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CLDR Ticket #10411(accepted)

Opened 19 months ago

Last modified 6 weeks ago

the default time format for Chinese (zh)

Reported by: chentz1993@… Owned by: fredrik
Component: fix-in-survey-tool Data Locale: zh
Phase: dsub Review: fredrik
Weeks: Data Xpath:


This is a follow up of ticket 9611. I am not sure whether the owner will still be active so I open a new ticket.

I am also questionable about the current ah:mm:ss format for Chinese. zhouyuxiang.zhou already demonstrated in ticket 9611 that 上午12:00 does not make any sense in Chinese. I just want to demonstrate here that 24h format should be used for zh (at least zh-cn, zh-tw and zh-mo).

cldr is designed to let softwares support more languages. So it is very reasonable to check what native speakers use in softwares or websites. I have some suggestions based on the websites in Chinese speaking areas.

For websites in mainland China, 24h format is used.

For websites in Hong Kong, 12h format h:mm:ss a is used.

For websites in Macau, both formats are used but 24h is dominant.

For websites in Taiwan, 24h format is used.

For websites in Singapore, 12h format h:mm:ss a is dominant.

Examples are in the attachment.

As a result, NO websites created by Chinese speakers are using ah:mm:ss format. So this format should be ABANDONED as it is neither natural in Chinese, nor be used by any Chinese speakers in websites.

For zh-cn, zh-tw, zh-mo, 24h format should be used as those websites created by native speakers.

For zh-hk and zh-sg, 'h:mm:ss a' format should be used as in English where 'a' should be am/pm instead of 上午/下午. As English is also the official language there, using am/pm should be OK.


zh_time_formats.zip (1.4 MB) - added by chentz1993@… 19 months ago.

Change History

Changed 19 months ago by chentz1993@…

comment:1 Changed 19 months ago by chentz1993@…

In addition, in mainland China, all the public services like airports, train stations, TV channels display time in 24h format. And according to GB/T 15835-2011, in publications when colon is used to separate the hours and minutes, we shoudl follow GB/T 7408-2005 which suggests 24h format. I don't think it is good not to follow the national standard.

comment:2 Changed 19 months ago by mark

  • Owner changed from anybody to fredrik
  • Priority changed from assess to major
  • type changed from unknown to data
  • Status changed from new to accepted
  • Milestone changed from UNSCH to 32

comment:3 Changed 19 months ago by chentz1993@…

To add something,

I believe that in mainland China, people have a feeling that 24h is used by public services. So airports, train stations, TV channels, weather forcasts, 117 service (if you dial this number, you will get the current time) etc, every public service uses 24h format. People are quite used to that, much used than Americans who use 12h everywhere.

As a result, in late 1990s, the first few Chinese websites like Sina or Sohu followed this convention and display time in 24h format. Besides I remembered that the products by Microsoft before 2004, the release of your first data, like Win 95, 98, 2000, XP use 24h format as default in zh-cn version (there is no easy way to switch that in Win XP). Gmail, which was launched in 2004, also used 24h format in zh-cn. Early Nokia phones used 24h format in zh-cn as well.

As time goes on, i18n and l10n are more awared so international companies are willing to adopt the time and date formats provided by trustable services like you. And more and more products by foreign companies display 12h format as default in zh-cn version. That leads to a giant inconsistency. Users either don't know or can't flip the format. So they use Windows, Mac, Android or Iphone with default system time in 12h format and visit Chinese websites using 24h format time. This inconsistency will continue existing until you or Chinese companies change the mind. For me, I think it's you that need to change as you are not as knowledgeable in zh-cn formats as native designers.

It is worthful to investigate the usage of time format in China 15~20 years ago. I don't think you did that when you launched the first version of formats. It seems that you only knew that Chinese people use 12h in daily conversations, so you chose an unnatural expression and taught Chinses people then.

PS. Even if lots of big tech companies use your data, there are some exceptions. For example, Facebook changed the format from 12h to 24h in zh-cn in late 2016. And its zh-hk and zh-tw versions always use 24h.

comment:4 Changed 16 months ago by fredrik

  • Milestone changed from 32 to 34

Our Hong Kong linguist disagrees with the assertion in the description as many HK people use "ah:mm"(下午9:41).

Pushing this off to the next major voting effort to hopefully find consensus then.

comment:5 Changed 8 months ago by fredrik

  • Owner changed from fredrik to SurveyTool
  • Review set to fredrik

comment:6 Changed 3 months ago by pedberg

  • Milestone changed from 34 to upcoming

CLDR 34 BRS closing item, move all open 34 → upcoming

comment:7 Changed 3 months ago by mark

  • Owner changed from SurveyTool to kristi
  • Component changed from datetime to survey-submit

comment:8 Changed 3 months ago by mark

  • Milestone changed from upcoming to 35-optional

comment:9 Changed 6 weeks ago by kristi

  • Owner changed from kristi to fredrik

Rolling back the unintended auto-assign


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