Chinese Localization
Chinese Localization

Chinese Localization is growing and particularly important. Here are some basics to consider: languages spoken in China, characters, and cultural norms. 

Languages spoken in China

Chinese is the family of languages with the most native speakers worldwide (Kiprop, 2019); Mandarin is the main language spoken throughout the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan) with 955 million native speakers. It’s important to note, however, that there are other languages in China. They have considerable presence in the Asian market. Such languages are Cantonese (spoken by around 60 million people), Wu (also known as Shanghainese, spoken by around 80 million people) (Locale, 2020). It is easy to assume that Mandarin would be the best option while localizing for the Chinese market. However, a company seeking to increase its presence in the specific market should consider localizing in other Chinese languages. This is because consumers are more likely to trust and engage with a brand that speaks their language and understands their cultural norms (Daniel Pers, 2023).

Differences between Traditional and Simplified Chinese

Simplified characters are used in Mainland China. In places such as Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, Traditional characters are the norm (Eakins, 2021). The concept of Simplified Characters at its core is a simplification of Traditional characters by stroke reduction and merging of characters. When localizing for Chinese markets, it is of crucial importance to use the correct variation of Traditional or Simplified characters to resonate with the applicable market, as this can be even an identity issue in places like Taiwan.

Cultural norms to know for Chinese localization

When localizing for the Chinese market, many differing cultural aspects must be considered. One of them is the importance a number can have. In Chinese culture, the number 8 has a positive connotation, as it is considered lucky. Number 4 sounds like the word for ‘’death’’ and has, naturally, a very negative connotation (, 2023). It has such an importance in Chinese culture that some elevators omit this number (Kaplan Professional, 2019). 


A business willing to expand to the Chinese market must consider many aspects, which include (but are not limited to) languages, cultural norms, and characters. Thorough research must be done, as well as an analysis of the company’s needs and the market’s requirements.

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