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Official Language



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Chinese Speaking Countries 2024

Standard Chinese, also known as Mandarin, is the official language of Mainland China, Taiwan, and Singapore. It is believed that 297 living languages are in China today. Mandarin is known as “Putonghua” in Mainland China and is the common language of all modern Han people. In Taiwan and Hong Kong, it is called “Guoyu,” and in Singapore and Malaysia, it is called “Huayu.” Mandarin is shaped and based on the Beijing dialect and other dialects spoken in northern China. Mandarin has written vernacular Chinese in its grammar, Mandarin dialects in its vocabulary, and the Beijing dialect in its pronunciation.

The Standard Chinese in Mainland China is regulated by the National Language Regulating Committee, which has a law titled “National Common Language and Writing Law.” This law’s provisions require the mandatory promotion of Standard Chinese by the Chinese government. About 70% of the population in Mainland China can speak Standard Chinese, but only 10% can speak it fluently. Chinese is one of six official languages of the United Nations (UN). Mandarin is used as a native language by about one-fifth of the world’s total population. This means over 1 billion people speak Chinese (Mandarin). It has also had a major role in shaping languages and characters of some other Asian countries, such as Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

Countries that Speak Chinese

Mandarin is the official language of Mainland China and Taiwan. It is also an official language in Singapore. Additionally, Mandarin is spoken in Hong Kong (China S.A.R.) and Macau (China S.A.R.), as well as in Malaysia and Tibet. Because of significantly large Chinese populations living around the world, Mandarin is spoken in countries in the Americas, Europe, Oceania, and Africa as well. For example, the U.S. has a Chinese population of about 6 million, with high concentrations in Chinatowns in New York City and San Francisco. Countries with large Chinese communities and Mandarin speakers are the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Nigeria, Mauritius, and Madagascar. Mandarin may not be the most common dialect of Chinese in every international community. In New York City’s Chinatown, for example, Cantonese is the most popular Chinese dialect.

  • Chinese is an official language in Hong Kong, China, Macao, Taiwan and Singapore and is spoken in 21 other countries as mother tongue by a part of the population. A total of about 1.4 billion people worldwide speak Chinese as their mother tongue, including more than 1.3 billion on the Chinese mainland.

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Official Language
Distribution (Percent)
Total Speakers
ChinaEast Asia92%1,311,617,000
TaiwanEast Asia87.5%20,633,000
ThailandSoutheast Asia12.3%8,819,000
Hong KongEast Asia94.8%6,964,000
United StatesNorth America0.9%3,000,000
SingaporeSoutheast Asia50.8%2,864,000
MalaysiaSoutheast Asia7.4%2,511,000
PhilippinesSoutheast Asia2%2,311,000
VietnamSoutheast Asia1.4%1,375,000
AustraliaAustralia/New Zealand2.8%727,000
CambodiaSoutheast Asia3.1%520,000
CanadaNorth America1.2%467,000
JapanEast Asia0.2%250,000
New ZealandAustralia/New Zealand2.2%113,000
South KoreaEast Asia0.1%52,000
BruneiSoutheast Asia9.3%42,000
North KoreaEast Asia0.1%26,000
ReunionEastern Africa2.8%20,000
Costa RicaCentral America0.2%10,000
French PolynesiaPolynesia2.5%8,000
Northern Mariana IslandsMicronesia6.7%3,000

How many countries speak Chinese?

Several nations have Standard Chinese (Mandarin) as an official language, including Mainland China, Singapore, and Taiwan. Hong Kong, Tibet, Macau, and Malaysia also use Mandarin.

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