产业 vs 企业 vs 商业. I think the 3 of them means enterprise. What's the difference between them?

  • 7
    Which dictionaries did you check and what do they say?
    – NS.X.
    Feb 6, 2016 at 9:35

3 Answers 3


企业: enterprise/corporation; business(only the organization, not the activity it engages in)

产业: industry; business(the activity but not the company/organization).

  • eg. 软件产业=software industry/business, 房地产(业)=real estate (business)

商业: commerce/commercial


产业 chan3 ye4 = industry

企业 qi3 ye4 = enterprise

商业 shang1 ye4 = business

Notice each of the words contain "业". That one character means business.

All three of the words mean business but different types of businesses based on size.

Kind of like bread, then branching off into wheat bread, white bread.

  • 1
    商业 is 'commerce/trade', not (the more general) 'business'. 企业 is a 'business' or an 'enterprise' (the organization, not the activity).
    – imrek
    Feb 6, 2016 at 14:14

I agree with the translation of @jooshee.

However, “业” doesn't directly mean "business" as in the way the western world uses it. It only gains this meaning, when combined in ways like the ones in the question.

Classically, “业” means "to work" (verb) or "work" (noun) as becomes obvious form this 成语 : “安居乐业” , which can be translated to "to live in peace and work happily".

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