Here are four names, one per line: Adams Jeffries 江 Meadows 江 has Jiang has Pinyin representation, so a collation based on Pinyin should sort as shown above (江 = Jiang after Jeffries and before Meadows). At least that's my understanding. Unfortunately, I cannot reproduce this with the ICU web tool: http://demo.icu-project.org/icu-bin/locexp?_=zh&d_=en&x=col&collation=pinyin To reproduce, replace the "Source" text with the names above and hit "sort". I get: 江 Adams Jeffries Meadows Selecting and deselecting "Pinyin" as sort order has an effect. With the default sort order, 江 comes last. Either the expected ordering above is wrong, ICU doesn't work as expected, or there is a bug in it (not likely?!).