Chinese Last Names

About first names

The logo shown above is the Chinese word for 'last name.'

Last name is shared within all members in the family

All members in a Chinese family have the same last name (surname, family name). Children all bear the same last name as their parents. When a bride marries into the family, she assumes the last name of her husband. When a daughter marries, she leaves the family and assumes the last name of her husband.

One Hundred Chinese Names

The list of "Hundred Names" was compiled many years ago by order of the Emperor as the 100 most popular surnames (or last, or family names) in China at the time. School children used to memorize them, or at least the first few names from the list.

The top 8 Chinese last names, based on this list complied hundreds of years ago, are:

        Zhao    Qian    Sun    Li, 
        Zhou    Wu      Zheng  Wang.

In 2006, a new list based on a two-year study of some 200 million names gives the most popular names as:

Li (Lee), Wang, Zhang, Liu, Chen, Yang, Huang, Zhao, Zhou, Wu, Xu, Sun, Zhu, Ma, Hu, Guo, Ln, He, Gao, Liang, Zheng, Luo, Song, Xie, Tang, Han, Cao, Xu, Deng, Xiao.......

See details here.

In many Western countries, there is a short list of popular 'first names,' but countless 'last names.' In China, it is just the reverse. The list of last name is short, and the number of first names is in the billions.

This may be the reason that in Western countries, one customarily tell strangers one's first name ("My name is Bob.") Whereas in China, one generally give out his last name instead ("Just ask for Mr. Wang.")

The "Hundred Names" :