Wikipedia is the largest encyclopaedia ever written. There are more than 22 million (23 July, 2012) articles on it in more than 100 hundred languages. With a little more than four million articles, the English encylopaedia is the largest. Next comes the German Wikipedia with its approximately one and a half million (1.44 million) articles. The French version will soon cross the 1.3 million mark. Currently these are the only Wikipedias (Dutch too, with its more than 100,000 bot generated articles) to have more than a million articles. The Italian, Spanish and Polish versions are set to join the club before the end of this year.
Compared to this, the Chinese Wikipedia's performance is dismal. Despite having more than a billion speakers, the article count is barely above half-a-million. Even Japanese (with much less speakers) boasts of close to 900,000 articles.
So are the Chinese (just like the Arabs and Indians) disinterested, or are we missing something?
It turns out, they are just as excited about voluntarily contributing online as anyone else in the world. The Chinese Wikipedia may not have an article count comparable to English, German or French, but then it's not the only Chinese collaborative encyclopaedia online.
Baike Baidu (百科百度) and Hudong (互動) are two such giants. There is also Soso (搜搜). Of these, with its 6.4 million (1 July, 2012) articles, Hudong is the largest. Then comes Baike (5 million). It's followed by Soso (900,000).
I got the numbers from this table. This is an article on Baike Baidu on the Chinese Wikipedia.
Here is a screenshot:
And here are the numbers:
First row from second column onward:
First column, third row from top:
So, it turns out the largest online encylopaedia is Hudong. The second largest is Baike Baidu, followed by the English, German and French Wikipedias.