50 Most Popular Chinese Surnames

Written by Apple Updated Mar. 2, 2023

There are more than 4,000 surnames in use in China. However, about 80% of the population shares the top 100 surnames. Here is the list of the top 50 most common surnames with their meanings. 

1. Wáng (王)

As the most common surname in China, Wang is the Chinese word for king. It represents 93 million people, accounting for 7.25 percent of China's total population. 

2. Lǐ (李)

Li is the second most common surname in China and one of the most common surnames in Asia. It was the royal surname during the Tang Dynasty.

3. Zhāng (张)

Zhang is the third most common surname in China and one of the most common surnames in the world with over 100 million people. 

4. Liú (刘)

Liu is the 4th most common surname in China. It is the surname of the Han dynasty emperors.

5. Chén (陈)

Chen is a common Chinese surname representing 70 million people, accounting for 5 percent of China's total population.

6. Yáng (杨)

Chen is the 6th most common surname in China. It represents 3.7 million people, accounting for 2.6 percent of China's total population.

7. Huáng (黄)

Huang is a common surname in China and Asia. It is also one of the most common surnames in Guangdong Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

8. Zhào (赵)

Zhao is the 8th most h2oh2ular surname in China. Yet it ranks first in the Hundred Family Surnames. Because it was the emh2eror's surname of the Song Dynasty when the book was finished.

9. Wú (吴)

Wu is a common surname in China representing 26.8 million people or 2 percent of the h2oh2ulation. The name originates from the State of Wu during the Warring States Period.

10. Zhōu (周)

Zhou is the 10th most common surname in China shared by 25 million people, accounting for 1.9 percent of the total h2oh2ulation.

11. Xú (徐)

Xu is a Chinese surname which goes back as far as the 23rd century BC. The h2oh2ulation of the surname Xu is mainly concentrated in h2rovinces of Jiangsu, Guangdong, Zhejiang and Sichuan. 

12. Sūn (孙)

Sun is a multi-ethnic and multi-origin surname in China. According to historical records, it can be traced back to the Zhou Dynasty more than 3,000 years ago.

13. Zhū (朱)

Zhu ranked 17th in the "Hundred Family Names" in the Song Dynasty. By 2013, Zhu ranked 13th in China in terms of population that mainly distributed in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces. 

14. Mǎ (马)

The surname Ma originally originated in Handan City in Hebei Province. It is not only a major family name of the Han nationality, but also a major family name of the Hui nationality. 

15. Hú (胡)

The surname Hu is a common surname in China originating from Hu, a princely state of the Zhou Dynasty.

16. Guō 郭

Guo is one of the most common Chinese surnames. The majority of people bearing this surname are descended from the Han people.

17. Lín 林

Lin is one of the most common surnames in China and means "wood, forest" in Chinese.

18. Hé 何

He is a common Chinese surname that can be traced back to the royal family of the Zhou Dynasty.

19. Gāo 高

According to a 2019 survey, 14 million people had listed "gao" as their surname, making it the 19th most common surname in China.

20. Liáng 梁

Liang is one of the most common surnames in China. In Hong Kong and Macau, the surname is normally romanized as Leong. Notable people with this surname include Liang Qichao, Liang Shumin, etc. 

21. Zhèng 郑

Zhèng is the pinyin romanization of the very common Chinese surname written 郑 in simplified characters and 鄭 in traditional characters. It is spoken in the fourth tone: Zhèng. The surname can be traced back to the Zhou Dynasty 3,000 years ago. 

22. Luó 罗

Luo, usually romanized as Lo and Law in Cantonese, is a major surname in China. The origin of this surname can be traced back to descendants of Luo, a state during the Shang dynasty to the Warring States period. 

23. Sòng 宋

Song is not only a major surname in China but also a surname that exists in many languages and cultures. 

24. Xiè 谢

Xie is a common family name in China. It is estimated that there are more than ten million people with this surname. The majority of Xie lives in Southern China. 

25. Táng 唐

Tang, romanized as Tong in Cantonese, and romanized as To in Japanese, is a very common surname in China. In 2019 survey, Táng was the 25th most common surname in China in terms of the number of bearers at around 9 million people. 

26. Hán 韩

Hàn is the 26th common family name in China. It is also commonly found in Vietnam among its Chinese community. 

27. Cáo 曹

The Chinese surname of Cao originated from the name of a state, State of Cao during the Three Kingdoms period. It is one of the oldest surnames in China.

28. Xǔ 许

The Chinese surname of Xu is the 28th-most-common surname in China as of 2019.  It is different from Xu (in Chinese 徐), which is a different character.

29. Dèng 邓

Dèng is the pinyin romanization of the very common Chinese surname written 邓 in simplified characters and 鄧 in traditional characters. In 2019 Deng was 21st most common surname in China.

30. Xiāo 萧

The earliest origin of the surname Xiao can be traced back to the Xia Dynasty (2070 – 1600 BC). It was the national surname of the states of Southern Qi, Southern Liang and Western Liang during the Southern and Northern Dynasties period. In 2013, Xiao ranked as the 30th common surname in China. 

31. Féng 冯

Féng is a common family name in China. It is estimated that there are more than seven million people with this surname. The majority people with the surname of Feng lives in Southern China. 

32. Zēng  曾

The surname Zeng is the 32nd most common surname in China in the year 2019. There have been many famous people with the surname Zeng in Chinese history, such as Zengzi, one of the 72 sages of Confucius in the Spring and Autumn Period, Zeng Gong, a litterateur in the Northern Song Dynasty, and Zeng Guofan, the main minister in the late Qing Dynasty.

33. Chéng 程

Cheng was a major surname of the rich and powerful during the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907). Cheng is ranked 193 in "Hundred Family Names". According to the statistics of 2015, the total population of Cheng was ranked 31st in the China.

34. Cài 蔡

Cai ranks as the 34th  common surname in China. As of 2013, the total population of people with Cai surname reached 5.52 million, accounting for 0.46% of the total population. 

35. Péng 彭

The surname Peng can trace its roots back to the legend of Peng Zu (Ancestor Peng), a Daoist immortal who lived more than 800 years. Today, Peng ranked the 35th common surname in China. 

36. Pān 潘

Pan is a common surname in China, as well as in some Asian countries including Vietnam and North Korea. 

37. Yuán 袁

Yuán is the pinyin romanization of the very common Chinese surname written 袁 in characters. It is spoken in the second tone. This surname originated from a noble family of the ancient state of Chen 3,000 year ago.

38. Yú 于

Yu is one of the oldest surnames in China which can be traced back to more than 3,000 years agod. It ranks the 82nd in the "Hundred Family Surnames".  Nowadays, it is the 38th most common surname in China shared by 6 million people.

39. Dǒng 董

Dong is an ancient family name. The origin of Dong can be traced back to Zhuanxu Gaoyang, the descendant of the Yellow Emperor.

40. Yú 余

Yú is the pinyin romanization of the very common Chinese surname written 余 in simplified characters and 餘 in traditional characters. It is spoken in the second tone. The surname can be traced back to the Zhou Dynasty 3,000 years ago. 

41. Sū 苏

Sū is the pinyin romanization of the common Chinese surname written 苏 in simplified characters and 蘇 in traditional characters. Famous people with the surname Su include Su Wu, minister of the Western Han Dynasty in the Warring States; Su Shi, Su Xun, Su Zhe, famous poets in the Northern Song Dynasty.

42. Yè 叶

The surname Ye is the 42nd most common surname in China in the year 2019. There have been many famous people with the surname Zeng in Chinese history, such as Yeting, a Chinese military leader, and Ye Shengtao, a famous writer and educator.

43. Lǚ 吕

Lǚ is the 43rd most common surname in China, shared by 7 million people as of 2018. It is especially common in northern provinces such as Shandong and Henan. 

44. Wèi 魏

Wèi is China's 44th most common surname, shared by 5.7 million people as of 2018. The surname can be traced back to the Zhou Dynasty 3,000 years ago. 

45. Jiǎng 蒋

Jiǎng is the pinyin romanization of the major Chinese surname 蒋. It is romanized as Chiang in Cantonese. It ranked as the 45th most common surname in China as of 2018.

46. Xuē 薛

 

47. Dù 杜

Dù is the pinyin romanization of the major Chinese surname 杜. It is translated as To in Cantonese and spelled as Tou in Macao. There are various theories about its origin. The mainstream version is that this surname came from Du Kang, who invented alcoholic beverages in Chinese legend.

48. Dīng 丁

Dīng is one of the oldest surname which dated back to more than 3,000 years ago. Nowadays, it is the 48th most common surname in China shared by 5 million people.

49. Shěn 沈

Shěn is one of the most common surnames in China. In Hong Kong and Macau, the surname is normally romanized as Shum. As of 2018, the total population of people with Shěn surname reached 5 million.

50. Jiāng 姜

Jiang is one of the oldest surnames in China, which originated from the matriarchal society more than 3,000 years ago. Nowadays, it is the 50th most common surname in China shared by 5 million people.

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