Taiwanese units of measurement

Taiwanese units of measurement (Chinese: 臺制, Taiwanese: Tâi-chè, Hakka: Thòi-chṳ, Mandarin: Táizhì) are the customary and traditional units of measure used in Taiwan. The Taiwanese units formed in the 1900s when Taiwan under Japanese rule. The system mainly refers to Japanese system with some units derived from the Qing era Chinese units and Dutch era Dutch units. The Taiwanese units are pronounced in Taiwanese Hokkien and Hakka before the World War II and adopted by the Mandarin speaking immigrants from China in 1949. Today, the Taiwanese units are used exclusively, in some cases alongside official metric (SI) units, and in other cases they have been supplanted by metric units. Linguistically, practically all Taiwanese units of measure are Chinese classifiers used to classify nouns.

Note that although the Taiwanese units have similar names to those in Chinese units of measurement and Hong Kong units of measurement, the standard is different to those used in China or Hong Kong.


Linear measure in Taiwan is largely metric but some units derived from traditional Japanese units of measurement remain in use as a legacy of Japanese rule.

Table of Lengths
Unit Taiwanese
Metric US & Imperial Notes
Taiwanese Hakka Mandarin Character Exact Approx. Exact Approx.
Hun Fûn Fēn 1100  1/330 m 3.030 mm 125/37,719 yd 0.1193 in Same as Japanese Bu
Chhùn Chhun Cùn 110  1/33 m 3.030 cm 1250/37,719 yd 1.193 in Taiwanese inch; Same as Japanese Sun
Chhioh Chhak Chǐ 10/33 m 30.30 cm 12,500/37,719 yd 11.93 in Taiwanese foot; Same as Japanese Shaku
Tn̄g Chhong Zhàng 10  100/33 m 3.030 m 125,000/37,719 yd 9 ft 11.3 in Taiwanese fathom; Same as Japanese

Taiwanese length units and the translation of length units in Metric system (SI) shares the same character. The adjective Taiwanese () can be added to address the Taiwanese unis system. For example, 台尺 means Taiwanese foot and 公尺 means meter.


10-Phêng Apartment
An advertisement from IKEA for a 10-pêⁿ apartment

Unlike with other measures, area continues to be almost commonly measured with traditional units. Taiwanese units of area are derived from both traditional Dutch and Japanese measurements. The principal unit for measuring the floor space of an office or apartment is (Taiwanese: pêⁿ [1], Hakka: phiàng, Mandarin: píng). The unit is derives from the Japanese tsubo, the base unit of the Japanese area. The principal unit of land measure is (Taiwanese: kah, Hakka: kap, Mandarin: jiǎ). The unit is derived from the obsolete Dutch morgen, which was introduced during Taiwan's Dutch era. In the later era Kingdom of Tungning, (Taiwanese: lê, Hakka: lài, Mandarin: lí) is defined to represent the area that could be farmed by one man with one ox and one plow in one day. Today, the rule for converting the two major units from two different sources is

1 (Taiwanese: kah, Hakka: kap, Mandarin: jiǎ, Dutch morgen) = 2,934 (Taiwanese: pêⁿ, Hakka: phiàng, Mandarin: píng, Japanese tsubo)

Table of area units
Unit Pêⁿ Kah Metric US & Imperial Notes
Taiwanese Hakka Mandarin Character Exact Approx. Exact Approx.
Pêⁿ[2] Phiàng Píng 400/121  3.306  625,000,000/158,080,329 yd² 35.58 ft² Same as Japanese Tsubo
Bó͘ Méu 30  12,000/121  99.17  6,250,000,000/52,693,443 yd² 1,067 ft² Same as Japanese Se
Hun Fûn Fēn 293.4  110  117360/121 m 969.92  10,440 ft²
Kah Kap Jiǎ 2,934  1173600/121 m 0.9699 ha 2.3967 acres Derived from Dutch Morgen
Lài 14,670  5868000/121 m 4.8496 ha 11.984 acres Used from Kingdom of Tungning

Officially, land area is measured in hectares and square kilometers.[3]


Volume measure in Taiwan is largely metric, with common units such as liter and milliliter.


Fruit sold in catties in a Taiwanese market

Packaged goods in Taiwan largely use metric measurements but bulk foodstuffs sold in wet markets and supermarkets are typically measured with units derived from traditional Japanese units of mass, which are similar but not equivalent to corresponding Chinese units of mass.

Table of units of mass
Unit Niú Metric US & Imperial Notes
Taiwanese Hakka Mandarin Character Legal Decimal Exact Approx.
11000  3/80,000 kg 37.5 mg 3750/45,359,237 lb 0.5787 gr Cash; Same as Japanese Rin
Hun Fûn Fēn 1100  3/8000 kg 375 mg 37,500/45,359,237 lb 5.787 gr Candareen; Same as Japanese Fun
Chîⁿ Chhièn Qián 110  3/800 kg 3.75 g 375,000/45,359,237 lb 2.116 dr Mace; Same as Japanese Momme ()
Niú Liông Liǎng 3/80 kg 37.5 g 3,750,000/45,359,237 lb 21.16 dr Tael
Kin/Kun Kîn Jīn 16  3/5 kg 600 g 60,000,000/45,359,237 lb 1.323 lb Catty; Same as Japanese Kin
Tàⁿ Tâm Dàn 1600  60 kg 6,000,000,000/45,359,237 lb 132.3 lb Picul; Same as Japanese Tan

Note the tael and catty are widely used.

See also


  1. ^ In Taiwanese, is also pronounced pîⁿ, phêⁿ, phîⁿ, phiâⁿ, phêng depends on the accents.
  2. ^ In Taiwanese, is also pronounced pîⁿ, phêⁿ, phîⁿ, phiâⁿ, phêng depends on the accents.
  3. ^ 《中華民國統計資訊網》縣市重要統計指標查詢系統網 (in Chinese). Retrieved 25 July 2016.


External links


The catty, kati or jin (commonly in China) , symbol 斤, is a traditional Chinese unit of mass used across East and Southeast Asia, notably for weighing food and other groceries in some wet markets, street markets, and shops. Related units include the picul, equal to 100 catties, and the tael (also spelled tahil, in Malay/Indonesian), which is ​1⁄16 of a catty. A stone is a former unit used in Hong Kong equal to 120 catties and a gwan (鈞) is 30 catties. Catty or kati is still used in South East Asia as a unit of measurement in some contexts especially by the significant Overseas Chinese populations of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

The catty is traditionally equivalent to around 1⅓ pound avoirdupois, formalised as 604.78982 grams in Hong Kong, 604.79 grams in Malaysia and 604.8 grams in Singapore. In some countries, the weight has been rounded to 600 grams (Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Thailand). In mainland China, the catty (more commonly translated as jin within China) has been rounded to 500 grams and is referred to as the market catty (市斤 shìjīn) in order to distinguish it from the "metric catty" (公斤 gōngjīn), or kilogram, and it is subdivided into 10 taels rather than the usual 16.

Hong Kong units of measurement

Hong Kong has three main systems of units of measurement in current use:

The Chinese units of measurement of the Qing Empire (no longer in widespread use in mainland China);

British Imperial units; and

The metric system.In 1976 the Hong Kong Government started the conversion to the metric system, and as of 2012 measurements for government purposes, such as road signs, are almost always in metric units. However, all three systems are officially permitted for trade, and in the wider society a mixture of all three systems prevails.

Japanese units of measurement

Traditional Japanese units of measurement or the shakkanhō (尺貫法, "shaku–kan system") is the traditional system of measurement used by the people of the Japanese archipelago. It is largely based on the Chinese system, which spread to Japan and the rest of the Sinosphere in antiquity. It has remained mostly unaltered since the adoption of the measures of the Tang Dynasty in AD 701. Following the Meiji Restoration, Imperial Japan adopted the metric system and defined the traditional units in metric terms on the basis of a prototype metre and kilogram. The present values of most Korean and Taiwanese units of measurement derive from these values as well, owing to their occupations by the Japanese.For a time in the early 20th century, the traditional, metric, and English systems were all legal in Japan. Although commerce has since been legally restricted to using the metric system, the old system is still used in some instances. The old measures are common in carpentry and agriculture, with tools such as chisels, spatels, saws, and hammers manufactured in sun and bu sizes. Floorspace is expressed in terms of tatami mats, and land is sold on the basis of price in tsubo. Many rice cookers are sold with measuring cups of 1 gō.

Mace (unit)

A mace (Chinese: 錢; pinyin: qián; Hong Kong English usage: tsin; Southeast Asian English usage: chee) is a traditional Chinese measurement of weight in East Asia that was also used as a currency denomination. It is equal to 10 candareens and is ​1⁄10 of a tael or approximately 3.78 grams. A troy mace is approximately 3.7429 grams. In Hong Kong, one mace is 3.779936375 grams. and in Ordinance 22 of 1884, it is ​2⁄15 ounces avoirdupois. In Singapore, one mace (referred to as chee) is 3.77994 grams.In imperial China, 10 candareens equaled 1 mace which was ​1⁄10 of a tael and, like the other units, was used in weight-denominated silver currency system. A common denomination was 7 mace and 2 candareens, equal to one silver Chinese yuan.


A pyeong (abbreviation py) is a Korean unit of area and floorspace, equal to a square kan or 36 square Korean feet. The ping and tsubo are its equivalent Chinese and Japanese units, similarly based on a square bu (ja:步) or ken, equivalent to 36 square Chinese or Japanese feet.

Taiwanese Hokkien

Taiwanese Hokkien (; Chinese: 臺灣閩南語; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tâi-oân Bân-lâm-gú; translated as Taiwanese Min Nan), also known simply as Taiwanese (臺灣話; Tâi-oân-oē / 臺灣語; Tâi-oân-gú), is a variety of Hokkien Chinese spoken natively by about 70% of the population of Taiwan. It is spoken by the Taiwanese Hoklo people, who descended from immigrants from southern Fujian during the Qing dynasty. The Pe̍h-ōe-jī (POJ) romanization is a popular orthography for this variant of Hokkien.

Taiwanese Hokkien is generally similar to the speeches of Amoy, Quanzhou and Zhangzhou (branches of Chinese Minnan), as well as their dialectal forms used in Southeast Asia and are generally mutually intelligible. The mass popularity of Hokkien entertainment media from Taiwan has given prominence to the Taiwanese variety of Hokkien, especially since the 1980s.

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