The Zhusuan, or China’s abacus, was doing the math long before the electronic calculator was invented. The simple counting aid is now applying to become an Intangible Cultural Heritage. The result will be revealed next month during UNESCO’s 8th intergovernmental Council in Azerbaijan.

With a history of over 1,800 years, the abacus is considered the world’s oldest computer.

However, with new technology and new gadgets, calculating with beads might seem archaic to some.

But to preserve this ancient wisdom, the government listed the abacus as a national-level intangible cultural heritage in 2008. Now the Ministry of Culture are hoping the abacus will be recognised on an international stage.

"The entries are the most representative things from Chinese culture. After carefully examining and debating each one, the abacus really stood out. Apart from the mathematical calculations, the cultural connotations of the abacus rhymes are also very rich. So we all hope that the abacus will be listed by UNESCO," said Ma Wenhui, president of Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture.

The result will be released in early December.

Since 2001, China has successfully applied for 37 items to be listed as World Intangible Cultural Heritages, including Kunqu opera, shadow play and acupuncture.

China now has the most intangible cultural items listed by UNESCO.