China is an intriguing nation with an interesting past and fast-emerging economy. To gain more insight, here are some interesting facts about China you might not have known about before reading further.
Did you know that the Great Wall of China can be seen from space, or that ice cream was invented there, or that Chinese people often grow long nails on their fingers?
1. China is the largest country in the world
China is the world’s largest nation by land area. It boasts breathtaking mountain peaks, expansive deserts and lush plains along important rivers – along with being home to diverse ethnic groups that span centuries of culture.
China’s flag features a large red star surrounded by four smaller stars in a semicircle design, signifying their unity under Communist Party of China leadership. It is often seen throughout China and used as national emblem.
China is a vast country, yet it can be hard to imagine its size. China is larger than both Russia and Canada but smaller than both countries combined.
China’s staggering population figures are truly astounding; comprising 18% of global total, over 1.425 billion people (or 18% of its population) reside within its borders – 18% more than any other nation on the planet! China boasts dense urban centers like Shanghai and Beijing as well as vast rural regions like Qinghai Lake. China also produces food and industrial products and is widely known as ‘the world’s factory’; additionally it is home to giant pandas, golden monkeys, floating mountains such as Zhangjiajie and Cathaya argyrophylla which are living fossil plants!
2. China is the second largest economy in the world
China is currently the second-largest economy, second only to the United States. Since it opened itself to international trade and economic reforms nearly 40 years ago, its GDP has experienced annual average growth rates exceeding 9 percent – helping lift over 800 million people out of poverty.
China’s people have contributed some of the world’s most notable inventions in human history, including paper, printing and the compass; kites; Chinese football (cuju); continuous culture that spans over four millennia; ancient sacrifices made to achieve immortality via construction of fabulous tombs like Terracotta Army tombs that remain unearthed today – among many more achievements they were pioneers.
Though China’s economy has experienced steady expansion, its pace of expansion may be decreasing. This could have negative repercussions for global economies including decreased manufacturing output and greater strain placed upon government services; nonetheless, China will remain an influential force for years to come.
3. China is the world’s largest producer of mushrooms
Mushroom production has increased tenfold over the last half century. China has led this remarkable surge in mushroom production; total annual output stood at approximately 149 billion yuan (24 billion USD) in 2011 making them one of the leading mushroom producers worldwide. Cultivation activities for mushrooms can serve medicinal, agricultural and culinary uses; during their cultivation mushroom farmers engage in activities like collecting, harvesting, processing and marketing to market these mushrooms which were originally collected from wild areas but have become an integral component of rural economies nationwide.
China ranks first as a producer of both straw mushrooms (Volvariella volvacea) and tuckahoe mushrooms (Wolfiporia cocos), and also stands out in producing shiitake (Lentinula edodes), wood ear mushrooms (Auricularia auricula-judae), and white jelly fungus (Tremella fuciformis Berk.).
Once away from Longquan via new expressway, the road turns mountainous until arriving at Qingyuan county – home of China’s mushroom industry. This rural backwater has managed to escape rapid industrialisation that has plagued other parts of China, maintaining an impressive 86% natural forest cover and being known as ‘Mushroom Town’ with an annual turnover of US$ 1 billion for their mushroom industry.
4. China is the world’s largest producer of toilet paper
China trails North America, Japan and Western Europe in terms of per capita consumption; yet despite this it remains the world leader producer of toilet paper.
Cai Lun, a Chinese eunuch, first devised the process for making paper over 1900 years ago – considered one of the Four Great Inventions alongside printing, the compass, and gunpowder.
Although some countries export more toilet paper than others, the top five largest exporters by value were mainland China, Germany, Italy, Poland and Sweden – in total these five nations shipped two-fifths of all exported toilet paper in 2022!
China is home to three of the world’s biggest ports: Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. These facilities play a critical role in its manufacturing, shipping and logistics industries as well as serving as major transportation hubs between inland regions and coastal ones; acting as gateways into global commerce.
5. China invented kites
Ancient China used kites not only as weapons of warfare, but also as an entertainment form. Decorated with patterns and symbols with meaning to drive away bad luck and send messages between friends and family members, kites were an integral part of life in ancient China.
Mo-tse, a Chinese philosopher during the Warring States period (475-221 BC), is widely credited with inventing kites. While his first kites were made of wood called muyuan, once paper became widely available during Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), their use became much lighter and widespread.
Studies suggest that kites were further refined during the Chu-Han War between 203 – 202 BC when General Zhang Liang ordered his soldiers to fly kites equipped with harp strings over enemy camps, prompting their enemies to retreat as their wailing sound caused enemies to retreat in fear.
Chinese kites are widely utilized throughout contemporary society. They can be seen flying at festivals to remember loved ones who have passed, birthday parties or special events; sometimes even as decorations in buildings.
6. China believes in lucky and unlucky numbers
China holds many different beliefs regarding lucky and unlucky numbers. Some are based on sound; other reflect their meaning – like how 6 is considered lucky because its sound reminds people of “liu”, an ancient Chinese term meaning flow – it signifies smooth sailing ahead.
The number nine is widely considered lucky as it symbolizes prosperity and abundance, hence why you will often see it displayed prominently in Chinese restaurants and businesses. Chinese people also consider 8 a lucky number since its sound reminds them of “fa” which translates to fortune; therefore you will often see written signs with this character on taxi doors or store doors advertising “Fa”.
On the other hand, Chinese culture considers the number 4 unlucky as it sounds similar to death – hence why buildings often leave out the fourth floor and use none as telephone numbers or zip codes. Also this explains why General Motors sell their minivan in China under this name (Buick GL8) while Air Canada flights between Shanghai and Toronto use AC88 in their flight numbers.
7. China invented crickets
Crickets in China are more than just noisemakers; they’re also beloved pets and sports. Crickets have always held an honored place in Chinese culture, dating back to Tang Dynasty (618-906) when courtiers began carrying gourd or box cages containing various species of cricket for entertainment during performances by courtiers at court events. Their songs would also serve as entertainment.
Today, crickets remain popular pets in China, especially among children who collect them for fun or use them in mock cricket fighting tournaments. Crickets are also sold at markets for use as music makers – their songs can be recorded and replayed back for enjoyment.
Noteworthy is the fact that while some of the more well-known China facts include acupuncture, gunpowder invention, paper production and the compass invention; there is much more to explore in this fascinating country! From long histories to superstitions; China offers up a rich and captivating culture which never ceases to amaze.