GTE Localize

How Many Time Zones Does The World Have?

Posted by Anne Quach on May 10, 2022.

The differences in time zones are sometimes overlooked by companies when going global despite their obvious impacts on international business operations. In today’s post, let GTE Localize accompany you in learning more about time zones and see how it influences your global business.

Does the World Have 24 Time Zones?

The world is divided longitudinally into time zones, with each hour difference being around 15 degrees apart. Following this theory, there would be 24 time zones in the world. However, many time zones are set to be 30 or 45 minutes, the total number is substantially larger than 24 time zones.

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Greenwich Mean Time is the most well-known time zone, and it is regarded as the benchmark against which all other time zones are measured. The Royal Observatory developed Greenwich Mean Time in 1675 as the globe required a prime meridian point for navigation, commerce, trade, and other activities.

However, there is considerable debate about whether there are 24 or 25 time zones; some consider the International Date Line (IDL) to be a time zone, while others do not.

The International Date Line is approximately 180° east (or west). It is halfway around the world from the prime meridian (0° longitude), the time zone reference point that passes through Greenwich, United Kingdom.

The International Date Line is the border where each calendar day begins. It is also known as the “Line of Demarcation” because it divides two calendar dates: crossing the date line east subtracts a day, and crossing the line west adds a day.

 

Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of changing the time forward by one hour in the summer and back by one hour in the winter. The purpose of DST is to get some more daylight hours.

During Daylight Saving Time, both the time and the names of time zones change. “Daylight Saving Time” and “Summer” are also featured in the time zone name. There is a one-hour extension in local time during this time.

California, for example, utilizes Pacific Daylight Time with an offset of UTC-7 during DST, but with an offset of UTC-8 for the rest of the year.

 

Time Zone Anomalies

China, for example, has time zone anomalies. Although China is theoretically in one time zone, some parts, such as Tibet and Xinjiang, operate in an unofficial time zone. China is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, and Xinjiang and Tibet are 6 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.

China was not always under one time zone; the nation was once divided into five time zones: GMT+5.5, GMT+6, GMT+7, GMT+8, and GMT+8.5. The half-hour increments produce a non-standard time zone, which is ubiquitous over the world and is commonly utilized as the official local time in some locations.

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China could have 5 time zones (geographically)

China established the standard time zone in 1949, which applies to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau despite variations in authority and control.

 

Which Country Has the Most Time Zones?

Most nations, particularly smaller ones, only have one time zone while there are at least 23 countries that use two or more time zones. So which one of these 23 countries has the most time zones? Make a guess.

Most people would assume Russia is since it is the biggest country in the world by area. The right answer might surprise you! It’s…France.

France

As one of the most scattered territories, France has 12 separate time zones, ranging from UTC-10 to UTC+12.

  • UTC−10:00 – Most of French Polynesia
  • UTC−09:30 – Marquesas Islands
  • UTC−09:00 – Gambier Islands
  • UTC−08:00 – Clipperton Island
  • UTC−04:00 – Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin
  • UTC−03:00 – French Guiana, Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  • UTC+01:00 – Metropolitan France
  • UTC+03:00 – Mayotte
  • UTC+04:00 – Réunion
  • UTC+05:00 – Kerguelen Islands, Crozet Islands
  • UTC+11:00 – New Caledonia
  • UTC+12:00 – Wallis and Futuna

The United States and Russia

With 11 time zones. both the United States and Russia are tied for second place.

The United States Russia
  • UTC−12:00 – Howland Island, Baker Island
  • UTC−11:00 – Jarvis Island, Midway Atoll, Kingman Reef, American Samoa, and Palmyra Atoll
  • UTC−10:00 – Most of the Aleutian Islands, Hawaii, and Johnston Atoll
  • UTC−09:00 – Most of the state of Alaska
  • UTC−08:00 – States on the Pacific coast, parts of Idaho, Nevada 
  • UTC−07:00 – Arizona, Nebraska, Montana, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, parts of Idaho, Kansas, Oregon, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Texas
  • UTC−06:00 – Tennessee Valley, U.S. Interior Highlands, Gulf Coast, Great Plains, and most of Texas
  • UTC−05:00 – States on the Atlantic coast, most of Michigan, Bajo Nuevo Bank, Navassa Island, the eastern two-thirds of the Ohio Valley, and Serranilla Bank
  • UTC−04:00 – The U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Palmer Station
  • UTC+10:00 – The Northern Mariana Islands, Guam
  • UTC+12:00 – Wake Island, Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station, McMurdo Station
  • UTC+02:00 – Kaliningrad Oblast
  • UTC+03:00 – Railroads throughout Russia, Most of European Russia
  • UTC+04:00 – Udmurtia, Samara Oblast 
  • UTC+05:00 – Chelyabinsk Oblast, Bashkortostan, Orenburg Oblast, Khanty–Mansia, Kurgan Oblast, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Perm Krai, Tyumen Oblast, and Yamalia
  • UTC+06:00 (Omsk Time) – Altai Republic, Altai Krai, Novosibirsk Oblast, Kemerovo Oblast, Omsk Oblast and Tomsk Oblast
  • UTC+07:00 – Krasnoyarsk Krai, Khakassia, and Tuva
  • UTC+08:00 – Zabaykalsky Krai, Buryatia, and Irkutsk Oblast
  • UTC+09:00 (Yakutsk Time) — The western Sakha Republic, Amur Oblast
  • UTC+10:00 – Khabarovsk Krai, The Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Magadan Oblast, central Sakha Republic, Primorsky Krai, and Sakhalin Island
  • UTC+11:00 – Kuril Islands, Eastern Sakha
  • UTC+12:00 – Kamchatka Krai, Chukotka

 

How Do Time Zones Impact Your Business?

When you are serving clients outside of your country or your branches are located all over the world, the differences between time zones, without doubt, have an impact on your business operations. It creates a significant communication gap.

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While one country is awake, another country on the opposite side of the world is sleeping. Because multiple time zones generate delays, companies will face a time delay, with even less time in their working day to complete interdependent activities. A task that may take 10 minutes to fulfil in a local firm may take 24 to 48 hours to complete in a corporation with foreign offices.

It is also a huge challenge for businesses that value speed and customer service. A solution is to have a team of customer support for different time zones or a customer service agent to avoid missing out on new opportunities.