Sample Phone Dialing Codes in China

Telephone / Fax:   There are 8 digits (not including country code 86 and city code Beijing 10, Guangzhou 20, Shanghai 21, Chongqing 23, Nanjing 25, Chengdu 27, Chengdu 28, Xi'an 29, Hangzhou 571, Lijiang 888, etc)

For example +86 10 6552 9988 is a complete Beijing phone number.

When people call Chinese number from overseas, they should dial + country code  city code phone number ( +86 10 6552 9988)

When people call within Mainland China, they should dial 0 city code phone number ( 010 6552 9988). No country code needed). 


Mobile Phone:    There are 11 digits (not including country code 86). Start with 13, 15, 18. 

For example +86 139 1099 8888  is a complete mobile phone number.

When people call Chinese number from overseas, they should dial + country code phone number (+86 139 1099 8888)

When people call within Mainland China, they should just dial mobile phone number  (139 1099 8888). No country code needed.


Some phone numbers are printed without the initial China country code / city code.


Mobile Phones Sim Cards & Top up

Rates are considerable lower than roaming with your current carrier.

Purchase a prepaid SIM card from China Mobile, China Unicom or China Telecom. China Mobile adopts home grown 3G technology TD-SCDMA and China Telecom adopts 3G CDMA 2000. Both 3G are rarely compatible with overseas mobile phone models. China Mobile works on most phone models with its 2G network. It has good coverage and voice quality but very slow intertnet speed. However, China Unicom adopts worldwide 3G WCDMA which is compatible with overseas mobile phone models. To use your mobile phone with high speed data, you may consider buying China Unicom Prepaid 3G sim card.

How to choose China Uicom Prepaid 3G sim card?  There are many types of different packages including nationwide packages and local packages. If you trave accross Mainland China, you may consider buying nationwide packages (including data heavy 66A - 300MB, 96A -300mb, 126A - 400MB, 156A - 500MB, 186A - 650MB, 226A - 750MB & 286A - 950MB set or voice heavy 66B, 96B, 126B, 156B, 186B, 226B & 286B set). If you travel only in one city, you may consider buy local packages which has better value.

Where to buy China Uicom Prepaid 3G sim card?

A.  Buy from China Unicom Stores. Advantage: Cheaper directly from them and no premium. Disadvantage: Required to register with your Passport, may wait in line, may encounter language barrier, no after sales support. 

B. Buy from airport vendors. Advantage: convenient. Disadvantage: pay premium. May required to register with your Passport, no after sales support.

C. Buy from online vendors.  Advantage: convenient. get mobile phone number before leaving home. after sales support available. Not required to register with your Passport.  Disadvantage: pay premium. 

How to top up: You can top up at China Unicom stores. It is easy. Don't suggest you buy recharge vouchers since there are many different types of recharge vouchers and you may buy the wrong ones.

Please note that your phone should be UNLOCKED. If bought contract free, it should be UNLOCKED. If bought on contract, your phone may be locked to your carrier. You should check with your carrier if locked or not. Your carrier may charge you small fee unlocking your phone. Most 4G phone models (including Verizon, Sprint, etc) are also compatible.


Most prepaid sim cards have international calls disabled unless you top up certain amount of money (200 Yuan for China Unicom) and then call China Unicom 10010 to enable international call.

China Unicom 10193 International call rate:

Hongkong, Canada, Singapore, USA - CNY0.39 per minute

Macao, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, India CNY0.69 per minute

Australia, Japan, Russia, Indonesia, New Zealand CNY1.99

Germany, France, Brazil, Holland CNY2.99

Call China Mobile 10086 to enable international call.

China Mobile 12593 International call rate:

Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States, Canada CNY0.39 per minute

Taiwan, Macau CNY0.70 per minute

Japn, South Korea CNY1.00 per minute

UK, France, Germany, Italy, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Thailand, Philippine, Indonesia, CNY1.50 per minute

Other Countries or areas CNY4.60 per minute


If  International call is not abel to enabled on your phone, you can easily find them at newspaper kiosks. People call them IP card (IP Ka). Of all IP cards, 17900 IP card is of highest voice quality. There are regular face value 50 Chinese yuan & 100 Chinese yuan. Most time you can buy at half price.

17900 International call rate:

USA,Canada, Hongkong,Singapore CNY0.30 per minute

South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia,Russia CNY0.30 per minute

Macau, Taiwan CNY0.30 per minute

UK, France, Germany, Japan, Finland, Australia, Hungary, Indonesia, Vietnam CNY0.30 per minute

Other Countries or areas CNY0.30 per minute

Please note you are not able to use International call cards individually but have to use them on Chinese telephone or Mobile phones. Local call rate applied. 



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.


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.