How to Call China From the US?
- Last Updated: 16 Feb 24
- 14 min read
Have you ever found it difficult to contact China from the US, desperately trying to contact your family or business contacts?
Or, you may wonder whether your phone is compatible with the Chinese network.
Whatever the hassle is, now this detailed article has got your back to remove all your confusion regarding calling China from the US.
So, let’s get started with the initial definition of international call to China.
What is an International Call to China?
When someone makes a call from another country to a person in China, it’s considered an international call to China. Such calls serve diverse purposes, encompassing personal, business, and cultural connections.
People often make these calls to stay connected with family and friends, especially if they’re living in different countries. In the business world, international calls facilitate communication with partners, clients, or colleagues based in China.
Essentially, these calls act as a bridge, overcoming geographical barriers to connect individuals for activities like sharing stories, conducting business negotiations, or celebrating special moments together. They play a crucial role in fostering diverse global relationships.
How to Call China From the US?
To call China from the US, Dial:
- 011-86-Area code -landline number (For China’s landline number)
- 011-86-mobile phone prefix-8 digit mobile number (For China’s mobile phone number)
- 011-86- toll-free prefix (often 400 or 800)-toll-free-number (For China’s toll-free number)
1. How to Call a Chinese landline Number From the US?
To call a China landline number from the United States, dial the exit code (011), followed by the China country code (86), the area code, and then the landline number.
Here’s a stepwise guide.
Step 1: Dial the US exit code 011.
Step 2: Enter China country code 86.
Step 3: Key in the area code for the specific Chinese city you intend to dial. (Refer to the provided list of cities and their corresponding area codes above to avoid any additional confusion.)
Step 4: Finally, dial the landline number.
A sample format to call a Chinese landline number from the US is: 011 86 10 1234 5678
- 011 is the US exit code
- 86 is the China country code
- 10 is the area code of Beijing
- The remaining number is the China landline number
Note: While entering the area code, make sure to exclude any leading zeroes. For example in the above format 10 is dialled instead of 010 for the area code of Beijing.
2. How to Call China Mobile Number From US?
To call a China mobile number from the US, you have to dial the “+” sign or US exit code 011, followed by the China country code 86, the mobile prefix of the number provider, and then the mobile number.
Follow these simple steps for thorough instructions.
Step 1: Enter the + sign or the US exit code 011
Step 2: Dial the China country code 86
Step 3: Dial the China mobile code, often 13, 15, or 18, depends on your carrier.
Step 4: Finally, enter the China mobile number.
A sample format to call a Chinese mobile number from the US is: +86 139 1234 5678
- + is the universal exit code symbol
- 86 is the China country code
- 13 is the mobile code prefix
- Remaining are the actual chinese mobile number
3. How to Call China Toll-Free Number From US?
To dial a China toll-free number from US, dial the US exit code 011 and the China country code 86, followed by the toll-free prefix number and the actual 7-digit toll-free Chinese number.
Follow these simple steps for thorough instructions.
Step 1: Dial in the US exit code 011
Step 2: Key in the China country code 86
Step 3: Enter the China Toll-free prefix number i.e. 400 or 800.
Step 4: Finally, enter the Chinese toll free number, most of the time it is of 7 digits.
A sample format to call a Chinese mobile number from the US is: 011 86 800 1234567
- 011 is the US exit code.
- 86 is the China country code
- 800 is the one of the chinese toll-free number prefix
- Remaining seven digits are the toll free number
Note: In China, there are two main types of toll-free numbers, one with the prefix 400 and another with 800.
What are the Things that You Need to Know Before Dialing China From the US?
These are some of the things that you should take into consideration before dialing China from the US.
1. Dialing Codes
Dialing codes, also known as Country Dialing Codes, are standardized country-specific codes used by telecom companies to identify the destination country of an international call. Every country has its own dialing code, and you have to dial them before dialing the actual phone number.
Therefore, while calling to China from the USA, make sure to hit the correct China country code, i.e., 86
2. Exit Code
Exit codes are also numerical codes that are country-based, just like the country dialing code, but you have to dial it even before it. This code symbolizes the telecom network that the call is going to be international, and the country dialing call should be used.
Therefore, if you are calling any foreign country from the US, you have to dial up the US exit code first, i.e., 011.
3. China Area Codes
4. Type of Number
Landline numbers, mobile numbers, and toll-free numbers are some of the popular types of local numbers. A local number in China refers to a phone number associated with a specific geographic area within the country. This type of number is typically used for communication within a particular region. Landline numbers, mobile numbers, and toll-free numbers are some of the popular types of local numbers.
Make sure to consider what type of number you are trying to call, as the dialing steps may vary. For example, a Chinese mobile number would look like +86 138 1234 5678, and a Chinese landline number would look like +86 10 1234 5678.
5. Time Zone Difference
Time Zone is another thing to take into consideration, as China and the US are geographically far apart from each other. The USA uses six time zones, and China uses one, the China Standard Time (CST), which is 8 hours ahead of the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
Time Zone Comparison of the USA and China:
|Time Difference (China CST)
|Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time
|GMT – 10
|18 hours behind
|Alaska Standard Time
|GMT – 9
|17 hours behind
|Pacific Standard Time
|GMT – 8
|16 hours behind
|Mountain Standard Time
|GMT – 7
|15 hours behind
|Central Standard Time
|GMT – 6
|14 hours behind
|Eastern Standard Time
|GMT – 5
|13 hours behind
How Much Does it Cost to Call China From the US?
The cost to call China from the USA may depend on various factors like network providers, carrier, and method of dialing, whether you are using a landline, cell phone, or VoIP-based system.
Some of the cheapest rates to call China from the US start at $0.01 per minute, while some of the most expensive rates can go upto $3 per minute. However, the calling cost can be much lower if you use VoIP services and the strategies mentioned in the next section of this blog.
Tips to Save Money while Calling From the US to China
To prevent the high charging call cost and save some bucks, follow these tips while calling from the US to China.
- Go for a cloud-based VoIP telephony; this will eradicate the need of additional hardware
- Buy a China virtual number; this will save you from additional international charges.
- If you make large volume calls, go with wholesale VoIP minutes
What is the Best Time to Call China From the US?
The time zone varies vastly for China and the US. So, make sure to pick the best time to call China from the US.
Usually, the standard office hour in China is 8 hours, from 9 am to 5 pm in China Standard Time. Late afternoon or early morning in China is often a suitable time for business calls. Make sure to consider calling during the morning hours in the U.S. when it corresponds to the afternoon in China.
Note: Avoid scheduling calls during the very early or late hours in the U.S., as this may fall outside of regular working hours in both regions.
4 Alternative Ways to Make International Calls to China
1. Using Virtual China Numbers
Chinese Virtual numbers are one of the best alternatives for making international calls to China. Unlike traditional old telephone numbers, virtual numbers are not linked with any particular geographical location, which means, you can buy a Virtual China, or Egypt number while residing in the US.
This will significantly lower the pricing that arrives when international calling, especially for small businesses that need multiple phone lines. Additionally, the availability of virtual numbers also makes it a strong and suitable alternative, as you can buy them from several cloud-based providers.
2. Using VoIP Apps Like WeChat
Since most of the popular VoIP apps like WhatsApp/Messenger are not available in China, the best way to call China from the USA is by using a Chinese VoIP app WeChat. With 19 million daily users in the USA, WeChat has already established itself as a common VoIP app.
3. Using Calling Cards
Prepaid calling cards present a way for individuals to make long-distance or international calls after dialing an access number and inputting a personal identification number (PIN). They offer an economical and user-friendly substitute for conventional phone plans, enabling connectivity without the commitment to a permanent phone service.
Opting for a calling card to place calls from the USA to China results in economical rates, providing users with savings on their international calling costs. Furthermore, as previously noted, calling cards frequently include features such as PIN-less dialing and automatic recharge choices, contributing to user convenience and accessibility.
4. Using VoIP Cloud Telephony
With the increase in the need for QoS (Quality of Service) along with lower pricing for communication, VoIP cloud telephony has as the most efficient way for long-distance calls. As they are entirely based on the cloud, the cost-effectiveness increases even further, without the need for any additional hardware infrastructures.
Along with lower pricing, cloud-based VoIP telephony provides numerous additional features like IVR, routing, forwarding, and many more. VoIP services also allow you to make calls to China with higher quality and more reliable connections.
Additionally, you can easily make calls to China from any device, including your mobile phone or tablet.
Challenges while calling China from the US
Some of the challenges you can face while calling China from the US are as follows.
- Time zone Differences: On average, China is 15 hours ahead of the USA. The perfect timing to transfer calls is challenging.
- Restriction Over VoIP Apps: Due to the strict regulations and restrictions of the Chinese government over popular VoIP Apps that are commonly used in the USA, other alternatives should need to be used.
- Language Barrier: The majority of the population of China speaks Mandarin or Cantonese. Not knowing those languages might create a barrier to communication.
- Monitoring and Censorship: China has strict censorship, widely known as the “Great Firewall of China.”. Therefore, internet means of communication, such as VoIP, can often be monitored by the Chinese government, disrupting your privacy.
Business Phone Call Etiquette in the China: Dos and Don’ts
- Respect Hierarchy and Seniority: Hierarchy and seniority are highly valued in Chinese culture. Therefore, address individuals with their appropriate titles and show deference to older or more senior individuals in the business setting.
- Remain Cheerful: Chinese culture values harmony and positivity, so try to maintain a cheerful and optimistic tone during your phone calls. Avoid complaining, criticizing, or expressing negative emotions. If you encounter any problems or difficulties, try to resolve them diplomatically and constructively
- Understand Cultural Nuances: Familiarize yourself with Chinese business customs and cultural nuances. This can include addressing individuals by their proper titles and understanding the importance of relationships in business dealings.
- Don’t Be Overly Direct: While direct communication is often valued in Western cultures, in China, it’s important to be tactful and avoid being overly blunt. Use indirect language when necessary.
- Don’t Assume English Proficiency: Even if you’re comfortable speaking in English, don’t assume the same for your Chinese counterpart. Speak clearly and be open to adjusting your pace if needed.
- Don’t Disregard TimeZones: It’s essential to consider the time difference between your location and China. So, make sure to make scheduled calls that align with the standard working hours in China.
Navigating the phone lines between the US and China can feel daunting, but incredibly satisfying if you approach properly. Keep in mind that dialing codes, time zones, and language barriers are just hurdles, not roadblocks. By embracing cloud-based VoIP, exploring alternative apps like WeChat, or even utilizing calling cards, you can connect seamlessly and cost-effectively.
1. Is it legal to call China from the US?
Yes, it is perfectly legal to call China from the US. There are no restrictions on making phone calls between the two countries. You can call landlines mobile phones, and even use VoIP services to connect with people in China.
2. Are calls to China expensive?
Yes, calls to China from other countries like the USA are a bit expensive depending on factors like method of calling, network providers, and your phone carrier. However, using cloud VoIP telephony and virtual numbers, you can reduce the cost significantly.
3. Can I use my regular phone plan to call China?
Yes, you can use a regular phone plan to call China as most of the network providers often facilitate with this facility. However, it is always recommended to contact the provider and verify if your plan includes international calling and covers calls to China.
4. What is the county code of China?
The country code for China is +86. When dialing internationally, you typically need to enter this country code before the local phone number to connect the call to China.
5. Can I be monitored or censored when calling China?
The censorship and monitoring system of China, aka “Great Firewall of China” is often related to internet communication. Thus, it’s worth noting that phone calls and other forms of communication may also be subject to monitoring.
If you’re calling China from outside the country, the call itself is less likely to be monitored. However, if you are making calls within China or engaging in communications that are routed through Chinese infrastructure, there’s a higher chance of monitoring and censorship.