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Business Travel in China


China's telephone system has been completely modernised in recent times,and both international and domestic calls can be made with little fuss. The most simple way for travellers to make a call is from a hotel room. Local calls are frequently free of charge and long distance calls within China are fairly cheap. For international calls, the cost is approximately RMB15 per minute. Alternatively,calls can be made from public phones on the street, most take RMB coins, others phonecards, which are readily available and useful for those who need to make a lot of calls. Local or long distance domestic calls can also call from private run phone booth, usually charged by minutes.These phone "booths" are found on most streets, inside small shops or tucked down alley ways. A phone sign usually indicates where one can be found. they are very easy to use and cheap. Simply make your call and the assistant will tell you the cost afterwards.

For direct domestic long distance calls (DDD), dial the domestic prefix '0' plus area code and the number. Rates are different according to the distance. For direct international calls (IDD), dial the international access code 00 plus country code plus area code and the number. International calls can be made direct from hotel rooms with IDD phones. Otherwise you should call 115 for the international operator. IDD calls have a one-minute minimum charge, operator-assisted calls a minimum three-minute charge. Hotels usually add a service charge. You can also make your call from the Post Office. Generally, you pay a RMB200 deposit and are told to go to a particular phone booth. When you are finished, a receipt will be issued and you pay at the desk. To make a reverse charge call you can dial the home country direct dial number (108), which puts you straight through to a local operator in your destination country.

Phone cards can be found everywhere, especially in major cities and in Post Offices. Today, the IC and IP cards are the most common and widely used. IC cards are credit card sized with a golden chip at the end of one side, in units of RMB30, RMB50 and RMB100, and can be used throughout China. IC telephones can be recognised by their yellow colour, the card slot, and the absence of a coin slot. There is a button on the IC telephone that can switch the machine to English language. The IP card is best value for overseas calls. These cards can be used only within they are purchased, although they can be bought on the street or at Post Offices across the country. For an international call, the cost is RMB4.80 per minute.To make a call, simply follow the instructions in English on the back of the card.

Below are several useful telephone numbers but most of the operators cannot speak English very well:

Police 110
Ambulance 120
Fire 119
Local directory 114
International operator 115
Weather 121