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Wenzhou people or Wenzhounese people is a subgroup of Oujiang Wu Chinese speaking peoples, who live primarily in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province. Wenzhou people are known for their business and money making skills. The area also has a large diaspora population in land for Europe and the United States, with a reputation for being enterprising natives who start restaurants, retail and wholesale businesses in their adopted countries. About two-thirds of the overseas community is in Europe. Wenzhounese people have also made notable contributions to mathematics and technology.

Wenzhou people
uen tseu nyin
Total population
Regions with significant populations
China China, Wenzhou (urban + rural areas)~6,000,000 (natives)
China China1,700,000 (rest of country)[1]
 Italy288,715 (90% of Chinese population).[2]
 Spain~116,000 <70% (+ Qingtian)[4]
 Taiwanas part of the mainlander population[5]
 Australiapart of Chinese Australian population
 United States100,000[6]
 Netherlandspart of Chinese people in the Netherlands[7]
Wenzhou dialect, Zhenan Min, Standard Mandarin Chinese, etc.
Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Irreligion, Chinese folk religion and a vastly growing Christian majority
Related ethnic groups
Wu speaking people, Min speaking people, other Han Chinese


Wenzhou was the home territory of the Dong'ou Kingdom, which have been conquered by the Minyue Kingdom and later by the Han dynasty.

The majority of people in Wenzhou are descendants of immigrants and about 80% came from Fujian province. From the Tang, Song to Ming and Qing Dynasties, a great number of families in Fujian province immigrated to Wenzhou with all their family members.[8]



Wenzhou natives speak a unique form of Wu Chinese called Wenzhou dialect. However, geographic isolation and an admixture of Southern Min Chinese speakers from nearby Fujian Province, have caused Wenzhou's spoken language to evolve into a dialect that is notable for its highly divergent phonology. As a result even people from other regions of Zhejiang and Fujian both have trouble understanding Wenzhounese. The Taizhou dialect, located directly to the north, has little to no mutual intelligibility with Wenzhou. Many Wenzhou natives[quantify] also speak a Southern Min dialect called Zhenan Min.

The wenzhou dialect preserves a large amount of vocabulary of classical Chinese lost in most other Chinese dialects, earning itself the nickname "the living fossil", and has distinct grammatical differences from Mandarin.[9][10]

Due to its high degree of eccentricity and difficulty for non-locals to understand,[clarification needed][citation needed] the language is reputed to have been used during the Second Sino-Japanese War during wartime communication as code talkers and in Sino-Vietnamese War for programming military code.[11][12][13]


Nanxi is a form of Chinese opera developed in Wenzhou, which is the earliest form of traditional Chinese Opera in the history of China.[14][15]


Wenzhou was home to the Yongjia School of thought, which emphasized pragmatism and commerce.[16] This philosophy is thought to have been a forerunner to modern capitalism in the region.[17]

People of Excellence and Land of WisdomEdit

There is a popular saying in China that reflects the status of the city of Wenzhou related to the Fengshui of Wenzhou which is "People of Excellence and Land of Wisdom"(人傑地靈), as the local Wenzhounese people are usually described in China as the people of excellence and the city of Wenzhou is usually praised as the city of wisdom.[18][19][20]

Birthplace of China's private economyEdit

In the early days of economic reforms, local Wenzhounese took the lead in China in developing a commodity economy, household industries and specialized markets. Many thousands of people and families were engaged in household manufacturing to develop individual and private economy (private enterprise). Up till now, Wenzhou has a total of 240,000 individually owned commercial and industrial units and 130,000 private enterprises of which 180 are group companies, 4 among China’s top 500 enterprises and 36 among national 500 top private enterprises. There are 27 national production bases such as "China’s Shoes Capital" and "China’s Capital of Electrical Equipment", China’s 40 famous trademarks and China’s famous-brand products and 67 national inspection-exempt products in the city. The development of private economy in Wenzhou has created the "Wenzhou Economic Model", which inspires the modernization drive in China.


As of 2010, 650,300 people in Wenzhou hold a college degree; 1,150,400 people hold a high school degree; 3,344,400 people hold a middle school degree; 2,679,900 people hold an elementary school degree. In every 100,000 people in Wenzhou, 7128 people hold a college degree; 12611 people hold a high school degree; 36663 people hold a middle school degree and 29379 people hold an elementary school degree. The population of illiterate people in Wenzhou is 645,100, which is 7.07% of its whole population.[21][22]



At the time of the 2010 Chinese census, 3,039,500 people lived in Wenzhou's city proper;[23] the area under its jurisdiction (which includes two satellite cities and six counties) held a population of 9,122,100 of which 31.16% are non-local residents from outside of Wenzhou.[24]

Rest of Mainland ChinaEdit

There are around 1.7 million Wenzhounese people living in other parts of the country. In major cities such as Beijing or Shanghai there are "Zhejiang villages", enclaves where people from Wenzhou reside and do business.[25]


In 2010, an analysis conducted by the CESNUR and the University of Turin on the 4,000-strong Chinese community of Turin showed that at that time, 48% of this community was women and 30%, minors. Most of the Chinese in Italy—and virtually all of the Turin community—hail from the southeastern Chinese province of Zhejiang, primarily the city of Wenzhou.[2] The community in Turin is younger than other Chinese settlements in Italy, and for this reason it depends as a branch of the community of Milan.[26] Approximately 70% of the Chinese in Turin work in restaurant activity, and more than 20% work in commercial activity.[27]

Prato, Tuscany has the largest concentration of Chinese people in Italy, and all of Europe. It has the second largest population of Chinese people overall in Italy, after Milan.[28]

The NetherlandsEdit

The Netherlands currently has the third largest population of Wenzhounese in Europe.


About 70% of the Chinese people in Spain are from Wenzhou or Qingtian.[4]

United StatesEdit

Wenzhou people in the United States are mostly concentrated on the East Coast, particularly around the New York City metropolitan area. Many Wenzhou people are owners of Chinese restaurants. They are the second largest group of Chinese undocumented immigrants in the United States, after Fuzhounese people. The total Wenzhou population in the US was estimated to be around 250,000 in 2016


Japan was the destination for many Wenzhounese migrants in the beginning of the 20th century, however many of them returned following the rise of anti-foreign sentiment and ultimately the outbreak of the second Sino-Japanese War.

Notable Wenzhounese peopleEdit


Champions of board gamesEdit






  1. ^ Wenzhou Yearbook, 2004
  2. ^ a b Luigi Berzano, Carlo Genova, Massimo Introvigne, Roberta Ricucci, Pierluigi Zoccatelli. Cinesi a Torino: la crescita di un arcipelago. Il Mulino, 2010. ISBN 9788815137913. p. 217: «Poche persone estranee alla catena migratoria dello Zhejiang sono approdate qui [in Turin] [...]»; p. 228: «La grande maggioranza dei cinesi presenti a Torino proviene dallo Zhejiang e in particolare da aree periferiche urbane e semiurbane, e villaggi, intorno a Wenzhou, in particolare dal distretto di Wencheng.»
  3. ^ "1911-2007: Chinese immigration in France".
  4. ^ a b Gómez, Luis (27 August 2012). "The new Chinese" – via
  5. ^ ROC
  6. ^ Lai, Him Mark. Becoming Chinese American: A History of Communities and Institutions. p. 247.
  7. ^ The Chinese Overseas, Volume 4, Hong Liu
  8. ^ Yu, Jianxing; Zhou, Jun; Jiang, Hua (2012-02-12). A Path for Chinese Civil Society: A Case Study on Industrial Associations in Wenzhou, China. Lexington Books. ISBN 9780739170083.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-09-11. Retrieved 2017-03-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "《珠三角熱話》". 無綫新聞. 2013-12-15.Template:Zh-yue
  11. ^温州方言&fr=aladdin#reference-[1]-66242-wrap
  12. ^ 网易. "网友总结最难懂方言:温州话让敌军窃听也听不懂_网易新闻".
  13. ^ 关于越南战争期间中方使用的密码语言,有一说认为并不是温州话,而是来自温州苍南县(当时仍属平阳县)钱库一带的蛮话,参见 访今寻古之三:扑朔迷离说蛮话[permanent dead link],苍南广电网
  14. ^ "元代的南戲". 大紀元文化網. 大紀元文化網. Archived from the original on 30 May 2015. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  15. ^ "南戲的活化石:婺劇高". Missing or empty |url= (help)
  16. ^ Cao, Nanlai. Constructing China's Jerusalem: Christians, Power, and Place in Contemporary.
  17. ^ Marketization and Democracy in China By Jianjun Zhang
  18. ^ "郭璞:杰出的城市规划大师-风水先哲-赣州风水养生堂". Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  19. ^ "How To Raise Worth Of Apartments In Houston For Rent". Retrieved 1 September 2016.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-30. Retrieved 2016-11-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ zh:温州市#cite note-69
  22. ^ "温州总人口912.21万 近1/3为市外流入_人口普查 温州_独家报道_温州网".
  23. ^ "Archived copy" 温州市2010年第六次全国人口普查主要数据公报 (in Chinese). Wenzhou Municipal Statistic Bureau. 2011-05-10. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-08-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ 浙江第六次全国人口普查数据公布 温州常住人口最多-浙江|第六次全国人口普查|数据-浙江在线-浙江新闻. Retrieved on 2011-08-28.
  25. ^ Internal and International Migration: Chinese Perspectives By Hein Mallee, Frank N. Pieke, p. 256
  26. ^ Luigi Berzano, Carlo Genova, Massimo Introvigne, Roberta Ricucci, Pierluigi Zoccatelli. Cinesi a Torino: la crescita di un arcipelago. Il Mulino, 2010. ISBN 9788815137913. p. 216: «[...] la co-munità di Torino, per via delle sua origine recente, pare per molti versi essere una propaggine di quella decisa-mente più ricca e stratificata di Milano.».
  27. ^ Immigrazione Oggi: Torino: l’integrazione dei cinesi passa per le seconde generazioni. Indagine del Cesnur sulla comunità del capoluogo piemontese Archived 2011-07-22 at the Wayback Machine. 3 June 2010.
  28. ^ Donadio, Rachel (2010-09-12), "Chinese Remake the 'Made in Italy' Fashion Label", New York Times, retrieved 2011-05-04