Learn to Count Above 10,000 in Chinese

Learn large numbers, ranging from thousands to millions

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Mandarin numbers up to 9,999 follow the same basic pattern as English numbers, but numbers 10,000 and higher are quite different. In English, numbers larger than 10,000 are stated in terms of thousands. However, large numbers are written and read as divisions of 10,000 in Chinese.

Ten Thousand

The Chinese character for 10,000 is 萬 / 万 (traditional / simplified), pronounced wàn. Any number higher than 10,000 read in terms of the number of 10,000s. For example, 20,000 would be 兩萬 / 两万 (liǎng wàn), or "two ten-thousands." 17,000 would be 一萬七千 / 一万七千 (yī wàn qī qiān), or "one ten-thousand seven thousand." 42,300 would be 四萬兩千三百 / 四万两千三百 (sì wàn liǎng qiān sān bǎi), or "four ten-thousand two thousand three hundred." 

So on and so forth, any number from 10,000 up to 100,000,000 is constructed by the following pattern:

number of 10,000s
number of 1,000s
number of 100s
number of tens
number of ones

If there is a zero in the hundred's, ten's, or one's place, it is replaced by 零 líng. If there are a series of zeros, as in 21,001, they are replaced by a single 零 líng.

Examples of Large Numbers

Here is a list of more large numbers. Audio files are available and marked with ► to help with pronunciation and listening comprehension skills. See if you can say the number out loud without looking at the Chinese version. Or, listening to the audio file and see if you can write out the number.

wǔ wàn bā qiān liù bǎi jiǔ shí qī​
jiǔ shí wǔ wàn sān bǎi qī shí
yī bǎi ling èr wàn wǔ qiān liù bǎi wǔ shí bā
liǎng qiān yī bǎi liù shí wǔ wàn liǎng qiān sān bǎi
jiǔ qiān qī bǎi wàn

Even Larger Numbers

After ten thousand, the next largest number unit used in Chinese is one-hundred million. One-hundred million in Mandarin Chinese is 億 / 亿 (►). It can also be expressed as 萬萬 / 万万 (wàn wàn).

Following are the series of numbers larger than one-hundred million. Each number is 10,000 times larger than the previous one.

垓 / 兆 zhào 1012
京 jīng 1016
垓 gāi 1020
秭 zǐ 1024
穰 ráng 1028
溝 / 沟 gōu 1032
澗 / 涧 jiàn 1036
正 zhēng 1040
載 / 载 zài 1044

Learning Tips

Using numbers units like 萬 / 万or 億 / 亿 can be confusing at first. Here are a few tips for quickly knowing how to read large numbers out loud.

One tip is to move the comma one place to the left. A number is usually separated every three digits by a comma. For example: 14,000. Now, let's move the comma over by one digit. By seeing a number 1,4000, it becomes easier to read numbers in terms of ten-thousands. In this case, it is 一萬四千 / 一万四千, or "one ten-thousand four thousand." 

Another tip is to simply memorize a few large numbers. How do you say one million in Chinese? What about 10 million?

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Your Citation
Su, Qiu Gui. "Learn to Count Above 10,000 in Chinese." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/large-numbers-2279633. Su, Qiu Gui. (2020, August 27). Learn to Count Above 10,000 in Chinese. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/large-numbers-2279633 Su, Qiu Gui. "Learn to Count Above 10,000 in Chinese." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/large-numbers-2279633 (accessed March 27, 2023).