Telephone and Cell Phone

> Can I use my cell phone in China?
    Most of the cell phones bought in foreign countries can not be normally used in China. However, some of the high-end phones are compatible. Please consult the manufacturer of your cell phone before your trip. However, the international airtime charge can be very high, so it is wise to use a local SIM card in China.

> What if I want to have a cell phone in China?
    You can buy a cell phone and open a mobile phone account in China. Many well-known world brands like Nokia, Motorola, Siemens, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, NEC, Philips, Panasonic are sold in franchised stores or large-scale emporia of China.

> Can I use the phone I bought to make calls directly?
    No. After you purchase a new cell phone in China, it will be necessary to have a Chinese SIM card inserted in the cell phone. With a SIM card, you own a local number, through which you friends can connect with you.

> Where to buy a SIM card?
    You can get a SIM card at any of the cell phone shops with a copy of your ID card. Usually, a new SIM card user is required to install a certain amount of money (for example 100 CNY ) in the new card.
Three kinds of card will be served: China Mobile SIM card China Telecom SIM card and China Unicom SIM card. You can choose any one as you like. Then, you can choose your own number that consists of 11 Arabic numerals.

> Does my SIM card which is bought in Beijing still work in Xian?
    Most of the SIM cards in China can be used nationwide. You need to activate the national roaming service, but it will be much more expensive for using the card of Beijing in Xian.

> How can I recharge if the money of my cell phone runs out?
    You can go to the service center to deposit money in your card account or buy a prepaid card.

> If my SIM card has some problem, to whom will I turn for help?
   You can call the service number of your SIM card supplier.
   China Mobile: 10086 (24 hours service)
   China Unicom: 10010 (24 hours service)
   China Telecom: 10000 ( 24 hours service)
    Both offer English service (press two after getting through). You can make any inquiries related with your phone and SIM card.

> Can I use my phone to make international call directly?
    No, you need to go to the service center to apply for the service with your ID card presented. What's more, you need to deposit 500 CNY once in your card.

> What is the charge of international call?
    The charge depends on which country you want to call. You’d better consult the service center.

> Is telephone still widely used in China?
    Yes. The phone booths and other public telephones can be easily found on the roadside, hotels, railway stations, airports and large-scale emporia.

> How to use the phone booths?
    You just need to buy an IC card from the newspaper stands or the post office. 

>  Do I need to pay for the phone call I made in the hotel?
    It depends on which hotel you live. Usually, in the five-star and the four-star hotel it is free for the local call, while the international call and the long distance call is charged.

> Can I find a fax machine easily in China?
    Yes, public fax machines are available in many places. Scanning services are also available.


> Can I have the right to access the internet in hotels?
    Yes, you can in most hotels. In your room, there should be the instruction for you to connect a laptop to the internet through a network interface. Some hotels also have a Business Center, where internet service is provided. It is free to use the internet service in some hotels, especially the top grade ones, while it is not in some. 

> I am going to stay in China for a year, how can I access the internet in my rented house?
     Broadband access service is provided by China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile, and the charge varies. Monthly payment is more expensive than yearly payment. You can consult the service center by calling-- 10010 for China Unicom, 10086 for China Mobile and 1000 for China Telecom.

> What if I want to log on the internet without a computer?
    There are many local cybercafés ("网吧 wangba") in China, where you can surf the internet. In the internet bar, you need to check in with your ID card and get a prepaid card. By inputting the card number and its PIN, you can get the internet access. The charge of surfing the internet varies from city to city, which generally is 1-5 Yuan per hour.

> Tips for surfing in the cybercafé
    a). Take care of your personal belongings in case of theft.
    b). Leave the cybercafé before 21:00 for the sake of your personal safety. 
    c). Never use an online banking facility in the cybercafé in case any traps.

Postal Service

With the fast development of such advanced communication means as mobile phone and internet, the postal service keeps playing an indispensable role in the international communication.

> What is the official postal service?
    China Post (中国邮政) is the official postal service of the People's Republic of China, operated by the State Postal Bureau of PRC

> Is post office available everywhere in China?
    In China, post offices, with a striking green logo, can be easily found everywhere in the cities.

>  What are the business hours of the post office?
    The operating time is 08:00- 18:00 everyday, but in some remote areas, the post office may be closed at weekends.

> How to trace a package from China?
    Using China Post to mail a package, you can trace it via its tracing number. The number beginning with 'EE' refers to an EMS parcel. Online tracing is available at The tracing number beginning with letter 'RR' refers to an ordinary surface mail that is slower. Otherwise, there are tracing numbers beginning with other letters. More China Post tracing systems recommended here may be helpful:

> Where can I buy an envelope?
    Envelopes and stamps can be easily bought in any of the post offices. They are also sold in some of the stationery stores and supermarkets. The cost of an envelope is about 0.1-0.2 CNY. The cost of the stamp is equal to its par value.

> Can you give some instructions about how to address a Chinese envelope?
    The format of Chinese envelope may be a little different from that in many countries. The instructions on how to write an envelope are as follow.
    a). Step 1: Zip code of the area of the addressee
          On the upper corner of the left end is the zip code of the addressee. 
    b). Step 2: Address of the addressee. 
          The middle part of the front side is for the addressee's address and name. In China, the address starts from addressee's country, province, city, district, street, number and the addressee’s name follow the address in a new line. If you can not write Chinese Characters, Pinyin will work.
    c). Step 3: Return Address.
          The below corner of the right in the front side is for your address and your name as well as your zip code.
    d). Step 4: After you address your envelope, do remember to stick the appropriate-value stamp firmly on the envelope.
    Note: Writing in red ink is not allowed when addressing an envelope.

> What is the rate of mailing a domestic letter in China?
    It is not expensive at all for you to mail a domestic letter in China. The price varies according to the weight of your mail and the delivering distance. 

    Letter less than 100g: For each 20g, 0.6 Yuan is charged if the mail is delivered in the same city, while 0.8 Yuan is for the intercity mail delivery.

    Letter over 100g: For each extra 100g, 1.2 Yuan should be added for the mail delivered in the same city and 2.0 Yuan for the intercity mail.

    Registered post is much faster but another 3.0 Yuan will be charged for each piece of mail as the registration fee.

>  How long is the delivery time of a domestic letter by surface?
    The delivery time is different based on the distance. Generally speaking, it will take 5-7 days.

> What if I have an urgent letter to mail?
     It is recommended to use EMS (Express Mail Service), which is basically the best way to mail the letter or parcel. Within 3 days, the mail will be successfully delivered. If you do not want to go to the post office to mail the letter or parcel, you can just call 11185. By providing your address, a staff member will pick your letter or parcel at your home.

    The official website of China Post EMS in English:

> How can I mail a postcard abroad?
    Postcards are sold in postal office. The normal one costs 1.5 – 2 CNY. You need to write the address of the addressee clearly. Make sure that the address is written according the instructions given above.

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