Calling to China
Making Calls while in China
Other Information about Long Distance Calling To/From China
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Instructions for Calling to Cell Phones in China
Mainland Chinese mobile phone numbers have 11 digits. The first 3 digits designate the service provider. The next 4 digits are part of a regional code, while the final 4 identify the subscriber.
For international calls to a mainland Chinese cell phone number, simply use the format for any international cal: 011-86-xxx-xxxx-xxxx. For mobile phone numbers, the service provider code replace the area code used for land lines. For domestic calls to a Chinese cell phone number, dial a 0 before the mobile phone number. e.g. 0-133-xxxx-xxxx.
In China, cell phone numbers are the same length as land line numbers: 8 digits. Calling a cell phone is no different from calling a land line.
General Tips for Making Phone Calls within China
When making calls within mainland China, include the 0 prefix for domestic long-distance calls, regardless of whether they are from or to a mobile or land line. Local calls to and from land lines are easy: simply dial the 7-8-digit subscriber number.
When making calls within China, simply dial the 8-digit subscriber number.
Mobile phone calls within mainland China
China initiated mobile phone telecommunications in 1987. Within 14 years, the country had the largest number of mobile phone subscribers in the world. Since the initiation of service, China’s mobile phone use has increased by an average of 4.78 subscribers each month!
Here are the correct calling formats and cellular prefixes by provider are:
- China Unicom GSM 130-xxxx-xxxx
- China Unicom GSM 131-xxxx-xxxx
- China Unicom GSM 132-xxxx-xxxx
- China Unicom CDMA 133-xxxx-xxxx
- China Mobile GSM 134-xxxx-xxxx
- China Mobile GoTone 135- xxxx-xxxx
- China Mobile GoTone 136- xxxx-xxxx
- China Mobile GoTone 137- xxxx-xxxx
- China Mobile GoTone 138- xxxx-xxxx
- China Mobile GoTone 139- xxxx-xxxx
- China Unicom CDMA/GSM mixed 153-xxxx-xxxx
- China Mobile GSM 159-xxxx-xxxx
- China Telecom TD-SCDMA 188-xxxx-xxxx
- China Netcom TD-SCDMA 189-xxxx-xxxx
Mobile phone calls within China
Calling cell phones in China is no different from calling land lines. Just dial the 8-digit cell phone number. In Macau, all cell phone numbers begin with a 6. In Hong Kong, cell phone numbers traditionally begin with a 9, but, due to increases in use, many now begin with a 6.
Receiving calls from abroad in Mainland China
If you are calling China internationally, remember the international access code and China’s country code (86).
If calling a Chinese cell phone from the U.S., dial the international access code, followed by the country code and the mobile phone number. Remember that the mobile phone number needs to include the 3-digit service provider code, 4-digit regional code, and 4-digit subscriber identification number. e.g. An international call to a China Unicom CDMA/GSM number would require that you dial 011-86-153-xxxx-xxxx.
If calling a Chinese land line from abroad, dial the 2-3-digit area code before the local number. e.g. For a call to Shanghai, dial: 011-86-21-xxxx-xxxx.
Receiving calls from abroad in China
For international calls to land lines and cell phones in China, dial the international access code, country code, and subscriber phone number. e.g. For a call to Hong Kong from the U.S., dial 011-852-xxxx-xxxx. For a call to Macau from the U.S., dial 011-853-xxxx-xxxx.
Other calls and numbers
If you are calling a land line locally, simply dial the 7-8-digit local number.
Toll-free numbers in all of China (including China) begin with 800. Remember that calling a 1-800 number in the United States from China or Hong Kong will carry the cost of an international call, as will calling from Hong Kong or Macau to 800 numbers in China and vice versa.
Some toll-free numbers are reserved for public services.
For Mainland China, Emergencies:
- 110 Police
- 119 Fire
- 120 Ambulance
- 122 Traffic Police
For Mainland China, Services:
- 114 Local Telephone Number Inquiry
- 116 Domestic Long Distance Inquiry
- 117 Time Inquiry
- 121 Weather Forecast
- 184 Post Code Inquiry
- 185 Emergency Mail
For Hong Kong, Emergencies:
- 999 Police, Fire, and Ambulance
For Hong Kong, Services:
- 1081 Directory Assistance (English)
- 1983 Directory Assistance (Cantonese)
- 18501 Weather Forecast (English)
- 18503 Weather Forecast (Cantonese)
For Macau, Emergencies:
- 999 Police, Fire, and Ambulance
For Macau, Services:
- 181 Domestic Directory Assistance
- 101 International Directory Assistance