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The Chinese Telephone Code Plan Explained

The Chinese Telephone Code Plan Explained

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Want to learn more about the Chinese telephone code plan? Find out which Chinese phone number type is the best fit for your business. Also, we outline common China VoIP issues and what telecom companies are doing to provide better virtual communication in the country.

Understanding the Chinese Telephone Code Plan

Chinese phone numbers are organized and assigned by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. According to their plan, there are different formats for landlines, mobile numbers, and toll free numbers. The Chinese country code is (+86).

We will delve into the finer details of the Chinese telephone code plan so you can find the right business phone number for your company.

1. Chinese Local Numbers

In major Chinese cities, landlines or local numbers have a 2-digit area code followed by an 8-digit subscriber number. Some cities have a 3-digit area code with a 7- or 8-digit subscriber number. When a local landline number is called from another number within the same area, the area code does not need to be dialed. Local Chinese numbers with area codes include:

    • Beijing (10)
    • Guangzhou (20)
    • Tianjin (22)
    • Shanghai (21)
    • Zhengzhou (371)
    • Xiantao, Tianmen, Qianjiang (728)

The format for Chinese local numbers is:
(area code) + xxxx-xxxx

As a business, in or outside of the telecom industry in China, having a local number lets local customers call you by paying regular local calling charges. And so, even if your business is not located in the country, customers do not have to pay high international calling charges to get support.

2. Chinese Toll Free Numbers

China toll free numbers are business numbers that give local Chinese callers a free calling option. This is because toll free service providers charge the business using the toll free number instead of the caller. By doing so, you give interested and potential customers a way to contact your business for free.

An international business located outside of China can use these numbers to gain more Chinese customers or build local networks. Incoming calls can be forwarded to your office, wherever it is located.

The format for Chinese toll free numbers is:
(010) + (800) + xxx-xxxx

3. Chinese 400 Numbers

China 400 numbers are also a part of the Chinese telephone code plan. As their name indicates, 400 numbers start with the prefix (400). These numbers are reachable from anywhere in the country, making them a good business phone number option.

The format for Chinese national numbers is:
(400) + xxx-xxxx

4. Chinese International Codes

China has four international call prefixes that residents, businesses, and foreign callers can use. These international codes include:

    • Mainland China (+86)
    • Hong Kong (+852)
    • Macau (+853)
    • Taiwan (+886)

How to Call China from the US

To dial a China phone number from the US, you will need to dial the US exit code (011) and China country code (86) before the subscriber number. Follow this China phone number dialing format:

Calling a China local number: 011 – 86 – Area code – xxxx-xxxx

Example: 011 – 86 – 20 – 3333-3333

Calling a China toll free number: 011 – 86 – Toll free code – xxxx-xxxx

Example: 011 – 86 – 800 – 3333-3333

Calling a China mobile number: 011 – 86 – 1 Mobile code – xxxx-xxxx

Example: 011 – 86 – 122 – 3333-3333

Related: How To Call China From The United States

Common Problems with China Virtual Numbers

Demand for China virtual phone numbers has grown substantially in recent years. However many businesses have gotten frustrated while trying to find a reliable phone number to use in China. Since there are so many amazing opportunities in China, businesses want to continue their presence and therefore a reliable service needs to be available. At Global Call Forwarding, we are working hard to solve these issues. So, what are the common problems with Chinese virtual phone numbers and how do we solve them?

1. Mobile access

Toll free numbers in China are not accessible from mobile phones. If a business uses an 800 number for their company, their customers can call them through landlines only. Customers dialing from a mobile phone won’t be able to reach this business. Secondly, there are two 800 numbers in China; one for southern China and one for Northern China. This means, to be accessible to customers in all of China, a business will need two toll free numbers. To combat this issue and because of the lack of mobile access for 800 numbers, 400 numbers were created. 400 numbers can be reached from mobile phones and you don’t need different numbers for north and south China. The only difference is that customers pay a regular, local cost.

2. Long setup times

China requires that you have documentation of your business or a passport before getting virtual phone numbers. Conversely, you do not need a physical address in China to get a local phone number. Either way, waiting for the approval of these documents can take a long time. In order to bypass these wait times, you need to choose a provider with a good relationship with Chinese providers.

3. VoIP regulations

China VoIP regulations are different compared to other countries. Over time, several VoIP services have been banned in China with only certain VoIP providers allowed to operate. These providers are usually allowed only when China owns a majority of the company. Therefore, adding new VoIP providers becomes very difficult. Chinese VoIP providers have seen an improvement in the country’s willingness to partner with outside countries. The easiest place to gain a phone number is in Beijing, but outside of the country’s capital, it is still a struggle. The 400 numbers have the most common services available from VoIP providers. With 400 numbers, there is better consistency in call quality. As more companies take their business to China, the service will continue to improve.

4. Number porting

Number porting is not as advanced in China as you may find in other countries. Changing service providers in China will mean a few extra steps, involving canceling your number and buying a new phone number from your new provider. This issue has not been fixed, but if you choose a reputable VoIP provider that allows you to test their service before signing a long-term contract, you won’t waste any money on advertising a new number.

5. Number availability and limitations

Local numbers are difficult to set up in China due to their many restrictions. As China’s economy grows and more businesses choose to expand their global reach, the difficulty has lessened. However, complaints about call quality are common. Many providers only provide access to Beijing or Shanghai. At Global Call Forwarding, we offer local numbers in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tongchuan, and Hong Kong, with a reliable connection.

The future of China and the VoIP industry shows promise for growth. Although it is difficult at the present time, VoIP providers and China have been working hard to establish better connections and they continue to get better.

Getting Chinese Phone Numbers

Global Call Forwarding offers a variety of Chinese virtual phone numbers that work within the Chinese telephone code plan. You can use these numbers to start a new business in the country or expand your business to China. Call us today to learn more!

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F A Q | Chinese Numbers Explained

China phone numbers are typically 10-11 digits long. This includes the area code (2-3 digits) and the subscriber number (7-8 digits).

China phone numbers typically follow this format: (country code) (area code / toll-free prefix) xxxx-xxxx. Here’s an example of a local Beijing phone number: +86 (010) 1234-5678.

The country code for China is (+86).

To dial a China phone number from the US, you will need to dial the US exit code (011) and China country code (+86). Then, dial the area code or toll-free prefix and the subscriber number.

You can get China phone numbers from international phone number providers like Global Call Forwarding. We offer phone numbers for more than 160 countries including local and national China phone numbers.