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CHINA CALLING GUIDE |

Calling To/From China Long Distance

Calling to China

Making Calls while in China

Other Information about Long Distance Calling To/From China

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Tips for Calling Internationally from China

For international calls from China, dial the access code of 00, followed by the country code (1 for the U.S. and China), area code, and local number.

Calling from hotels in mainland China is not as expensive as in most other parts of the world. Hotels are only permitted to charge an additional service charge of up to 15%, and long-distance rates within China are low. Still, public telephones offer better rates. To use one you’ll first need to buy an integrated circuit (IC) card from a kiosk, post office, or convenience store for about $2.50. The cards display the amount remaining as you use them. Brief local calls cost only about 5?.

In China, local calls from homes, shops, and offices are free. Calls from public phone booths cost about 10? - 15? for a 5-minute local call. Making the same call from hotel rooms will cost about 50? -65?.

China is the second largest Internet user in the world after the United States. Internet cafes are easy to find in urban areas, though rural areas lag behind in Internet use.

Information About China’s Telephone System

China has an excellent modern telecommunications system with 20,802,900 land lines and 8,751,300 cellular lines in use.

Information About China’s Telephone System

The whole of China (including China) has a massive and technologically advanced telecommunications system.

Mainland China currently has 363 land lines and 461 million cell phones in use. Hong Kong has over 3. 8 million land lines and over 8 million cell phones in U.S. Macau has over 175,000 land lines and over 325,000 cell phones in use.

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Important Phone Numbers To Know if Traveling to China

The U.S. embassy in Beijing is in Ritan at Xuishui Dong Kie 2 (tel. 010/6532-3431) and is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 4 pm. Keep in mind that the embassy is set to move in 2008 to a site next to the Hilton Hotel outside the north section of the East Third Ring Road. The U.S. also has consulates in Chengdu (at Lingshiguan Lu 4, tel. 028/8558-3992, consular.chengdu@state.gov), Guangzhou (Shamian Nan Lu 1, tel. 020/8121/8000), Shanghai (Huaihai Zhong Lu 1469, tel. 021/6433-6880), and Shenyang (Shisi Wei Lu and Bei San Jing Jie, tel;. 024/2322-1198).

The U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong is located at 26 Garden Rd., Central District (tel. 852/2523-9011) and is open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 5:30 pm (closed for lunch from 12:30 to 1:30pm).

Other Important Information to Know About China

Time Zone:

GMT + 8.00 hours. Current time in China.

Currency:

One U.S. dollar is equivalent to 10.41 Chinese Yuan Renminbi (CNY). Current exchange rates for CNY.

Population:

China’s population is the largest in the world at over 1,318,000,000. China is home to at least 56 ethnic groups.

Holidays:

Traditional Chinese holidays are an essential part of Chinese Culture. They are most likely rooted in agricultural rituals from ancient times. In China, there are 4 official public holidays: New Year’s Day, Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), Labor Day, and National Day. The last three are all 3 days long. If any of those days fall on weekends, the holidays are moved to create up to 7-day long holidays.

Language:

There are several major dialects in the Chinese language, including Mandarin, Wu (Shanghaiese), Yue (Cantonese), Min, Xiang, Gan, and Hakka. Other languages widely spoken by ethnic minorities include Zhuang (Thai), Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur, Hmong, and Korean. English is not widely spoken in mainland China, especially in rural areas.

Hong Kong’s official languages are English and Chinese, though Cantonese is the Chinese language most commonly spoken there (the official “Chinese” refers to Mandarin). Despite English’s status as an official language, it is not widely spoken outside of the tourist industry.

In Macau, both Portuguese and Chinese are official languages. Cantonese is the most widely spoken language. Most people in the tourist industry speak English as well.

Climate:

Due to the country’s great size, climate in mainland China varies greatly. The northern zone (including Beijing) has hot summer temperatures and freezing winters. More central areas (including Shanghai) are more temperate but still have very hot summers and cold winters. Southern areas such as Guangzhou have extremely hot summers and fairly mild winters. Dust storms are common throughout China in the spring months.

Hong Kong has a subtropical climate with cool, dry winters and hot, humid summers. Monsoons are common, and tropical cyclones occasionally hit in the summer and early autumn. Macau has a warm temperate climate. Temperature varies greatly between summer and winter and can be affected by monsoons. Low temperatures in the winter hover in the 50s (Fahrenheit), and high temperatures can reach 90 in the summer.

Fun Facts About China

  • In mainland China driving is on the right, but in China, it is on the left.
  • Tipping is not a common practice in mainland China. In fact, it was forbidden until recently. In China, restaurants and bars often add a 10% service charge to the bill, and you are expected to leave more, if warranted.
  • The Han are the largest ethnic group in China and comprise 93% of the population. Many other groups have largely assimilated into the Han group but continue to retain some ethnic and linguistic particularities.
  • If you’re part of a tour group, try to escape and try some local food. It’s often tastier and cheaper than the food you’ll receive on your tour.
  • China has the world’s oldest continuously used written language system.
  • In southern China, rice forms the basis of most meals, while wheat-based products such as noodles and steamed buns are more common in northern China.
  • Soccer may have originated in China around 1000 CE.
  • Standard Mandarin is used for instruction in Chinese schools, in the media, and by the government.
  • Calligraphy is considered a high art form in China. It is more highly regarded than painting and music.
  • China is officially atheist and secular, though it does allow personal religious worship and supervised group religion. There are an estimated 14 million Muslims and 7 million Christians in China.
  • Traditional sports in China include dragon boat racing, Mongolian-style wrestling, and horse racing. Elderly people often practice qigong in parks.
  • The Chinese are credited with the inventions of paper, printing, gunpowder, matches, and the wheelbarrow.
  • Chopsticks are used to eat solid foods. For this reason, foods are most often prepared in bite size pieces. Flat-bottomed, wide spoons are used to consume soups and other liquids.
  • Macau’s history as a Portuguese colony has resulted in a fascinating cultural mix. Check out its architecture and taste its food!
  • Trains on the mainland are cheap and reliable, but they may be slow. Air travel is probably the best option for traveling between provinces.
  • Try many of China’s fine teas. Remember to ask the price; some may cost as much as a meal!
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