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This article is about the civilization in Age of Empires. For other appearances of the faction in the series, see Chinese.
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Reap the economic benefits of the fertile Yellow River valley and construct massive fortifications to repulse nomadic invasions from the northern steppe.

Shang dynasty are one of the four playable East Asian civilizations in Age of Empires. The word Shang is the name of an ancient Chinese river valley civilization located around the fertile Yellow River basin in China. The Shang made up one of the earliest dynasties in Chinese history (1600 BC – 1046 BC). The civilization is historically based on the Shang as well as other early dynasties of ancient China, such as the Xia and the Zhou.

Their successor civilizations are all known as the Chinese in Age of Empires II, Age of Mythology, Age of Empires III and Age of Empires IV.


Civilization bonuses[]

Team bonus[]

Town Centers provide +4 population room.

Missing technologies[]

Ballista Tower, Siegecraft, Aristocracy, Alchemy, Engineering, Conscription*

Missing units[]

Long Swordsman, Elephant Archer, War Elephant, Heavy Catapult, Phalangite, Trireme, Catapult Trireme*


This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.


ReturnRome-AoEIcon Age of Empires[]

RomeIcon The Rise of Rome[]

  • With patch 1.0a, Villager cost changed to 40 food, and Shang start the game with -40 food.

Age of Empires Definitive Edition icon Definitive Edition[]

  • Walls have +75% hit points. With update 38862, walls have +60% hit points instead.
  • Coinage and Heavy Transport are available.
  • With update 46777, Ballistics is available.

AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of Rome[]

  • Team bonus added.
  • Cavalry-line attacks 10% faster.

Campaign appearances[]

The Shang make appearances as AI players in:

Yamato, Empire of the Rising Sun[]

AI player names[]

When playing a random map game against the computer, the player may encounter any of the following Shang AI characters.

  • Wang Hei - Maybe misspelling of Wang Hai (王亥), one of the pre-dynastic (possibly legendary or even mythical) paternal ancestors of Tang of Shang
  • T'ang (湯) - First King of the Shang-dynasty 1675-1646 BC
  • Hsuan - Xuan (宣). King of Zhou 841-781 BC.
  • Zhou Xin (紂辛) - Blend of respectful posthumous name Di Xin (帝辛) and derisive nickname Zhou (紂 lit. crupper") by later historians for Shou (受) / Shoude (受德), last king of the Shang dynasty. Reigned c. 1075-1046 BC
  • Jie (桀) - lit. "Brute", derisive nickname for Lü Gui (履癸), last king of the Xia-dynasty 1728-1675 BC
  • Huang Di (黄帝/黃帝)- Also known as the Yellow Emperor, Legendary Emperor 2699-2588 BC, also considered a deity.
  • Shen Nong (神農) - Legendary Emperor 2737-2699 BC, also considered a deity.
  • Fu Xi (伏羲) - Legendary Emperor 2852-2737 BC, also considered a deity.
  • Yoa - May be misspelling of Yao (堯), a legendary Emperor 2333-2234 BC, also considered a deity.

The following AI players are only present before the Definitive Edition:

  • Wang Hei II - Did not exist in China
  • T'ang II - Did not exist in China
  • Wang Hei III - Did not exist in China
  • T'ang III - Did not exist in China
  • Wang Hei IV - Did not exist in China


Main article: /History
1800 to 1000 BC

China has been a mystery to much of the world since word of its existence first spread west in ancient times. It was isolated first by geography, and then by a conscious policy on the part of its rulers. It was thought to be one of the oldest civilizations but modern archaeology and research has revealed that the civilizations on Crete, in Egypt, and in Mesopotamia predate it significantly.

China encompassed a number of fertile river valleys, especially the Huang Ho (Yellow) and Yangtze, that were ideal sites for agriculture. New technologies spread gradually from the west and the first Chinese farming communities appeared along these rivers around 5000 BC. Although all ancient civilizations eventually shared a common threshold of agricultural and technological knowledge, the relative isolation of China allowed it to form a unique culture. The Chinese distinguished their civilization by being first to achieve many important advancements
—Excerpt from the Age of Empires manual


  • The civilization's icon introduced in Return of Rome portrays a Taotie, a mythical Chinese creature which is often found in Shang and Zhou era masks, Ding vessels, basins, door handles, horse collars, rings, and on many other objects. This motif is emblazoned on a trapezium shield similar to those from early Zhou dynasty, which were made of a single piece of lacquered wood.[2]
  • The user interface image in Return of Rome depicts the mythological creature Pixiu, which is first depicted in the Han dynasty (200 BC onwards), and are considered as powerful guardians (the female Bi-hsie) and harbingers of fortune (the male T'ian-lu).
  • In Age of Empires II, Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties, Age of Empires IV and Age of Mythology: Tale of the Dragon, they are simply known as the Chinese instead of having their dynasties as their title in the game. As such, the Chinese are the only culture to appear through all major titles of the Age of Empires series.
  • Developers possibly avoided calling the civilization "Chinese" because doing so would have been historically-inaccurate; according to most scholars, the term China traces its etymology back to the Old Chinese name *dzin of the later State of Qin and Qin dynasty.
    • Even so, most of the AI player names aren't names of Shang-dynasty rulers. Of the names that do refer to historical Chinese leaders, many of them are legendary or mythical figures from before the Xia dynasty. Some are rulers from the Xia dynasty, which came before the Shang; others are rulers from the Zhou dynasty, which came after the Shang.
    • One possibility for a non-dynastic civilization name could be 華 Hua ("flower" > "flourishing, florescent"), which refers to a confederation of tribes that would become the ancestors of the Han people, and more broadly to the historical concept of the Chinese nation as a whole.
  • The extra HP on walls is similar to the Castle Age unique technology of the Chinese in Age of Empires II, which gives walls +30% HP.
    • That bonus is also present in the Babylonians, although extended to Towers.



Civilizations in Age of Empires categorised by architecture set
East Asian architectureChoson AoE Choson · Lac Viet AoE Lac Viet · Shang AoE Shang · Yamato AoE Yamato
Egyptian architectureAssyrians AoE Assyrians · Egyptians AoE Egyptians · Hittites AoE Hittites
Greek architectureGreeks AoE Greeks · Minoans AoE Minoans · Phoenicians AoE Phoenicians
Mesopotamian architectureBabylonians AoE Babylonians · Persians AoE Persians · Sumerians AoE Sumerians
Roman architectureCarthaginians AoE Carthaginians · Macedonians AoE Macedonians · Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans · Romans AoE Romans