welcome to Beijing Fact File of Beijing


Putonghua is the standard Chinese language throughout the country. However, different localities have different dialects. Although most tourist hotels employ staff fluent in foreign languages, foreigners might find it difficult to make themselves understood by people on the street and are thus suggested to have addresses or instructions written down in Chinese for taxi drivers or others. In addition, all major streets have signposts in pinyin-the Chinese system of phonetics, which the help of a map. Hundreds of millions of Chinese (especially young people) are now studying English.

They love to have the opportunity to practice their English with foreigners. Don't be afraid to ask for small favors (direction, etc.) from people on the street. You will usually be rewarded by a polite (and often heroic) attempt to help.

Credit Cards & Traveler's Cheques

In most large Chinese cities, most major credit cards-including American Express, Diner's Club, Federal Card, JCB, Master Card and Visa-are accepted at hotels and certain restaurants and stores. Also useful for regular visitors to China are cards issued by Chinese banks, such as the Great Wall, Peony, and Jinsui cards.

All international recognized traveler's cheques, in any currency, can be cashed at branches of Bank if China and money and restaurants.


If you're coming to China for travel, you should obtain a tourist visa from the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in your home country. It is more convenient for tourists book through Chinese travel agencies to get group visas for their visit to China. Tourist visas are usually valid for one month, but can be extended for an extra month at the Foreigners Section of the Public Security Bureau. If you want to continue traveling in China for more than two months, you will have to leave the country to get a new visa and come back. It is not too much trouble to go to Hong Kong and apply for a new visa. You will get a new one in two or three days.

It is advisable to carry your passport with you at all times, as you need it to register in hotels, buy plane tickets and change money. If you lose the passport, you should report immediately to your embassy, as well as tell the Public Security Bureau.

Taiwan compatriots can obtain visas from the Hong Kong Office of the China Travel Service and the Hong Kong Consulate of Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Those who come back to the mainland the United States, Japan and other countries can obtain travel visas from Chinese embassies and consulates.

Hong Kong and Macao residents should hold Re-entry Cards of Hong Kong and Macao compatriots travel or family visits to the mainland.

Overseas Chinese can enter China without visas. They can enter and leave China with valid passports or other ID cards issued by relevant departments of the Chinese government.


RMB (Renminbi) is the sole legitimate currency of the People's Republic of China. The basic unit of RMB is yuan (also known as kuai), which is divided into l0 jiao (or mao), which is again divided into 10 fen.

RMB paper notes include 1, 2, 5,10, 50, and 100 yuan, and the smaller 1, 2, and 5 mao. There are also 1 yuan; 1, 2, and 5 jiao and 1, 2, 5, fen coins, although these are not very common.

Money exchanges can usually be found at international airports, large hotels and tourist stores. The exchange rate fluctuates with international market conditions. You are suggested to keep the form you fill in when changing money, because it is necessary to show the form when you change RMB back to foreign currencies.

Most money exchanges open seven days a week from 9:00 to 17:00.

Money Transfer

With over 140 years's experience in money transfer, and more than 26,000 agents worldwide Western Union has joined forces with China Courier Service Corporation to offer instant money transfer services in eight major Chinese cities. Whenever customers want to send or receive instant cash, they can just drop by any Western Union agent in China or worldwide, and give their name and password for each transaction.

Business Hours

Offices in large Chinese cities generally open from 8:30-17:30, with a lunch break of about an hour. Government-stipulated workdays are from Monday to Friday.

Offices usually close on public holidays including New Year's Day on January 1, Spring Festival (the Chinese Lunar New Year), when most Chinese take four days off, International Labor Day on May 1, and National Day on October 1.

Business Cards

It is very popular to exchange business cards in China so be sure to bring a generous supply with you. If a considerable number of your contacts are Chinese, make sure your cards are in both English and Chinese (including your name and position in Chinese characters). Make sure that you understand and are happy with the meaning of both. Keeping cards you are given is an important step in building a network of contacts in China. They are also useful for showing addresses to taxi drivers.


Incoming passengers are allowed to bring with them, under temporary admission, one of each of the items listed below: Camera, portable tape-recorder, portable cinecamera, portable video-camera and portable computer. Passengers carrying personal items over this limit should declare accurately to the customs and fulfill all necessary customs formalities.

Radio and TV

Beijing's larger hotels have satellite dishes that can receive dozens of channels from all over the world. America's CNN, NHK from Japan and Star TV from Hong Kong are staples. Then there are many Chinese channels, China Central TV and Beijing TV. For a Chinese perspective, CCTV 2 and 4 as well as BTV 1 all have English news programs in the evening at 23:oo. There will be Zoo channels for international TV signal transmission by more than 8 submarine cables and 5 satellites in 2008.

China Radio International broadcasts to the world around the clock in 39 languages and four Chinese dialects. 91.5 Easy FM features 12 hours of English broadcasting and Western music. TV station also has news updates every hour on the hour for five minutes.


The English-language China Daily published seven days a week and Beijing Weekend publish every Friday are available in all leading hotels.

An informative English monthly is Beijing This Month, distributed free at the beginning of ever month at most star-rated hotels, the Capital International Airport and major universities. Business Beijing, the sister magazine of Beijing This Month, is also published around the 15th of each month.


There are 2.8 million Internet subscribers in Beijing, accounting for 12.4 percent of the country's total. The number of cellular phone subscribers was around 3.3 million by 2000. The figure will grow to 10 million in 2008.


Tipping is still largely unnecessary on the Chinese mainland. Except for occasional when your luggage boy helps you check into your hotel room, or when in some posh restrooms, the boy offers you a coat brush or a back "massage," you do not have to feel guilty leaving without tipping. But if you really want to express your gratitude, 2-5 yuan of small change is an adequate tip.

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