Both 製作 and 製造 mean "to make" according to this dictionary:

It seems like 製造 might refer to physical items like a shirt or shoes, but not digital items like software or music.

Is this true, or are they interchangeable?

Is there any difference in usage between Mandarin and Cantonese?

  • 制造 1) make; manufacture 这是中国制造的。 This was made in China. 2) engineer; create; fabricate(3) [ create ]∶造成某种气氛或局面 制造敌对气氛 fabricate; fabrication; manufacture; manufacturing; making; produce; make; work off; production制造 can have negative implications 制造动乱 create disturbances 制造分裂 foment splits 制造假象 put up a false front 制造紧张局势 create tension 制造纠纷 create trouble; sow dissension 制造流血事件 provoke bloodshed 制造内乱 stir up internal strife 制造事端 provoke incidents
    – user6065
    Commented Sep 24, 2017 at 3:40
  • 制作 (1) [make; manufacture]∶制造 制作玩具 (2) [writing]∶指写作 (cf. 作者,作家) (3) [system]∶制度 定制作制作家具 make furniture 精心制作的银器 elaborately wrought silverware 制作精巧 skilled manufacture; perfect in workmanship
    – user6065
    Commented Sep 24, 2017 at 3:43

4 Answers 4


The character 作 contains the meaning of 'create'

製作 refers to crafting, creating or making something that require skilled hands or creative mind (usually a single piece or in modest quantity)

For "making jewelry" you should say "製作首飾" instead of "製造首飾" because jewelry making is a fine craft.

A 'big movies' is a '大製作' (big production) - making movies is a creative art.

'製作' can be a noun for 'production'; 製造 is strictly a verb

製造 refers to manufacturing, producing or making something with or without skilled hands (from single piece to industrial scale)

For "iPhone is made by Apple" You should say "iPhone 是由蘋果製造的" instead of "iPhone 是由蘋果製作的" because the production of iPhone is certainly in industrial scale

There are no difference in usage between Mandarin and Cantonese

  • thanks for another awesome explanation :) was waiting for your answer to chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/26668 before awarding an answer but couldn't keep the original responder waiting too long :) thanks again!
    – Crashalot
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 5:15
  • btw you should include 老師 in your profile name. you have probably taught thousands of people through this site. :)
    – Crashalot
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 5:16
  • If a question is answered correctly by someone else, there's no reason for me to add one more answer. I myself still have a lot to learn. The process of finding the correct way to explain something is also a studying process
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 5:27
  • well often i wait for your answer before choosing one seems like the "correct" one because yours contain so much insight and detail :) thanks again 老師!
    – Crashalot
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 5:43
  • hi tang any thoughts on this question? chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/26526/…
    – Crashalot
    Commented Sep 30, 2017 at 23:37

制作 often applies to

1, hand-made items. example: 如何制作蛋糕 how to make a cake?

  1. craftsmanship. example: 精心制作的旅游纪念品 carefully crafted tourist souvenirs

制造 mass-produce using machines in a factory.


製造: to manufacture; Most of time referring to make hardware products. For example, 機器製造,服裝製造, 電腦製造 and etc.

製作: to make; It's often used for software, art craft, work of art, music, movie and etc. For example, 軟件製作, 電影製作, 工藝品製作.

製作 engages more manual labor, while 製造 engages more machine work and products are often produced in product-lines.

Their scale is different; 製作 is limited in number, while 製造 is vast in number.

  1. 制作[zhì zuò] fabrication; make; manufacture: make furniture; 制作家具; elaborately wrought silverware; 精心制作的银器
  2. 制造[zhì zào] a.(对原材料进行加工) make; manufacture; produce:produce lathes; 制造车床 make machines; 制造机器 b.(人为造成的气氛或局面等) engineer; create; fabricate; fabrication; manufactory: raise one obstacle after another; 制造重重障碍; create disturbances; 制造动乱
  3. 制作:制造;指文艺作品的创作。make; the creation of literary works.
  4. 制造:制作,将原材料加工成器物;人为地造成某种气氛或局面等,多含贬义。making,processing raw materials into objects; to create an atmosphere or situation, contains derogatory sense.

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