Chinese numerals

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Chinese numerals are words and characters used to denote numbers in Chinese.

Today, speakers of Chinese use three written numeral systems: the system of Arabic numerals used worldwide, and two indigenous systems. The more familiar indigenous system is based on Chinese characters that correspond to numerals in the spoken language. These are shared with other languages of the Chinese cultural sphere such as Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese. Most people and institutions in China and Taiwan primarily use the Arabic or mixed Arabic-Chinese systems for convenience, with traditional Chinese numerals used in finance, mainly for writing amounts on checks, banknotes, some ceremonial occasions, some boxes, and on commercials.[citation needed]

The other indigenous system is the Suzhou numerals, or huama, a positional system, the only surviving form of the rod numerals. These were once used by Chinese mathematicians, and later in Chinese markets, such as those in Hong Kong before the 1990s, but have been gradually supplanted by Arabic (and also Roman) numerals.

Standard numbers
There are characters representing the numbers zero through nine, and other characters representing larger numbers such as tens, hundreds, thousands and so on. There are two sets of characters for Chinese numerals: one for everyday writing, known as xiǎoxiě (simplified Chinese: 小写; traditional Chinese: 小寫; literally: “small writing, i.e. lower case”), and one for use in commercial or financial contexts, known as dàxiě (simplified Chinese: 大写; traditional Chinese: 大寫; literally: “big writing, i.e. upper case”). The latter arose because the characters used for writing numerals are geometrically simple, so simply using those numerals cannot prevent forgeries in the same way spelling numbers out in English would.[1] A forger could easily change the everyday characters 三十 (30) to 五千 (5000) just by adding a few strokes. That would not be possible when writing using the financial characters 叁拾 (30) and 伍仟 (5000). They are also referred to as “banker’s numerals”, “anti-fraud numerals”, or “banker’s anti-fraud numerals”. For the same reason, rod numerals were never used in commercial records.

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