三十一
yì qiān bā bǎi sān shí yī

So there you go, now you know how to count in Chinese, tell someone your age or phone number, or even how to call emergencies should you ever be in trouble or someone else needs help.

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