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If writing for an exclusively Chinese audience, would the number 五萬 be written as 5,0000 or 50,000?

To flesh out the question, we could consider:

  • 五千 5000 or 5,000
  • 五萬 5,0000 or 50,000
  • 五十萬 50,0000 or 500,000
  • 五百萬 500,0000 or 5,000,000

Am curious, about both text and software which is published with only a native Chinese speaking audience in mind.

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Formally, it follows the western standard, i.e. 5,000 and 50,000 etc. –  Stan Aug 5 '13 at 5:59
I think the title would be a bit more clear as "Where should a comma be placed in large numbers" rather than something so specific. –  Question Marks Aug 5 '13 at 15:55

2 Answers 2

up vote 11 down vote accepted

It's 50 000 or 50,000, the same as international standard.

Reference: 出版物上数字用法的规定 (General rules for writing numerals in publications)

8 多位整数与小数:
8 Multidigit integers and decimals:

8.1 阿拉伯数字书写的多位整数和小数的分节
8.1 Segmentations for multidigit integers and decimals written in Arabic numerals

8.1.1 专业性科技出版物的分节法:从小数点起,向左和向右每三位数字一组,组间空四分之一个汉字(二分之一个阿拉伯数字)的位置。
8.1.1 Segmentation rules for professional scientific publications: from the decimal point, towards the left and the right, make every three digits a group; the width of the gap between two adjacent groups should be 1/4 of a Chinese character width (or 1/2 of an Arabic numeral width).

示例:2 748 456      3.141 592 65

8.1.2 非专业性科技出版物如排版留四分空有困难,可仍采用传统的以千分撇“,”分节的办法。小数部分不分节。四位以内的整数也可以不分节。
8.1.2 For non-"professional scientific publications", if it is difficult to use "quarter space", the traditional segment comma "," is acceptable. Decimal part should not be segmented. Integers less than 4 digits can be either segmented or not segmented.

示例:2,748,456    3.14159265    8703 

Edit by Stan:

If following 8.1.1, then the 四分空(quarter space) should be used according to the standard. Unfortunately, the standard hasn't exactly defined which space should be used. The list of spaces can be found in wiki. And practically, when rendering NOT by a monospaced font, I suggest using

  • U+2005 Four-Per-Em Space, or
  • U+202F Narrow No-Break Space

for the "quarter space". Specially, the "Narrow No-Break Space" is for the intention of not breaking a digit number.

Rendering results with mixed font 宋体+Calibri via Microsoft Word are as follows:


and for the line-breaking case (text aligning setting: 两端对齐 Justify)

space-linebreak *Note that in the "Narrow No-Break Space" case, no matter how you edit the content, the number won't be break into two lines.

BTW, you can use the Alt and the numeric keypad to input the special space, like Alt+8197 or Alt+8239.

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+1 very good reference! And I refine your answer according to the formal scanned copy and this wiki page. Main modifications are 1) the 千分撇 is changed to a half-width comma; 2) 3,14159265 is not correct according to the context. It's changed to 3.14159265. –  Stan Aug 5 '13 at 7:40
Yet, the definition of 空四分之一个汉字(二分之一个阿拉伯数字)的位置 (the width of the space between every three digits should be 1/4 width of a Chinese character or 1/2 width of a digit) is a bit difficult to follow. See wiki, I suggest using the U+2005 Four-Per-Em Space Space if following 8.1.1, because a simple space seems too wide. –  Stan Aug 5 '13 at 8:17
@Stan There are concepts like 全角空格,半角空格,etc, but I have no idea how to represent them in Unicode. The reference I quote is a printing standard. Your way seems better than a normal space. –  Yu Hao Aug 5 '13 at 8:27
If you don't mind, I'd like to help you add the rendering result via Microsoft Word to your answer :) –  Stan Aug 5 '13 at 8:31
@Stan Of course not, that will be very nice. –  Yu Hao Aug 5 '13 at 8:32

We usually just write as 50000, and sometimes follow the western standard 50,000.

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