A new service in Guangdong province helps parents avoid giving their children names that are too common.
By consulting a WeChat account maintained by the Guangdong Public Security Department, you can find out how many others have used a particular name.
According to the household registration department, hundreds of thousands of male Cantonese use the characters qiang, wei and hua in their given names, while hundreds of thousands of fem ales have used ying, xin and fang.
The country's most populous province, with a population of more than 10 0 million, has more than 100,0 00 people named Li Wei and Li Qiang. Qiang indicates "strong" while wei means "great" in Chinese.
Huang Chun xin, a Guangzhou mother, said she would not have named her daughter Chen Kexin if the service had been introduced seven years ago.
"There are two Ch en Kexins in my daughter's grade, and teachers have to call my daughter Little Chen Kexin, as she is two months younger than the other Chen Kexin," Huang said. Huang's daughter is in second grade at a primary school in Yuexiu district.
Wang Xuexiong, an office worker in Guangzhou, also regretted naming his son Wang Jun after he met another Wang Jun in a hospital last year.
When he and his son approached the hospital's pharmacy counter after hearing someone call out the name, they were told the medicine was not for his 4-year-old son, who had a cough and fever, but was hemorrhoid medication for another Wang Jun in his 40s.
The special WeChat account also provides household registration, ID applications online and mobile payments and express mail services.