How Big is China – Size Matters

How Big is China – Size Matters

So how big is China, really?

We all know China is big, but just how big?

How Big is China – Population

How Big is China – World Maps

How Big is China – High Speed Rail

How Big is China – Golden Week Migration

How Big is China – Time Zone(s)

How Big is China – Cement Used

How Big is China – Random, Crazy Facts

Let’s start with some basic, but rather large numbers

  • China is the 4th largest country in the world (behind Russia, Canada and the US)
  • China’s population is 1.386 billion (2017) – the largest in the world
  • China is the largest country in Asia
  • The total area of China (including administrative regions) is 9,596,960 sq km (3,705,406 sq mi)
How Big is China? BIG! Map thanks to

How Big is China? BIG! Map thanks to

Size matters in China – numbers are staggering and, despite being eclipsed by three countries in terms of land mass, they make up for it in population!

Oh and as we are talking about rather large numbers, this seems rather appropriate to drop into the post:

How Big is China – Population

As stated, China is the world’s most populous country but let’s dig deeper:

  • More than 100 Chinese cities have a population that is greater than 1,000,000 people!
  • Tianjin, the 3rd largest city in China nearly doubles New York in terms of size.
  • On average, 34 new born children are born every minute in China.
China's Population Growth since the turn of 2000

China’s Population Growth since the turn of 2000 – Tables thanks to

To put into perspective the size of China’s population here are the top 10 most populated countries in the world:

*numbers will vary from source to source

1. China 1,389,618,778 people
2. India 1,311,559,204 people
3. United States 331,883,986 people
4. Indonesia 264,935,824 people
5. Pakistan 210,797,836 people
6. Brazil 210,301,591 people
7. Nigeria 208,679,114 people
8. Bangladesh 161,062,905 people
9. Russia 141,944,641 people
10. Mexico 127,318,112 people

PERSPECTIVE – Russia is the biggest country in world, and the 9th most populous. China’s population is around ten times bigger than Russia

In terms of most populated cities in the world, although China does not take the Gold Medal (that award belongs to Tokyo), it does dominate the bigger positions.

  • Shanghai – 3rd biggest city in the world (almost 26,000,000 people)
  • Beijing – 8th biggest city in the world (roughly 20,000,000 people)
  • Chongqing – 13th biggest city in the world (roughly 15,000,000 people)
  • Tianjin – 19th biggest city in the world (over 12,000,000 people)

China has 5 representatives in the top 20 most populated cities in the world (Guangzhou also coming in at 20th), India comes next with 3 cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata) and Japan has two (Tokyo and Osaka).

DID YOU KNOW – Roughly 1 in every 5 people in the world is Chinese (18.41% of the total world population is Chinese)

And to finish off, here’s some key vocab for us to learn

Population – 人口 Rénkǒu

Country – 国家 Guójiā

Number – 数 Shù

Big – 大 Dà

How Big is China – World Maps

Visuals are always more striking than words for topics like this so we’ll let the images do the talking here with some comparisons that will prove to you just how big China is!

All maps are credited to

Africa is NOT small! It’s actually the 2nd largest continent in the world (behind Asia of course)!

China covers a vast array of countries in Africa as you’ll see below. We’ve placed China in the centre of the continent to give you a clearer picture.

How Big is China compared to Africa

How Big is China compared to Africa

Australia is the 6th largest country in the world, it’s a big player. China however, eats it up for breakfast!

With over 2 million more square miles to its name, China is comfortably bigger than Australia.

How Big is China vs Australia - Bigger!

How Big is China vs Australia – Bigger!

Bar Russia, no country in Europe can even come close to competing with the size of China.

How Big is China? BIG! Map thanks to

How Big is China? BIG! Map thanks to

Brazil is huge, still not as big as China, but not too far off, but what about the rest of South America?

Here’s how China fares over South America on a map.

How Big is China vs South America

How Big is China vs South America

More vocab now:

South America – 南美洲 Nán měizhōu

Africa – 非洲 Fēizhōu

Europe – 欧洲 Ōuzhōu

Australia – 澳大利亚 Àodàlìyǎ

How Big is China – Incredible Progress with High Speed Rail

The progress China has made with high speed rail from 2008-2018 is staggering… see this screenshot below to show the differences.

*We took these screenshots from the below video, please watch. It’s 12 minutes, but you will not regret it, the figures and facts are hard to believe!

The captions tell you all you need to know:

  • 8 times more high speed rail than France
  • 10 times more high speed rail than Japan

It’s fair to say in just 10 years China has made utterly incredible progression with their high-speed rail that no other country can even come close to competing with!

Here’s some more quite astounding figures to wrap your head around:

  • China has a huge 65% of the world’s of high-speed running on the planet
    • To be more precise, China has 26,869 km (16,696 mi) of the 41,222 km (25,614 mi) high speed rail worldwide!
      • Just because that isn’t enough, another 10,738 km (6,672 mi) is currently under construction meaning soon enough, China will have over 40,000 km worth of high speed rail! That’s the rest of the world’s high speed rail put together!
  • Data from 2015: Half the world’s high-speed rail riders were based in China.
    • To be more exact, that was 800 million high speed riders in 2015!
  •  The top speed of the trains are 350km p/h

And the vocab:

High Speed Train – 高铁 Gāo tiě

Train Ticket – 火车票 Huǒchē piào

Speed – 速度 Sùdù

Kilometers – 公里 Gōnglǐ

How Big is China – Golden Week Migration

On the topic of transport let’s quickly touch on China’s Golden Week.

How big is China: Taken from the Telegraphs Infographic you can download here -

How big is China: Taken from the Telegraphs Infographic you can download here –

From October 1st – 7th Chinese are given time off and this is commonly used to travel (with Chinese New Year the time to spend with loved ones and relatives).


Travel and Tourism revenue over Golden Week reached 87 BILLION USD during the 2018 holiday.

The top 3 destinations for Chinese tourists during this mass migration are:

Retail and catering businesses during the holiday took in an almost incomprehensible 200+ BILLION USD!

That was a 9.5% increase on the previous year!

Golden Week is a BIG deal in China, hence it’s inclusion in this post!

Thanks to the Telegraph for the data provided.

Vocab time:

Travel – 旅行 Lǚxíng

Golden Week – 国庆节 Guóqìng jié

Tourists – 游客 Yóukè

How Big is China – Only One Time Zone?

So you are starting to realise China is huge right?

Timezones are a thing for those of us who live in larger countries.

If you are Russian, you have the joy of trying to navigate just the mere 11 time zones!

America’s mainland covers 4 time zones but with Alaska and Hawaii there are 6 (there are further ones but we needn’t go into those). From west to east, they are Hawaii, Alaska, Pacific, Mountain, Central, and Eastern.

China, being big should have a similar number then?

Well in fact, China has as many time zones as the UK – just one!

We wrote a blog about it, find out why it’s just one below

Why China Doesn’t Have Daylight Saving Time?

It’s that time again:

Time Zone – 时区 Shíqū

Time Difference – 时差 Shíchā

How Big is China – Cement Used

Sounds like an odd chapter doesn’t it? However, one fact inspired this:

US Cement Usage in the 20th Century vs China Cement Usage from 2011-2013

US Cement Usage in the 20th Century vs China Cement Usage from 2011-2013

China used more cement between 2011 and 2013 than the U.S. used in the entire 20th Century.

Seems barely believable doesn’t it. The US is a monster and endured great growth in the 1900’s. Yet China managed to eclipse the amount of cement used in just 2 years, that’s just 730 days (731 actually, including the leap year)!

731 days work, or a century?! Just doesn’t seem possible but that’s exactly what happened.

Thanks to the Washington Post for the data/graphic provided.

Although it’s difficult to illustrate this, pictures again are our best tool. Here are some images showing China’s growth in recent years. It’s a LOT of cement!

Shanghai - Then (1990) and Now (2010)

Shanghai – Then (1990) and Now (2010)

Perhaps China’s greatest triumph in recent history is the transformation of the city of Shenzhen.

Hong Kong and Shenzhen - 1980 - 2010

Hong Kong and Shenzhen – 1980 – 2010

Shenzhen, up until recent history was a minor fishing village with a small population.

Within the space of a generation it has been transformed into one of China’s great superpowers, with skyscraper after skyscraper and job opportunities for the masses.

Sure, this didn’t all happen between 2011 and 2013 but the virtual creation of not just a city, but a superpower in the space of 30 years? It seems beyond the realms of possibility.

Crunching some numbers again:


  • 1980 population: 4.6 million
  • 2015 population: 7.3 million


  • 1980 population: 58,000
  • 2015 population: 10.7 million

Yes, you saw that right! An increase in population of OVER 10 million in just 35 years! There are no words!

Right then, one final time, it’s vocab time:

Cement – 水泥 Shuǐní

Shanghai – 上海

Shenzhen – 深圳

USA – 美国

How Big is China – Random, Crazy Facts

And the grand finale:

Time for some purely random, but ridiculous facts about this unique country, here goes:

It's Big - but not the biggest

It’s Big – but not the biggest

  • China’s railway lines are so broad they could loop around the planet, TWICE!
  • On average, there is a new skyscraper built in China every FIVE DAYS!
    • That’s 73 per year!
  • Half the world’s pigs, live in China
  • China’s Shanghai Tower is currently the 2nd tallest building in the world. Its overall height is a mere 632 metres / 2,073 feet!
  • In the top 10 tallest buildings in the world, China holds positions 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th (10th being the Taipei 101 in Taiwan)
    • It also holds positions 11th and 12th for good measure!
  • Using the Heihe-Tengchong Line proves that there is 94% of the entire Chinese population live in a 43% of the area of China. On the west side of the line, 57% of the area and only 6% of the population
    • To find out more about this imaginary line, Wikipedia is your best friend!
  • China uses 45 BILLION Chopsticks every year.

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