In English, when reading a number, we make groups of 3 digits (ones, thousands, millions...), in Chinese we have to make groups of 4 digits (ones, tens of thousands, hundreds of millions...).
I. List of characters.
Example of simplified chinese, usual notation. For other notations please see paragraph V.
0  零 
1  一 
2  二 
3  三 
4  四 
5  五 
6  六 
7  七 
8  八 
9  九 
10  十 
100  百 
1000  千 
10 000  万 
100 000 000  亿 
 (negative)  负 
. (decimal point)  点 
II. Integers, four digits or less.
Exception of numbers beginning with ten.
Rule :
Take digits one by one from left to right. Each digit is converted by means of two characters.
Example : 3 758 = 三千七百五十八.
That is to say : threethousand sevenhundred fiveten eight.
In addition to the exception of the ones digit (8 in this example) wich is converted by means of only one character , there are two notable exceptions to this rule.
Exception of numbers beginning with ten.
In numbers from 10 to 19 there is no character 一 at the left side of the character 十 .Exception of zero.
Zero is converted by means of only one character.
Example : 103 = 一百零三.
In the case of several consecutive zeroes, write only one character 零 .
Example : 1 003 = 一千零三 not 一千零零三.
There is no character 零 at the right end of a number.
Example : 2 400 = 二千四百 not 二千四百零零 nor 二千四百零.
III. Integers, from five to twelve digits.
Integers, from five to eight digits.
Integers, from nine to twelve digits.
Integers, from five to eight digits.
Ignore the series of the four right side digits.
Proceed with the other series of digits as explained inparagraph II.
Insert the character 万 (10 000).
Proceed with the right side series as explained in paragraph II.
Example : 1 035 789 = 一百零三万五千七百八十九.
The exception of numbers beginning with ten applies only to the left series (beginning).
Example : 130 013 = 十三万零一十三 not 十三万零十三.
The exception of zero applies inside each series.
Example : 1 300 020 = 一百三十万零二十 not 一百三十零万零二十零 (no 零 at the right end of a series).
Integers, from nine to twelve digits.
Ignore the eight right side digits (two series of four).
Proceed with the other digits as explained in paragraph II.
Insert the character 亿 (100 000 000).
Proceed with the eight right side digits as explained above.
Example : 2 403 005 708 = 二十四亿零三百万五千七百零八.
Exceptions apply as explained above.
Don’t write the character 万 when it is “useless”, that is to say when the four previous digits are zeroes.
Example : 2 400 005 708 = 二十四亿零五千七百零八 not 二十四亿零万五千七百零八.
IV Decimal numbers and negative numbers.
Decimal numbers.
After writing the integer part, insert the character 点 (decimal point). Then enumerate the digits of the fractional part.
In that case one digit is is converted by means of only one character and several characters 零 can be consecutive.
Examples : 3.1416 = 三点一四一六.
53.0006 = 五十三点零零零六.
Negative numbers.
Just begin with the character 负 .V. Table of characters with their four notations.
Four notations.
There are today two systems of chinese characters : traditional chinese (used in Taiwan and others) and simplified chinese (used in Mainland China and others).
In both systems each character used for writing numbers has a “usual” notation and a “financial” notation more complex, used to avoid ambiguities for instance in financial transactions.
So each of these characters has four potentially different notations (actualy many of these are identical).
Table :
Simplified chinese Usual notation 
Simplified chinese Financial notation 
Traditional chinese Usual notation 
Traditional chinese Financial notation 


0  零  零  零  零 
1  一  壹  一  壹 
2  二  贰  二  貳 
3  三  叁  三  參 
4  四  肆  四  肆 
5  五  伍  五  伍 
6  六  陆  六  陸 
7  七  柒  七  柒 
8  八  捌  八  捌 
9  九  玖  九  玖 
10  十  拾  十  拾 
100  百  佰  百  佰 
1000  千  仟  千  仟 
10 000  万  万  萬  萬 
100 000 000  亿  亿  億  億 
 (negative)  负  负  負  負 
. (decimal point)  点  点  點  點 
VI. A remark.
When reading paragraph II, it appears that the way we write numbers with characters, roughly speaking corresponds to the way we pronounce them in english ( three thousand seven hundred...) . And of course exactly corresponds to the way we pronounce them in chinese.
This correspondence between writing and pronouncing (one character  one syllable) is a general rule in chinese. Characters used for writing numbers are ordinary characters, they have no peculiar status. So it seems incorrect to talk of them as “chinese digits”.
For more information, see, for instance, this page in Wikipedia.
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