The Most Popular Hobby in China: Ranking the Nation's Favorite Pastime

Choose the hobby you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 20, 2024 07:12
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinion takes center stage! Today, we're diving into the fascinating world of hobbies in the ever-evolving and diverse landscape of China. With thousands of years of culture and tradition, China boasts an array of unique and engaging hobbies that cater to every interest. We've curated a list of some of the most popular hobbies in China for you to explore and rank, but we know there's always more to discover! So, whether you're an avid fan of calligraphy, a Tai Chi enthusiast, or a dedicated mahjong player, we invite you to cast your vote for your favorite hobby, or even suggest one that we may have missed. Join the conversation, share your passion, and together, let's uncover the true essence of China's most beloved pastimes!

What Is the Most Popular Hobby in China?

  1. 1
    This traditional art form has been practiced in China for over 2,000 years and is still very popular today. Calligraphy involves using a brush and ink to write Chinese characters in a beautiful and artistic way. It is seen as a way to cultivate one's character and improve one's handwriting skills.
    Calligraphy is a visual art form that involves the design and execution of elegant and decorative handwriting. It is characterized by flowing lines, precise strokes, and attention to detail. Calligraphy is often used in artistic and ceremonial writing, such as wedding invitations, certificates, and religious texts.
    • Styles: Calligraphy encompasses various styles and scripts, including Gothic, Italic, Copperplate, Uncial, and more.
    • Tools: Calligraphy is executed using specialized tools, such as pens, brushes, quills, or reeds. Each tool offers a unique effect and flexibility.
    • Ink: Ink is an essential component of calligraphy. Traditional calligraphy ink is made from natural materials, such as carbon black, while modern variations include various colors.
    • Letterforms: The art of calligraphy emphasizes the beauty and proportions of letterforms. Each letter is carefully crafted using specific strokes and techniques.
    • Line Variation: Calligraphy showcases a wide range of line thickness and variation. Thin and thick lines are achieved through pressure control or pen angle adjustments.
  2. 2
    This popular tile-based game is played by millions of people in China and around the world. It is a social game that requires skill, strategy, and luck. It is often played by friends and family members during festivals and holidays.
    Mahjong is a traditional Chinese board game that originated in the Qing dynasty. It is played with a set of 144 tiles, typically made of bone or bamboo, although modern sets may also use plastic. The game involves four players and requires both skill and strategy to win. Mahjong has gained immense popularity not only in China but also worldwide.
    • Players: 4
    • Tiles: 144
    • Tile types: 3 suits (bamboo, character, circle), honor tiles (winds and dragons)
    • Game objective: To collect sets of tiles and form a winning hand
    • Value tiles: Flower and season tiles
  3. 3

    Tai Chi

    Chen Wangting
    This martial art has been practiced in China for centuries and is known for its health benefits. Tai Chi involves slow, flowing movements that help to improve balance, flexibility, and mental focus. It is often practiced in parks and other public spaces.
    Tai Chi, also known as Taiji Quan, is a traditional Chinese martial art and exercise system that incorporates slow, smooth, and graceful movements with deep breathing and mental focus. It is often referred to as a moving meditation and a way to cultivate qi (energy) within the body. Tai Chi is known for its fluid and rhythmic movements, promoting balance, flexibility, and harmony in both mind and body.
    • Origin: 17th-century China
    • Purpose: Self-defense, stress reduction, health promotion
    • Styles: Chen, Yang, Wu, Sun, and Hao styles
    • Principles: Yin and Yang, relaxation, rooting, alignment, weight shifting
    • Slow and gentle movements: Flowing sequences of postures performed at a relaxed pace
    Tai Chi in other rankings
  4. 4
    Chinese Chess
    Francesc Fort · CC BY-SA 4.0
    Also known as Xiangqi, this board game is similar to Western chess but with some unique differences. It is played by millions of people in China and other parts of Asia. It is a popular pastime among both children and adults.
    Chinese Chess, also known as Xiangqi, is a strategic board game played on a square grid board by two players. It originated in China and has been played for centuries. The game is similar to international chess but with some unique rules and pieces. It combines elements of strategy, tactics, and calculation.
    • Board: The board consists of a 9x10 grid, with each square marked by intersecting lines.
    • Pieces: Each player starts with 16 pieces, including different types of soldiers, elephants, horses, chariots, cannons, and a general.
    • Movement: Pieces move along the lines on the board, with each type of piece having specific movement rules.
    • Objective: The objective is to checkmate the opponent's general (or 'king') piece.
    • Rules: There are various rules unique to Chinese Chess, including restrictions on piece movement, the 'river' dividing the board, and the 'elephant eye' concept.
  5. 5
    China has a rich tradition of painting that dates back thousands of years. Chinese painting involves using brushes and ink to create landscapes, portraits, and other works of art. It is seen as a way to express one's creativity and appreciation for nature.
    Painting is a visually captivating form of art that involves applying pigments or colors to a surface, such as canvas, paper, or wood. It can capture and convey emotions, ideas, and stories through the creative use of various techniques, strokes, and color palettes.
    • Mediums Used: Oil, acrylic, watercolor, tempera, etc.
    • Styles: Realism, impressionism, abstract, surrealism, etc.
    • Brush Techniques: Stippling, glazing, dry brushing, impasto, etc.
    • Color Mixing: Primary, secondary, complementary, tonal variations, etc.
    • Composition: Arrangement of elements, balance, focal point, perspective, etc.
  6. 6
    Kite flying has a long history in China and is still a popular hobby today. Chinese kites are often elaborately decorated and can be flown in a variety of shapes and sizes. It is a fun activity for both children and adults.
    Kite flying is a popular hobby in China that involves flying a tethered, aerodynamic object called a kite. The kite is made of a lightweight material such as silk or nylon, and is typically in the shape of a diamond or triangle. Kite flying has a long history in Chinese culture and is regarded as a traditional art form.
    • Materials: Silk or nylon
    • Shape: Diamond or triangle
    • Size: Various sizes, ranging from small to large
    • Frame: Bamboo, wood, or lightweight plastic
    • Tail: Long fabric tail for stability and control
  7. 7

    Tea Ceremony

    Sen no Rikyū
    Chinese tea culture is an important part of the country's heritage. The tea ceremony involves preparing and serving tea in a traditional way, often with special utensils and rituals. It is seen as a way to cultivate one's appreciation for tea and to enjoy a moment of calm and reflection.
    The Tea Ceremony, also known as Chanoyu or Sado, is a traditional and highly ritualized form of serving and enjoying tea in Japan. The ceremony is rooted in Zen Buddhism and is considered a cultural art form that promotes serenity, mindfulness, and harmony.
    • Origin: Japan
    • Year of creation: 16th century
    • Purpose: To appreciate the aesthetics of tea, promote harmony, and enhance mindfulness
    • Utensils used: Tea bowls, tea scoops, tea whisk, tea caddies, and a brazier
    • Types of tea: Matcha (powdered green tea)
    Tea Ceremony in other rankings
  8. 8
    Chinese Knotting
    Ucla90024 · CC BY-SA 3.0

    Chinese Knotting

    Chinese ancestors
    This decorative art involves using cords to create intricate knots and designs. It is a popular hobby among both children and adults and can be used to create a wide range of items, from jewelry to home decor.
    Chinese Knotting, also known as decorative knotting or Chinese macrame, is a traditional Chinese art form that involves tying knots to create decorative patterns. It originated in ancient China and has been practiced for centuries. Chinese Knotting is beloved by many Chinese people as a popular hobby and is also widely used for various purposes like jewelry, home decoration, and accessories.
    • Materials used: Silk or nylon cord
    • Knot types: There are over 100 traditional knots including Button Knot, Clover Knot, Chinese Double Coin Knot, Square Knot, and Flat Knot
    • Complexity: Ranging from simple, beginner-friendly knots to highly intricate designs
    • Color variations: Knots can be made using a single-color cord or multiple colors for more visual appeal
    • Symbolism: Certain knots are believed to bring luck, prosperity, or protection when used in specific contexts
  9. 9
    This traditional folk art involves cutting intricate designs from paper using scissors or a knife. It is often used to create decorations for festivals and holidays. It is a popular hobby among both children and adults.
    Paper Cutting is a traditional Chinese art form that involves cutting intricate designs, patterns, and figures from paper. It is categorized as a type of decorative folk craft and is widely practiced and admired in China.
    • Materials: Thin paper, typically red, black, or gold.
    • Tools: Scissors or knives with long, slender blades.
    • Styles: There are various styles of Paper Cutting, including silhouette Paper Cutting, hollowed Paper Cutting, and pasted Paper Cutting.
    • Themes: Common themes include animals, flowers, people, and Chinese characters with symbolic meanings.
    • Symbolism: Paper Cutting often carries symbolic significance, such as representing good fortune, happiness, or warding off evil spirits.
  10. 10
    This traditional art form combines music, dance, and theater to tell stories from Chinese history and mythology. It is a popular pastime among both performers and audiences, and has a rich history that dates back centuries.
    Chinese Opera, also known as Xiqu, is a traditional form of musical theater in China that combines singing, dancing, acting, and acrobatics. It has a long history dating back over 1,000 years and is considered one of the oldest and most distinctive forms of opera in the world.
    • Performance Style: Chinese Opera combines various art forms like music, singing, dialogue, acting, acrobatics, and martial arts.
    • Makeup and Costumes: Elaborate makeup and colorful costumes are an integral part of Chinese Opera, often symbolizing the character's personality and social status.
    • Roles and Characters: Chinese Opera has a wide range of roles, including main characters, supporting characters, male characters playing female roles (Dan), and female characters playing male roles (Wu).
    • Vocal Techniques: Chinese Opera incorporates a unique style of singing known as 'Jingju,' characterized by high-pitched, exaggerated vocal techniques.
    • Gesture and Movement: Performers in Chinese Opera use intricate hand gestures, body movements, and stylized actions to convey emotions and tell stories.

Missing your favorite hobby?


Ranking factors for popular hobby

  1. Participation rate
    The number of people engaged in the hobby, either regularly or occasionally, should be considered. A hobby with a higher participation rate will be more popular.
  2. Demographics
    Consider the age, gender, income level, and geographic location of the people who enjoy the hobby. A popular hobby in China should be accessible and appealing to a wide range of individuals from different backgrounds.
  3. Accessibility
    A popular hobby should be easily accessible to people, meaning it should be possible to engage in the activity in urban and rural locations and should not be cost-prohibitive.
  4. Cultural significance
    The heritage and cultural aspects of the hobby should be taken into account when determining its popularity. Hobbies that have a long history and are deeply ingrained in Chinese culture will likely be more popular.
  5. Media coverage
    The amount of attention the hobby receives in the media, including social media, television, radio, and print, can be a good indicator of its popularity. Higher media coverage typically means a higher level of public interest.
  6. Events and competitions
    A popular hobby may have organized events, competitions, or gatherings at local, regional, or national levels. These events can help increase the visibility and popularity of the hobby.
  7. Educational opportunities
    The availability of resources and learning opportunities related to the hobby should be taken into account. If a hobby offers extensive educational resources, it is likely to be more accessible and popular.
  8. Health and wellness benefits
    Hobbies that are associated with health and wellness benefits, such as physical fitness or stress relief, may be more popular among the general population.
  9. Innovation and technology
    The level of innovation and technological advancements in the hobby can affect its popularity. Hobbies that continually evolve and incorporate new technologies are more likely to capture people's interest.
  10. Community and social aspects
    Hobbies that offer opportunities for social interaction, networking, and community building tend to be more popular, as they appeal to people's innate desire to connect with others.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular hobby in China. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or hobby is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 208 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each hobby once every 24 hours. The rank of each hobby is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular hobby in china

China is a culturally rich country with a diverse population that is passionate about hobbies and leisure activities. In recent years, the Chinese have embraced a wide range of hobbies that reflect their interests and values. From traditional pastimes like calligraphy and tai chi to modern pursuits such as online gaming and shopping, there is no shortage of options for individuals looking to spend their free time in China. With the rise of social media platforms like Weibo and WeChat, it has become easier than ever for people to connect with others who share their interests and join online communities. So, what is the most popular hobby in China? Let's take a look at some of the top contenders and see what makes them so appealing to Chinese hobbyists.

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