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Hong Kongmarker units of measurement is based on the measurement units of Chinese of Qing Empiremarker, British Imperial and metric. Although the Hong Kong Government is in favour of metric units rather than customary units, the customary units still used in all walks of life.

There is a chapter of Metrication Ordinance in the Law of Hong Kong for conversion between systems of measurement.

Some Chinese units are gradually being replaced by Imperial units and Metric units as the sole custom and trade because of new developments in technology and Hong Kong becoming a much more urban city.

Length

In the old days, in the Chinese system, the most commonly used units are 里 (li), 丈 (tseung/cheung), 尺 (tsek/chek), 寸 (tsun/chun), 分 (fen/fan) in descending scale order.

These units are rarely used in daily life as the preferred system is the Imperial system. The unit character for Imperial is the same as the Chinese system. In order to distinguish between units in both systems, it is sometimes written with a prefix of 英 (Ying) for the British Imperial system and 華 (Wa) for the Chinese system. Sometimes special crafted characters are used; with radical 口(mouth), that denote it is colloquial, for writing Imperial units.

The most commonly used units are the mile (哩, li, 英里), yard (碼, ma), foot (呎, chek, 英尺), and inch (吋, tsun 英寸).

Weight

Both Chinese and Imperial weight units are used in Hong Kong. The choice of system depends on the type of goods and their origins. For example, most vegetables, meats, Chinese medicines are usually measured in Chinese system while fruits are measured in the Imperial system.

The trading of gold, silver and platinum are in the Chinese system though there is little discrepancy from other goods.

Area

The measure of flat area is in square feet (方呎,fong-chek,平方呎, ping-fong-chek) of the Imperial system. Traditionally, the measurement of agricultural plots and fields are conducted in 畝(mau) of the Chinese system.

Volume

In Chinese system, the measurement of volume of rice is 斗 (tau) but it is replaced by packaged rice in weight. The volume of water and fuel is the gallon (加侖, ka-lun) of Imperial system.

Time

Time measurement follows the International system. The Date is written in the western way according to the Gregorian calendar but the Chinese method is also very important in everyday life.

English name Chinese name Cantonese pronunciation Equivalent Note
Year (Gregorian) nin 365 or 336 Days Roughly follows a solar cycle. Historically, the Chinese refer to the return of the Sun in the Winter Solstice as 歲 (Sui).
Year (Chinese) nin 12 or 13 Chinese month In the Chinese year with 13 months, the 13th month is known as the Intercalary Month.
Month (Gregoiran) yeut 28, 29, 30 or 31 days. The Gregorian month lost the meaning of the Moon cycle.
Month (Chinese) yeut 29 or 30 days. Roughly in sync of the Moon cycle
Day yat 24 hours
Hour 鐘/小時 chung/siu si 4 quarters or 60 minutes 鐘 also means Clock or Bell. The Bell or Clock chimes every hour.
Quarter kwat 15 minutes 骨 (kwat) is the Cantonese word for "quarter".
Minute fen 60 seconds
Second miu


Energy

Calorie is the unit used for the measurement of energy in food.

Power

Horsepower (馬力) is still the dominant measurement for the power of Cars and Air Conditioning Systems. The Chinese counting word; 匹 (Pak) is the unit to describe it in the Cantonese language.

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