There are many dialects and languages spoken in China and there are 56 ethnic groups. When people talk about the “one child policy” they refer to a rule that applies only to the largest group, the Han, who make up more than 90% of the population. The minority ethnic groups are permitted to have more than one child, and even the Han may be permitted to soon as we wrote about in a recent newsletter.


We were surprised to learn however that China’s Education Ministry reports that 30% of the Chinese population, or 400 million people, cannot speak the national language of Mandarin (Putonghua). As the Internet expands in the Tier 3 and 4 cities, and as Tier 5 cities come into modern facilities, it will be necessary for the content providers to understand that so many people in China cannot even speak the language. However, most people do read the same characters to have the same meaning, so “simplified Chinese” written language is likely understood by most of the population who are able to read.