Opinions, knowledge and resources from China Checkup's expert contributors

What are the 7 Regions of China?

by Matt Slater November 08, 2018

7 Regions of China

Did you know that there are 7 different regions of China which are often cited in official sources when describing China's geography, climate, economy and governance?

Each of these regions are comprised of several Chinese provinces which are in close proximity and share certain geographical and cultural similarities.

Keep reading to view a map and learn more about the 7 regions of China.

Why Does China Have Regions?

China is a very large and populous country with 22 provinces (23 if Taiwan is included), 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities and 2 special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau).

Sometimes it isn't practical to provide information specific to each province, so a broader method is required to describe different parts of the country.

A good example of this would be during a national weather forecast. In China it is also a popular way to refer to a region's food styles and tourism resources.

Such systems are very common, particularly in larger countries. For example, the United States Census Bureau defines 4 regions of their country - Northeast, Midwest, South and West.

Map of the Regions of China

The below map uses color coding to identify the 7 regions of China:

North China   Northeast China   East China   South China   Central China   Southwest China   Northwest China

The 7 Regions of China

In Chinese these regions are typically called "中国七大地理地区" which means "7 Geographical Regions of China"

Here is some data on each: 

North China (华北)

  • Name in Pinyin: Huabei
  • Population: 137,250,000 (10.2% of China's total)
  • Area: 1,556,828 square kilometres (16.2% of China's total)
  • Provinces:
    • Beijing (北京)
    • Tianjin (天津)
    • Hebei (河北)
    • Shanxi (山西)
    • Inner Mongolia (内蒙古)

Northeast China (东北)

  • Name in Pinyin: Dongbei
  • Population: 109,100,000 (8.1%)
  • Area: 790,600 square kilometres (8.2%)
  • Provinces:
    • Liaoning (辽宁)
    • Jilin (吉林)
    • Heilongjiang (黑龙江)

East China (华东)

  • Name in Pinyin: Huadong
  • Population: 406,180,000 (30.1%)
  • Area: 798,741 square kilometres (8.3%)
  • Provinces:
    • Shanghai (上海)
    • Jiangsu (江苏)
    • Zhejiang (浙江)
    • Anhui (安徽)
    • Fujian (福建)
    • Jiangxi (江西)
    • Shandong (山东)
  • Special Note: In circumstances where Taiwan (台湾) is included, it is usually considered to be a province within this region

South China (华南)

  • Name in Pinyin: Huanan
  • Population: 175,153,500 (13.0%)
  • Area: 453,790 square kilometres (4.7%)
  • Provinces:
    • Guangdong (广东)
    • Guangxi (广西)
    • Hainan (海南)
    • Hong Kong (香港) - note: not included when referring to "Mainland China"
    • Macau (澳门) - note: not included when referring to "Mainland China"

Central China (华中)

  • Name in Pinyin: Huazhong
  • Population: 222,390,000 (16.5%)
  • Area: 564,700 square kilometres (5.9%)
  • Provinces:
    • Henan (河南)
    • Hubei (湖北)
    • Hunan (湖南)

Southwest China (西南)

  • Name in Pinyin: Xinan
  • Population: 199,670,000 (14.8%)
  • Area: 2,367,200 square kilometres (24.6%)
  • Provinces:
    • Chongqing (重庆)
    • Sichuan (四川)
    • Guizhou (贵州)
    • Yunnan (云南)
    • Tibet (西藏)

Northwest China (西北)

  • Name in Pinyin: Xibei
  • Population: 100,890,000 (7.5%)
  • Area: 3,113,100 square kilometres (32.1%)
  • Provinces:
    • Shaanxi (陕西)
    • Gansu (甘肃)
    • Qinghai (青海)
    • Ningxia (宁夏)
    • Xinjiang (新疆)

Usage Examples

National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System Provinces
The 7 Regions as displayed on China's National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System

Here are some examples of where the system of 7 Regions in China are used:

  • To highlight different provinces on China's "National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System" - China's main company registration database
  • Weather forecasts by the National Meteorological Center of China Meteorological Administration
  • Throughout the country to describe different regions of China is the college textbook "中国自然地理" (China Physical Geography)
  • As a basis for the address code part of the China ID card numbering system 

Aren't There Only 6 Regions in China?

It is true that sometimes China is divided into 6 regions and when this happens it is usually because the South China (华南) and Central China (华中) regions are being combined.

In such cases this combined region is known as South Central China (中南) or just Central China.

An example of this is on the National Bureau of Statistics of China website which presents data that has South China and Central China regions listed together under "Central China":

National Bureau of Statistics of China Regional Data
Regional data displayed on the National Bureau of Statistics of China website

Matt Slater
Matt Slater


Hi there, I'm Matt, the founder of China Checkup. Originally from the UK, I am now based in Brisbane, Australia.

Frustrated by the scarcity of concise, high-quality and timely information about Chinese companies, I setup China Checkup whilst living in Shanghai in 2013.

My team are proud that China Checkup's company verification reports have now helped thousands of clients from all corners of the world to do business in China more safely.



Related Articles

List of Countries with Freight Trains from China
List of Countries with Freight Trains from China
In recent years freight trains from China have been capturing newspaper headlines by arriving in more and more countries. Perhaps there is no more striking example of this then when the first China to Spain cargo train returned to Yiwu having covered a world record 16,156-mile round trip in 2015. Re
Read More
China Phone Codes - An Introduction
China Phone Codes - An Introduction
With multiple international codes, hundreds of area codes and numbers of different lengths, making sense of China phone codes can be challenging. Determining if a Chinese phone number is a mobile or a landline, and knowing where in the country it is located can be a useful way to better understand w
Read More
Which Bodies Manage Chinese Lab Accreditation?
Which Bodies Manage Chinese Lab Accreditation?
Chinese lab accreditation is managed by different accreditation bodies depending on whether the laboratory is located in Mainland China, Hong Kong or Taiwan. When you are importing products from China, requesting test reports to demonstrate that the product meets necessary standards can often be cri
Read More

Also in Safer, Better Business in China

China ISO 45001 Certificate - An Introduction
China ISO 45001 Certificate - An Introduction

by Matt Slater June 14, 2019

Have you received a China ISO 45001 certificate and wondered what it is, if it is real and how to check it?

Replacing the previous standard OHSAS 18001 in 2018, this new international standard specifies the requirements for occupational health and safety.

The uptake of certification to this standard in China has been quick and many Chinese organizations are providing their clients with copies of their China ISO 45001 certificate. Learn more about it here.

Continue Reading

8 Most Useful China Map Websites
8 Most Useful China Map Websites

by Matt Slater May 21, 2019

Whether you are planning a trip to China, researching a specific location, or trying to figure out how bad the Beijing rush hour is, there are plenty of good reasons to use China map websites.

Although most international map websites cover China, these websites face various restrictions which mean they can't provide a service as in-depth as their Chinese counterparts, so it is a good idea to know your options.

In this article we introduce the 8 most useful China map websites, including both international services available in your language, and some impressive domestic websites only available in Chinese.

Continue Reading

Top 5 Cities for China to Europe Freight Trains
Top 5 Cities for China to Europe Freight Trains

by Matt Slater May 07, 2019

With the high cost of sending freight by air, and the slow speed of sea freight, Chinese exporters are increasingly utilizing China to Europe freight trains as a means of sending their produce west.

As might be expected, the majority of these trains depart from cities located far from China's coastline and her seaports, but which Chinese cities have the most rail shipments?

We took a look at the data and found that the top 5 cities for China to Europe freight trains are each provincial capitals with huge populations - with Chengdu in Sichuan province leading the way. 

Continue Reading