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5 Fun facts about Beijing

Anyone thinking of moving to Beijing (or China in general) will know that the city is both the capital and the seat of political power in the People’s Republic of China. Given that Beijing is a city which is 3000 years in the making, it’s little surprise that there are many interesting and surprising facts to discover. If you’re looking to brush up on your Beijing knowledge before relocating or visiting, here are 5 fun facts about Beijing you probably never knew.

  1. Beijing was the 16th name given to the city

    Beijing wasn’t always called Beijing. In fact, the city has such a rich and deep history, with different people throughout the centuries all vying for control of what was once known as the City of Ji. Interestingly, Beijing literally translates as Northern Capital; it has also been known as Nanjing (Southern Capital), Zhongdu (Central Captial), Dadu (The Great Capital), Yanjing (The Yan Capital) and Beiping (Central Peace).

  2. Beijing is the second largest city in China

    Despite being the capital of China, Beijing is actually smaller than Shanghai. This isn’t surprising considering that Shanghai is the world’s largest city by population. Beijing is still highly populous, with a population of 22 million in 2015. As far as municipalities go, Beijing isn’t the largest either; Beijing is only the second-largest direct-controlled municipality in China. Chongqing, in the central south west of China, is larger than Beijing.

  3. Beijing is one of the bicycle capitals of the world

    Like Amsterdam (the bicycle capital of the world), Beijing is big on bikes. Despite motor vehicles being extremely popular in the city, there’s nothing quite like a bicycle for your morning commute. There’s a huge amount of Beijing real estate dedicated to bicycle parking too, so you needn’t worry about where to park your bike when getting around the capital; you can just jump on your bike and see the city at your own leisure.

  4. Wang is the most popular surname in the city

    According to a recent census, the most popular surname in Beijing is Wang, with an impressive 11% holding the name. To put that in perspective, the most common surname in the London is Smith, at 0.47% of the population; and the most common surname in Tokyo is Suzuki – a name which accounts for 13% of the entire Japanese population.

  5. Manderin is based on the Beijing Dialect

    China’s official language, Mandarin, is mostly based on the Beijing dialect. The official point of view is that both proper pronunciation in pǔtōnghuà (standard Chinese) and guóyǔ (Mandarin Chinese) is based on the Beijing dialect and accent. There are couple of differences in regional vocabulary and grammar, though by and large, the Beijing dialect is the most prevalent. As a result, if you want to learn the Chinese language, there are few places better to learn it than Beijing!

If you’re moving to Beijing and would like help with the logistics or getting to know your new city, we’re here to help. With 120 years of experience in international moving, and local offices with specialist local teams, we’re here (and there!) to help. Get in touch today for more information about how we can make your move to Beijing easy. 

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