Calling China from the United States may seem complicated, but with the right information, it’s easy to dial Chinese numbers directly. Whether you need to call family, friends or businesses in China, this comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick overview: To call a landline or mobile number in China from the US, dial 011 + 86 + the area code without the first 0 + the local number. Use calling cards or VoIP services to save money. Be mindful of the large time difference.

Country Code and Area Codes for China

When making an international call to China from the US, it is important to know the country code and area codes for the specific region you are trying to reach. Here is a complete guide to help you navigate the calling process.

China’s country code is 86

The country code for China is +86. This code is used when dialing any number within China from abroad. When making a call from the US to China, you will need to dial this code before entering the area code and the local number.

Major area codes and cities they cover

China has a vast territory with numerous cities and regions, each with its own area code. Here are some major area codes and the cities they cover:

Area Code City
10 Beijing
21 Shanghai
20 Guangzhou
27 Wuhan
25 Nanjing

These are just a few examples, and there are many more area codes for different cities and regions in China. It is important to check the specific area code for the city you are calling to ensure your call goes through.

Special administrative regions have separate codes

China has two special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, which have their own separate calling codes. Hong Kong’s country code is +852, and Macau’s country code is +853. When making calls to these regions from the US or other countries, you will need to dial the respective country code followed by the area code and the local number.

For more information on area codes and specific regions in China, you can visit or for the latest updates and resources.

How to Dial Chinese Numbers from the US

If you are in the United States and need to make a phone call to China, it’s important to understand the correct dialing process. By following a few simple steps, you can easily connect with friends, family, or business contacts in China.

Here is a complete guide on how to dial Chinese numbers from the US.

Use 011 to access the international network

When making an international call from the US, you need to start by dialing the international access code, which is “011.” This code allows you to connect to the international network and reach your desired destination. Without dialing 011, your call will not be able to connect to China.

Include the country code and area code

After dialing 011, the next step is to include the country code for China, which is “86.” This code is essential for identifying the country you wish to call. Following the country code, you need to dial the specific area code for the city or region in China you are trying to reach.

The area code can vary depending on the location, so it’s important to have this information handy.

Omit the first 0 from Chinese area codes

It’s important to note that when dialing Chinese area codes from the US, you should omit the first 0. For example, if the Chinese area code is “010,” you would dial it as “10.” This is because the first 0 is used for domestic calls within China and is not necessary when dialing internationally.

Dial the local number the same as listed

Once you have dialed the international access code, country code, and area code, you can then proceed to dial the local number in China. It’s essential to dial the local number exactly as it is listed, without any additional prefixes or codes.

Make sure to double-check the number before dialing to avoid any errors.

Now that you know how to dial Chinese numbers from the US, you can easily stay connected with your friends, family, or business associates in China. Keep in mind that international calling rates may apply, so it’s a good idea to check with your service provider for any additional charges.

Why Using a Calling Card Saves Money

When it comes to making international calls, using a calling card can be a great way to save money. Here are a few reasons why:

Avoid expensive international rates from your provider

Most phone providers charge high international rates for calls to China. By using a calling card, you can bypass these expensive rates and make calls at a fraction of the cost. This is especially beneficial for individuals who frequently need to call China for business or personal reasons.

Calling cards offer reduced per-minute rates

One of the main advantages of using a calling card is that it offers reduced per-minute rates compared to traditional phone providers. With a calling card, you can make long conversations without worrying about the cost adding up quickly.

This is particularly advantageous for individuals who need to have lengthy conversations with their loved ones in China.

Some have per-call fees but very cheap minutes

While some calling cards may have a per-call fee, they often offer very cheap per-minute rates. This means that even with the additional fee, the overall cost of the call is still significantly lower than what your phone provider would charge.

It is important to compare different calling cards to find the one that offers the best rates and fees for your specific needs.

Watch out for hidden fees and expiration dates

It is essential to carefully read the terms and conditions of any calling card before purchasing. Some calling cards may have hidden fees, such as connection fees or maintenance fees, which can eat into your savings.

Additionally, some calling cards have expiration dates, meaning any unused minutes will be lost after a certain period. To avoid any surprises, make sure to choose a calling card that has transparent fees and a reasonable expiration date.

By using a calling card, you can significantly reduce your expenses when making calls to China from the US. Just be sure to choose a reputable calling card provider and review the terms and conditions before making a purchase.

Making VoIP Calls to China

When it comes to calling China from the US, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a popular and cost-effective option. VoIP allows you to make calls over the internet, saving you money on international calling rates.

Here, we’ll explore what VoIP is, how it works, and the advantages and limitations of using it to call China.

What is VoIP and how it works

VoIP is a technology that enables voice calls to be made over the internet rather than through traditional telephone lines. Instead of using a telephone network, VoIP converts your voice into digital data packets and transmits them over the internet to the recipient.

This technology eliminates the need for a physical phone line and allows for more flexible and affordable communication.

VoIP calls can be made using various devices, such as smartphones, computers, or dedicated VoIP phones. To make a VoIP call to China, you’ll need a reliable internet connection and a VoIP service provider that supports international calling.

Apps like Skype, WhatsApp, and WeChat

There are several popular apps that offer VoIP calling services and can be used to call China from the US. Skype, WhatsApp, and WeChat are among the most widely used apps for making international calls.

Skype: Skype is a well-known platform that allows users to make voice and video calls over the internet. It offers competitive rates for international calling and provides a user-friendly interface for making calls to China.WhatsApp: WhatsApp is a messaging app that also supports VoIP calling. It’s widely used around the world and offers end-to-end encryption for secure communication. With WhatsApp, you can make voice and video calls to your contacts in China for free, as long as you have an internet connection.WeChat: WeChat is a popular messaging app in China that also offers VoIP calling capabilities. It allows users to make calls to other WeChat users for free, both domestically and internationally.

Advantages and limitations of VoIP calls

There are several advantages to using VoIP calls to reach China from the US. Firstly, VoIP calls are generally more affordable than traditional phone calls, especially for international calls. This can result in significant cost savings, especially for businesses or individuals who frequently communicate with China.

Additionally, VoIP calls offer greater flexibility and convenience. With VoIP, you can make calls from any device with an internet connection, whether it’s your smartphone, computer, or a dedicated VoIP phone. This allows for seamless communication regardless of your location.

However, it’s important to note that VoIP calls may have some limitations. The quality of the call can be affected by the strength and stability of your internet connection. If you have a slow or unreliable internet connection, you may experience issues such as dropped calls or poor audio quality.

Furthermore, certain VoIP services may have restrictions or limitations when it comes to calling China. It’s essential to check with your VoIP service provider to ensure that they support international calling to China and to understand any additional charges or limitations that may apply.

Timing Your Calls Taking Timezones into Account

China is 12-16 hours ahead of US time zones

When calling China from the US, it’s crucial to consider the significant time difference between the two countries. China is typically 12 to 16 hours ahead of US time zones, depending on the region. For example, if it is 8:00 AM in New York, it would be 8:00 PM in Beijing.

Therefore, making sure to be aware of the time difference will help you plan your calls more effectively.

Avoid calling early morning or late night in China

While it’s essential to be mindful of the time difference, it’s also important to be considerate of the local time in China. Avoid making calls during early morning or late night hours in China, as this may disrupt the recipient’s sleep or daily routine.

It’s best to find a time that is convenient for both parties involved.

Schedule calls during mutual waking hours

To ensure effective communication, it is advisable to schedule calls during the mutual waking hours of both countries. This means finding a time when it is daytime in both China and the US. During these hours, the chances of reaching someone and having a productive conversation are significantly higher.

Utilize tools such as time zone converters or mobile apps to determine the most suitable time for your call.

For more information on time zones and international calling, you can visit websites like or that provide accurate and up-to-date information on time differences between countries.


Calling China is simple and affordable with the right tools and know-how. Following international dialing steps, leveraging calling cards or VoIP, and considering the time difference will make your call a success. With this guide, you’ll stay connected with people in China with no problem at all.

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