I need to populate a database with Simplified Chinese mailing addresses. Where can I find some test data?


Since I'm trying to work with these addresses in a computer program, it would be nice to know how Chinese mailing addresses are put together. What is the format? Are they like US postal addresses?

Knowing something about the format of mailing addresses--both in theory and as they appear in practice on, in speech and on the internet--would be greatly helpful to someone trying to:

  • Generate plausible entries in a database of mailing addresses.

  • Parse or scrape addresses in automated way.

  • Communicate in Chinese where you live to a taxi driver.

  • Mail a letter to someone in China.

  • Learn about how the administration of geographical regions works in China.

  • Mark, hello and welcome to Chinese Language & Usage. I'm sorry but this site is only about Chinese and its use, so your question is off topic here. Note that the -1 is automatic. :) – Alenanno Jan 24 '13 at 22:35
  • @Alenanno Disagree about it being off topic. The question needs to be rounded out a bit, but asking "What format are addresses in?", "What are some sample Chinese addresses and their structure?" and "Can you help me find a corpus of Chinese addresses?" all seem perfectly reasonable for this site. – Stumpy Joe Pete Jan 24 '13 at 22:41
  • @StumpyJoePete Is the question about Chinese language (as in grammar, rules, etc) and usage? No, rather the OP is asking other people to provide links to external data. Even the examples you gave would probably be better for another site. – Alenanno Jan 24 '13 at 22:44
  • @Alenanno I'm going to throw out a wild guess and say the OP is programming something that needs to know something about the structure of Chinese addresses. Although he just asked for external data links, he should have asked for an explanation of Chinese addresses, which is broadly applicable. In any event, I'm personally interested in the intersection of Chinese language and data science, so I'm glad to help. – Stumpy Joe Pete Jan 24 '13 at 22:56
  • @Alenanno Sorry, chat isn't working for me. Reopen if you think this edit improves the question to an acceptable level. – Stumpy Joe Pete Jan 25 '13 at 0:14

Understanding Addresses

If you want to understand the structure of addresses, this Phonemica post is a good place to start. Turns out it's complicated.

Roughly speaking, it's a hierarchical system working from the top down, from left to right. So, country (optional), province, prefecture level city, small town, district, etc. Unfortunately the levels are not consistent across the board. Some cities are 直辖市 (directly-administered-cities) like Beijing and Shanghai, and as such, they do not belong to a province. Some provinces are called 自治区 (autonomous regions), and their internal structure is different from a (province).

Getting Data


This is a rather slow process, but go to Google maps (China) or Baidu maps, zoom in or search and drill down to individual addresses.

From Baidu [Note, missing the province and city, which are obvious from the map]:



From Google [Full mailing addresses]:




If you want to get a lot of addresses, you're going to need to automate. One approach you could try would be to scrape a website that does reviews, like Dianping.

From Dianping [Same format as Baidu. You have to select a city first, and then all results are restricted to that area, and addresses are relative to it.]:



Cheers, and happy data-ing!

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