English has many dialects, So does Chinese.
The Chinese language has hundreds of dialects. They are spoken in different geographical regions, with varying number of speakers. These graphs below shows the region and % population of the few main Chinese dialects today.
Mandarin, is originally the language used in the imperial courts during Ming and Qing dynasties and gradually became more widely spoken in the north and central part of China. Standard Mandarin, also known as PuTongHua, is the official language of China.
Although Mandarin is the official language, it is a relatively new dialect and is only more widely spoken in the last two dynasties. It is believed that the southern dialects are more similar to the ancient Chinese language. Chinese poems, songs and writings rhythm better when read in some of the southern dialects.
Chinese dialects also varies in complexity. It is rumoured that during the second world war, the WenZhou dialect, which is know for its complexity, used as a coding language.
Here are some recordings of people saying same thing in different dialects:
The coding language, Wenzhou dialect:
Get to know more about the language.