Some languages, such as Japanese and Chinese, have many more than 256 characters. These characters cannot all be represented using a single byte, and therefore must be encoded using a multibyte encoding. In addition, some character sets use the much larger number of characters available in a multibyte representation to represent characters from many languages in a single, more comprehensive, character set. An example of this is UTF-8.
Multibyte character sets may be of variable width whereby some characters are single-byte characters; others are double-byte, and so on.
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