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China's international postal service is efficient. It generally takes 5-10 days for airmail letters or postcards to reach their destination. Domestic mail is fast. Post offices are found throughout China.

For faster service Express Mail Service (EMS) allows you to send registered letters and parcels out of China and can be arranged at post offices.

Post Restante services exist in every city and town. In addition, most hotels have branch offices.

It is best to buy envelopes in China as envelopes must be of an approved size. Envelopes purchased abroad will reach their destination, however, they will be given lowest priority and will move at a snails pace.

Post offices are exacting about how you pack a parcel. Take the items you want to post, to the post office and pack them there, as you will have to get customs clearance for your parcel. If you have a receipt for your purchases, enclose it, customs may re-open your packet along the way.

Postal Rates

Domestic letters up to 20g cost RMB0.50, postcards RMB0.30.
International rates for letters up to 20g vary from RMB2.50 to RMB5.40 depending on the province.


A number of international courier companies have offices in China. United Parcel Service (UPS), DHL, Federal Express, and TNT Skypak all have representatives in China. Inquire at your hotel to find the closest office or to arrange pick up service.


The Internet is increasingly available throughout China. You should be able find somewhere to access it in most major cities, though at times it can be very slow to download. Business centers in 4 and 5 star hotels usually have Internet access. Cybercafes are popping up in many cities in China. Your best bet for finding one is to look near universities or in tourist areas.

Telephone and Fax

China's phone system works well. You can usually place both international and domestic phone calls from you hotel room or hotel's business center, but there is always a surcharge on long distance calls. Local calls are generally free from your hotel.

Domestic long distance rates are cheap. International calls are very expensive, in the neighborhood of RMB20 per minute. Reverse-charge calls are legal and are generally less expensive than calling overseas from China.

Card phones are fairly widespread in China and can be the simplest and the cheapest way to make calls in China. There are two types of phone cards, the older magnetic cards and the newer "Smartcards". Smartcards are better to purchase. Magnetic phone cards may only be used in the province in which you buy them, Smartcards may be used all over China.

Local and domestic long distance calls, but not international calls can generally be made from phone booths. Both long distance and international calls may be placed from the offices of telecommunications companies. Calls are charged by the minute.

Faxes can be sent from most hotel business centers.

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