Sample Phone Dialing Codes in China

Telephone/Fax.         eg:  8610    (86=China,10=Beijing)              6582 3886

                                  eg:  86571 (86=China,571=Hangzhou)      8795 1358

                                   eg:  8621 (86=China,21=Shanghai)      6835 xxxx 

Mobile Phones.        eg: 86 1390 126 1185   (Mobiles start with 13, 15, 18..........)

Some phone numbers are printed without the initial China/Province/Municipality codes.



Purchase a prepaid SIM card with nationalwide low rates from China Mobile or its agencies before your China trip (search: China Sim Card, and you'll find a list of reliable agencies online). This card can be "topped up" if you find that you are running low on credit.  There are numerous China Mobile outlets or convenience stores where you can find a China Mobile refill card in most China cities. It would be wise to bring along an inexpensive cell phone (GSM 900 and 1800) because it can be easily misplaced, lost or stolen; but local agencies also provide one-stop rental service. If you do not have a compatible cell phone, ByeRoaming (in Shanghai Pudong airport, T1 and T2 arrival), Cellular Abroad and others also rent and sell them. A note of interest. In the process of purchasing the sim card, you are required to register with your Passport due to new Chinese regulation starting from September 1st, 2013.  Rates are considerable lower than roaming with your current carrier.

Rates are a low $0.05 per minute to make calls within China or back to the USA or Canada

Please note that approximately 50% of all USA carriers' handsets will not work in China. Check with your provider to confirm.


You can also rent a MIFI (pocket WIFI) or a Local Data SIM card (if you have your own unlocked device) from ByeRoaming rental service center in Shanghai Pudong airport as soon as you finish the visa/passport checking by officers before you head to picking up your luggage. Choice from 1GB,  2GB, 3GB , 4GB, unlimited, all in very low price range, much lower than renting from other online stores.

Online booking is available for some services but you can also go directly to the rental place without booking/ordering in advance.

With enough data, you can use all kinds of online APPs to keep contacts with your friends.  However, Twitter and Facebook are blocked ue to local regulation, unless you get VPN to break out.


China is a paradise when it comes to phone cards. You can either buy an international or a local phone card. They come in denominations of 10 Yuan,20 Yuan or 50 Yuan. Most reasonably good hotels do have phones (that will accept these cards) in a corner of the foyer. If, however, you need to make a call while on the go, there should be public phone booths in any big city. These cards can be purchased from the hotel "shops" which range from smart and chic outlets in 5 star hotels to the ever useful 7 Eleven equivalents in more modest hotels. And once again, if you are on the go, they can be purchased from most newspaper kiosks and of course from the ubiquitous China Mobile outlets.



Most locals make their phone calls from a "call centre" which is usually a simple kiosk selling anything from newspapers, everyday needs, to fruits. Always look out for a phone or phones sitting on the counter. You can make local or international calls on these phones. You normally hand the proprietor the phone number. He dials for you and then hands you the phone. There is a gadget fixed to the phone which times your call. You pay accordingly. The cost of the calls from these phones can be very reasonable. Sometimes these "call centres" can be just 2 phones sitting on a window sill as in so many hutongs in Beijing. There is one such centre in Wangfujing with just the simple word "Telephone" on the doorway. When you enter, it is just a small table on which are sitting  two phones attended usually by a young lady. You can also purchase phone cards from these places too. If you are travelling in far flung regions in China, these phones are most useful. These phones are usually bright red or bright blue in colour.



Alternatively, you can make calls from any CHINA POST establishment. Go to the counter where the phones are. (Do not attempt to queue. Do like the locals do. Otherwise you will find that you will never make that call! Apologies to any Mainland Chinese, but you can be pushed aside by the locals who all seemed to be in a hurry to make their phone calls. This was at the CHINA POST centre at the Beijing Railway Station. Things might be different in other places.) You have to pay a  deposit of 100 Yuan and you will then be told to pick up phone No....(the phones are numbered). Your call is timed in pretty much the same way as the local "call centres". After your call, the cost will be deducted and you will be given your change together with a receipt. The overseas call charges from China Post can be more expensive than expected.


International direct dial:
landline: 0.80 yuan / 6 seconds
mobile: 8.00 yuan / min

Phone card: from 0.30 yuan / min to 4.80 yuan / min

Local Mobile: from 0.30 yuan / min to 8.00 yuan / min

It's quite difficult to list all the rates of calling from China to overseas. More details at this place

001 ( zero zero one ) is the International Access Code to dial out from "within" Hong Kong.

852 ( eight five two ) is the International Telephone Country Code for Hong Kong.  

00 ( zero zero ) is the International Access Code to dial out from "within" Mainland China.

86 ( eight six ) is the International Telephone Country Code for Mainland China.