First names in China can, in theory, be made up of any of the Chinese language’s 100,000 characters and can take any meaning. That said, there are many common forenames which are used and families often choose to follow tradition.
Naming After a Celebrity or Famous Historical Figure
It is considered bad luck to copy the names of celebrities or famous historical figures when naming children. Families often avoid naming a child after an older relative for the same reason.
During the time of the Chinese Empire, people who had the same name as the emperor could find themselves severely punished if they did not change their names upon his ascension.
Some families still share the first two characters among (more often) male members of the family. Other families choose a number of generational names which are cycled through.
The Most Popular Names in China
Note: first names shown in conjunction with common surnames. First names in China are displayed following the surname.
- 张伟 【張偉】 Zhang Wei
- 王伟 【王偉】Wang Wei
- 李伟 【李偉】Li Wei
- 刘伟 【劉偉】Liu Wei
- 李强 【李強】Li Qiang
- 王芳 【王芳】Wang Fang
- 王秀英 【王秀英】Wang Xiu Ying
- 李秀英 【李秀英】Li Xiu Ying
- 李娜 【李娜】Li Na
- 张秀英 【張秀英】Zhang Xiu Ying
Have you managed to choose a Chinese name from the list? Perhaps you already have one? We’d be delighted if you would share yours on our social media channels!
Why not learn the ten most common surnames in China?