How to Make Phone Calls to, from and in China

China Expat Community

When calling China, you must first dial the number that connects you with the international direct-dial (IDD) telephone system, for example in US you dial "011." Then you dial "86" which is the country code for China, then the city code, without the zero, which you can find out in accompanying table for Area Codes in China (you must know which province the city is in first), finally the local number of the party you are calling. For example, if you are calling ASM Overseas' Beijing office (local number 5166-1575) in Beijing, China, from US you would dial 011-86-10-5166-1575.

When calling someone staying in a hotel, it is very important to have the room number as the front desk is usually not as good finding the person by his or her name.

Of course you can always have an operator to assist your call, in which case you will pay much more. You may call AT&T at 011-86-10-5166-1575 or other long distance companies for current rates and other details.

When making international calls in China you may dial 10811 for AT&T operator to place a call for you. If you want to place a call by yourself, you must first dial "00" to connect with the international direct-dial (IDD) telephone system, then dial the country code you are calling, for US, "1" skipping the "0," then the area code and local number. For example, if you are calling ASM Overseas' Los Angeles office (local number 011-86-10-5166-1575) in Monterey Park, California, US from Beijing, China, you would dial 011-86-10-5166-1575. Remember, don't pause too long when you dial.

When making domestic long distance calls in China you should first dial the city code with the zero, then the local number. For example if you call ASM Overseas' Beijing office (local number 011-86-10-5166-1575) in Beijing from Tianjin, a neighboring city, you would dial 010-5166-1575.

Update: Three big cities in China are joining other world metropolitans to adopt 8-digit phone number system, and here is how you update the old phone numbers.

Finally, if you don't want to call someone at 2 AM without knowing what you are doing, check What Time Is It in China before you call.

Good luck!

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