5 Interesting Facts About Time in China

Apr 18, 2022 | Life In China

Punctuality plays a tremendous role in Chinese culture. In consideration of the fact that China is the third largest country in the world, it’ll be helpful to have a rough idea of how many time zones China has. It will certainly help you avoid being late for important meetings or events. Here are some interesting facts related to time zones and time in China.

5 Interesting Facts About Time in China | That's Mandarin Blog

1. Time zone GMT + 8

When it comes to the time in China, China standard time (CST) is GMT +8. Which means it is eight hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time standard. However, if you are located in a country where Daylight Saving Time is adopted, you need to bear in mind that CST changes to GMT + 7 from the beginning of November to the middle/end of March.

2. There is only one time zone in China

Unlike some countries such as the United States and Australia, which are divided into several time zones, there is only one time zone in China. Therefore, in order to answer questions like “what is the time now in China?”, you need to bear in mind that there is no time difference between the cities along the east coast and those located in the west of China, such as Chengdu.

3. Time in China: Work hours in Xinjiang, Uygur Autonomous Region

Xinjiang is located at the “west end” of China. Urumqi, the capital of the Uygur Autonomous Region, is around 3000 kilometers away from Beijing. Even though there is only one time zone in China, sunrise in Beijing can be seen two hours earlier than in Urumqi. Therefore, people who are living in Xinjiang, usually start to work at 10 am and finish work at 8 pm, with a two-hour break from 2 pm to 4 pm.

4. DST is not used in China

One of the reasons why most countries use Daylight Saving Time is that it’s a way to conserve energy. However, China only adopted Daylight Saving Time from 1986 to 1991. It doesn’t mean that the Chinese government doesn’t care about energy conservation. The reason why China stopped using Daylight Saving Time is that after it was introduced in 1986, Chinese people found DST an extra burden as it brought inconvenience to their daily lives. For instance, many people thought DST had a negative impact on their work efficiency.

5 Interesting Facts About Time in China | That's Mandarin Blog

5. Different ways to express time in Chinese

When it comes to expressing time in Chinese, everything is pretty straightforward. For example, “8:20” is simply expressed as “八点二十分 (bā diǎn èr shí fēn)”, where “点 (diǎn)” and “分(fēn)” can be translated as “o’clock” and “minute” respectively. However, there are things that you still need to pay attention to when expressing time in Chinese:

Word order:

The words for “half” and “quarter” are “半 (bàn)” and “刻 (kè)” respectively. However, if you would like to say “half past eight” or “a quarter past eight” in Chinese, the correct word order will be “eight o’clock half” and “eight o’clock a quarter”.

八点半 (bā diǎn bàn) / 八点三十分 (bā diǎn sān shí fēn) = 8:30
八点一刻 (bā diǎn yī kè) / 八点十五分 (bā diǎn shí wǔ fēn) = 8:15
八点三刻 (bā diǎn sān kè) / 八点四十五分 (bā diǎn sì shí wǔ fēn) = 8:45

Zero plays a part

When you want to express “five past eight (8:05)”, “0” needs to be pronounced:

八点零五分 (bā diǎn líng wǔ fēn) = 8:05

I hope you’ve learned a little bit more about China. To find out more interesting facts about china and Chinese culture, check out one of our blog posts 7 Things About Chinese Culture First-time Travelers Should Know


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