What Character Encoding Do Chinese Sites Use?

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

This page is a survey of encoding used by top Asian websites, and a short intro on Chinese encoding.

Asian Sites

China

Global top sites serving Chinese (these are mainland China sites)

SiteName, DescriptionEncodingRank
[www.baidu.com] 百度 (search)UTF-8 (GB2312 front page)#5
[www.qq.com] 腾讯 (portal)GB2312#9
[www.taobao.com] 淘宝 (shopping)GBK#14
[www.sina.com.cn] 新浪新闻 (portal)GB2312#16
[www.163.com] 网易 (portal)GB2312#28
[www.weibo.com] 新浪微博 (microblog)UTF-8#30
[www.soso.com] 搜搜 (search)GB2312#33
[www.sohu.com] 搜狐网 (search)GBK#36
[www.tudou.com] 土豆网 (video)GBK#54
[www.youku.com] 优酷 (video)UTF-8#55

All ranking are global ranking, from www.alexa.com/topsites, as of .

In 2005, Yahoo China [ http://cn.yahoo.com/ ] was using GB2312 encoding. In they use UTF-8. As of , yahoo closed the cn.yahoo.com and and redirect to ( http://sg.search.yahoo.com/ )

Taiwan, Hong Kong

Most popular Chinese sites in Taiwan (traditional chars):

SiteName, DescriptionEncodingRank
[tw.yahoo.com] Yahoo! Taiwan 雅虎奇摩UTF-8#4
[www.wretch.cc] 無名小站 (Photo Blog, from Yahoo!)UTF-8#438
[www.pixnet.net] 痞客邦 (photo blog)UTF-8#720
[www02.eyny.com] 伊莉心情車站 (entertainment, movies, forum)UTF-8#938
[gamer.com.tw] 巴哈姆特電玩資訊站 (gaming)UTF-8#985
[pchome.com.tw] (home computing)UTF-8#1132
[udn.com] 聯合新聞網 (news)BIG5#979
[www.yam.com] yam天空,蕃薯藤 (portal)UTF-8#1080

Note: many top sites for Hong Kong are the same as mainlaind China, typically video sites.

Note: ranking are by domain. For example, “tw.yahoo.com” is globally ranked 4, but that ranking is for the whole domain “yahoo.com”, not just the subdomain “tw.yahoo.com”.

Japan Sites

SiteName, DescriptionEncodingRank
[fc2.com](blog, web hosting, etc)UTF-8#53
[www.rakuten.co.jp]楽天市場 (shopping)EUC-JP, UTF-8#74
[ameblo.jp](blog)UTF-8#84
[www.livedoor.com](portal)UTF-8 #106
[goo.ne.jp](search; portal)UTF-8, EUC-JP#146
[www.nicovideo.jp](video)UTF-8#223

Many Japan sites seem to use both UTF-8 and EUC-JP. Home page uses one, but many pages uses the other.

South Korea Sites

SiteName, DescriptionEncodingRank
[www.daum.net]다음daum (portal)UTF-8#308
[www.nate.com]SKT의 유·무선 종합 포털 (portal)EUC-KR#1068

Note: many top sites for South Korea are the same as mainland China.

India Sites

Top 200 sites in India are all English. Vast majority are just normal USA sites, for example, Yahoo, Twitter, MSN, etc. (Note: the official language for India is English and Hindi, but English is practically the language for all business and science.)

Intro to Chinese Encoding

Here's a summary of major Chinese encoding:

GB2312
year . Simplified Characters only. Was used in mainland China.
GBK
year . Extended GB2312. Includes traditional chars.
GB18030
year . Extended both GB2312 and GBK. Charset equivalent to Unicode. Contains both simplified and traditional characters. Used in mainland China.
BIG5
year . Traditional chars only. Invented and used in Taiwan, before Unicode became popular.

[see 简体繁體字表 List of Simplified/Traditional Chinese Characters]

Summary

Taiwan sites almost all use UTF-8. Very old ones still use BIG5.

Mainland China sites mostly still use GBK or GB2312, but a few newer ones use UTF-8.

Many top Japan, Korea, sites also use UTF-8, but some uses EUC ([ Extended Unix Code ] [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extended_Unix_Code ]) variants.

This probably means that UTF-8 might dominate in the future.