Do Chinese Use Metric or Imperial Measurements?

China adopted the metric system as it’s official measurement system in the 1920s, aligning itself with the global trend towards standardization. However, despite this official stance, traditional Chinese measurements continue to play a significant role in everyday life. These ancient measurement units, deeply rooted in Chinese culture and history, hold a strong influence over various aspects of Chinese society. While the metric system dominates in official and scientific settings, many Chinese still rely on the familiar and often more practical traditional measurements for cooking, crafting, and trading goods. As a result, China exists in a unique dual-measurement system that intertwines the modern metric system with traditional Chinese measurements, showcasing the dynamic coexistence of past and present in this vast and diverse nation.

Does China Use CM or MM?

China has been using the metric system for many years, and it’s the standard system of measurement used across the country. This means that Chinese citizens use centimeters (CM) and millimeters (MM) for their everyday measurements.

The adoption of the metric system in China can be traced back to the late 19th century, during the Qing Dynasty. The government recognized the need for a standardized system of measurement to facilitate trade and communication, and thus, the metric system was introduced. Since then, it’s remained the primary system used throughout the country.

They’re also used in fields such as engineering, construction, manufacturing, and science. Whether it’s designing buildings, manufacturing products, or conducting scientific experiments, professionals in these industries rely on the metric system to ensure precision and accuracy in their work.

For example, in some traditional Chinese medicine practices or artistic works, units such as “cun” (a unit approximately equivalent to 3.33 cm) may be used. However, these instances are relatively rare and don’t detract from the overall dominance of the metric system.

This system is deeply embedded in various aspects of Chinese society, from everyday life to professional industries.

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In addition to the metric system, China also utilizes the 斤 (jīn) system. This traditional unit of measurement, similar to the British pound, is commonly used for measuring weight, particularly for agricultural produce and groceries.

What Metric Unit Does China Use?

In China, the metric system is widely used for most everyday measurements. The country adopted the metric system in the 1920s, and it’s since become the standard unit of measurement across various industries and sectors. This means that for most measurements, such as length, volume, and temperature, you’ll encounter metric units like meters, liters, and degrees Celsius.

However, it’s important to note that there’s one traditional Chinese unit of measurement that’s still commonly used in some contexts – the 斤 (jīn). The 斤 (jīn) is a unit of weight that’s equivalent to 500 grams or half a kilogram. It’s often used when buying groceries or fresh produce in local markets, especially for items like fruits, vegetables, and meat. So, if you visit a traditional market in China, you might come across prices listed in 斤 (jīn) rather than kilograms.

While most official documents, packaging labels, and road signs in China use metric units, it’s worth mentioning that some older generation Chinese individuals might still be more familiar with traditional Chinese units of measurement. For instance, they might refer to height in terms of 呎 (chǐ) or feet, and land area in terms of 亩 (mǔ) or acre.

Japan, following the Meiji Restoration in 1868, embraced the metric system as it’s primary method of measurement. This significant shift enabled the country to define it’s traditional units in metric terms, using a prototype meter and kilogram as the basis. As a result, neighboring countries, such as Korea and Taiwan, also adopted these values, making them an integral part of their respective measurement systems.

What Metric Does Japan Use?

Japan adopted the metric system following the 1868 Meiji Restoration. During this time, Imperial Japan decided to define the traditional units of measurement in metric terms. They based these measurements on a prototype metre and kilogram. This transition allowed for a standardized and uniform system of measurement in Japan.

The current values of most Korean and Taiwanese units of measurement also derive from the metric system that Japan implemented. This means that these countries have also adopted a similar system to Japan when it comes to measurement. This standardization has aided in international consistency and communication, as the metric system is recognized and used worldwide.

The metric system is known for it’s use of base 10, making it easy to convert between units of measurement. This uniformity allows for seamless understanding and application across different fields and industries. It’s also widely used in scientific research, as it provides a simplified and logical approach to measurement.

By adopting the metric system, Japan has been able to align it’s measurement practices with international standards. This has facilitated trade, collaboration, and communication with other countries that also use the metric system. Additionally, it’s simplified domestic transactions, making it easier for businesses and individuals to navigate everyday life.

It’s allowed for seamless communication and trade with other countries, as well as providing a simplified approach to measurement in various industries.

China uses the metric system for weights and measurements, incorporating a distinct weight scale compared to other countries. It’s essential to understand the conversion tables in order to effectively navigate and communicate weight information in China.

What Is the Weight Scale Used in China?

In China, the metric system is widely used for weights and measurements. The metric system is a decimal-based system that utilizes standard units of measurement. This system is used in various contexts, including for measuring weights in everyday life as well as in industrial settings.

The kilogram (kg) is the standard unit of weight, and it’s commonly used to measure both small and large quantities. For smaller weights, grams (g) are used, which is equivalent to one-thousandth of a kilogram. In some cases, such as when measuring very large or heavy objects, the tonne (t) is used. One tonne is equivalent to 1000 kilograms.

To provide a better understanding of the conversion between metric and imperial measurements, here are a few examples. One kilogram is approximately equal to 2.205 pounds, and one pound is roughly equal to 0.454 kilograms. For smaller measurements, one gram is equivalent to approximately 0.0353 ounces, and one ounce is approximately equal to 28.35 grams. These conversion factors may come in handy for individuals who’re more accustomed to using imperial units.

Traditional Chinese Weight Measurements and Their Equivalents in the Metric System

  • 1 qian ≈ 0.37 grams
  • 1 liang ≈ 37 grams
  • 1 jin ≈ 0.5 kilograms
  • 1 dan ≈ 50 kilograms
  • 1 shi ≈ 500 grams
  • 1 dou ≈ 20 liters

In China, the metric unit commonly used for measuring length is the meter, which is represented by the Chinese word “米” (mǐ). This unit can be modified using the standard SI prefixes, such as kilo-, centi-, etc. However, there’s also a traditional Chinese unit called the “li” or “gong li,” which is equivalent to a kilometer and is often referred to as the Chinese mile. In engineering, traditional units are typically converted to metric units for convenience and standardization.

What Metric Unit Is Used in China?

In China, the metric system is the primary unit of measurement used. The Chinese word for meter is “米” (mǐ), which is commonly used to indicate length. This metric unit can also be combined with Chinese standard SI prefixes such as “kilo-” or “centi-” to denote larger or smaller measurements.

However, it’s worth mentioning that there’s a traditional Chinese unit of distance called the “lǐ” (里), which is also known as the Chinese mile. This unit is equivalent to approximately 500 meters. Despite it’s historical significance, the use of the lǐ as a measurement isn’t as common in modern times, and it’s generally more customary to refer to distances in meters or kilometers.

In engineering and technical fields, where precise and standardized measurements are crucial, traditional units are often converted to metric units. This is done to align with global standards and facilitate international communication and collaboration.

The influence of traditional units, such as the lǐ, has diminished in everyday life, and efforts have been made to streamline measurements according to international standards.

The History and Development of the Metric System in China

  • The origin of the metric system in China can be traced back to the early 20th century.
  • During this time, China recognized the need for a standardized system of measurement that would be compatible with the global scientific community.
  • In 1915, the Chinese government established the Metrication Committee to study and implement the metric system.
  • The committee worked on aligning China’s units of measurement with the International System of Units (SI).
  • By 1929, China officially adopted the metric system as it’s primary system of measurement.
  • This adoption aimed to facilitate international trade, improve scientific research, and enhance communication with other countries.
  • The metric system brought uniformity to China’s measurement practices, providing a common language for all sectors of society.
  • Since then, China has continued to refine and develop it’s use of the metric system, taking into account advancements in technology and international standards.
  • The metric system is now widely used in various fields, including science, industry, commerce, and everyday life in China.
  • Overall, the history and development of the metric system in China reflect the country’s commitment to modernization and it’s integration into the global community.


While the metric system aligns China with the global standard and facilitates international trade, the persistence of traditional measurements reflects the cultural heritage and deep-rooted traditions that permeate Chinese society.

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