China has an efficient postal network with a variety of services, including registered post and express mail. Tele-communication systems are reasonably advanced and international telephone calls can be made from all but the cheapest hotels. The internet is hugely popular, and cafes with access are widespread. The government, however, polices the net, and websites that it considers controversial may be blocked. Foreign newspapers and magazines are sold in five-star hotel bookstores, but these may be censored as well.
Renting a cell phone is an expensive option and tricky to arrange in China. Rent one from a company at home and take it with you.
International & Local Telephone Calls
International phone calls can be made from most hotels, telephone boxes, and officer of China Telecom. Card phones that accept a wide variety of phone cards are available in large cities, and are the cheapest way of making domestic and international calls. IC (Integrated Circuit) card come in denominations of 20 Yuan,50 Yuan, and 100 Yuan, and are largely used for domestic calls. They can also be used for international calls, though the rates are not very good. IP ( Internet Phone) cards come in denominations of RMB 100 Yuan and offer the cheapest rates for international calls.
If the local cell phone network is compatible with your own phone, you can continue to use it in China. It can be cheaper, however, to buy a phone and SIM card while you are in the country.
E-mal & Internet Facilities
Personal computer owner-ship is still very limited in China, so internet cafes (wangba) are found just about everywhere. Many are no more than hole-in-the-walls, and the numbers have dwindled somewhat since licensing regulations became stricter following a spate of fires. You will find the greatest number of caf?clustered around university campuses and in residential neighborhoods. You can also get online at China Telecom offices. Unless you need to get online urgently, avoid using hotel business centers or internet cafes aimed at tourists, as they are generally over-priced. China polices the internet, so access to certain sites and content is prohibited. The government has banned access to many supposedly politically sensitive sites, although newspaper sites are generally available.
The postal service in China is, for the most part, reliable, and the domestic service is reasonably fast. It takes less than a day for mail to reach local destinations, two or more days to inland destinations, while the international postal service takes up to 10 days to send airmail and postcards overseas. Visitors can send mail by standard or registered post (guabaoxin), while EMS (Express Mail Service) is a reliable way to send packages and documents abroad and within the country.
Mail post offices are open seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm, while smaller ones usually close earlier or for lunch, and remain shut on the weekends. Large hotels usually have post desks.
Take your mail to the post office, rather than dropping it in a mailbox. It will help postal staff sort your letter if you write the country's name in Chinese characters. Aero grams and packaging materials for parcels are available at post offices.
Reliable post rest ante services are available all over China. You will need some form of identification preferably your passport to retrieve your mail. Envelopes should be addressed with the surname underlined and in capitals. Chinese addresses always start with the country, then the province, city, street, house number, and name of recipient. The post code should be written at the end.
Courier services are widely available, but less so in small towns and remote areas. While it is preferable to send large, bulky item by regular land, sea, or air cargo, important letters, documents', and smaller parcels are best sent through a courier agency, even though it may be more expensive. United Parcel Service (UPS), Federal Express, and DHL Worldwide Express are international courier agencies with a wide network.
Newspapers & Magazines
The dry as dust China Daily is China's official English language newspaper, but it is very short on substance. A selection of international newspapers and magazines can be found at tourist hotel bookstores including the International Herald Tribune, the Financial Times, Time, Newsweek, and the Economist. Imported English-language newspapers still come under the censor's knife, with the odd page missing. Online newspapers are not usually blocked, but online news organizations such as the BBC are. In Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, and other large cities, look out for expat entertainment and culture magazines, which offer the best news on local events.
The state-run television (CCTV), has two English-language channel. CCTV9 is tolerable despite its biased news and bland program content. Some English programs are also broadcast on CCTV4. Cable and satellite television is only available in top-end hotels and diplomatic compounds, so you will not find BBC News 24 or CNN everywhere. Chinese programs range from historical costume dramas and tepid soaps to domestic travel and heavily biased news programs.
There is also a wide Chinese-language radio network, but only a few local English-language programs. You will need a shortwave radio to pick up the BBC World Service, Voice of America, and other international programs. Bad reception of BBC World Service programs in Chinese, however, suggests some kind of artificial disruption of the radio signal.
Useful Dialing Codes & Numbers
To call China from abroad, dial your international access code, China's country code (86), the area code omitting the first 0, followed by the local number.
Neither Hong Kong nor Macau has area codes; They only have country code-852and 853 respectively.
To make an inter-city call, dial the area code of that city and the local number.
For Beijing, dial 010; Shanghai, 021; Guangzhou, 020; Chongqing, 023; Kunming 0871.
To make a local call, omit the area code.
To make an international call from China, dial 00, the country any initial 0, and the local number.
Country codes: UK 44; France 33; USA & Canada 1; Australia 61; Ireland 353; New Zealand 64; South Africa 27; Japan 81.
Dial 115 for international directory assistance.
dial 114 for local directory enquiries in Chinese; Dial the area code followed by114 for numbers in another town.