How to save money on overseas calls from China?

Call your grand-mother without worrying about the phone bill!

Call your grand-mother without worrying about the phone bill!


Living in a foreign country, it is not always easy to keep in touch with your friends and family – in particular when your parents / grand-parents have not adopted internet and/or smartphones. We are sharing here some tips to help you to save on your phone bill when giving overseas calls from China.

1) IP service for international and long distance calls for Chinese telecommunication service providers

Telecommunication service providers offer an IP service for international and long-distance calls. You should first dial the extension then enter the country code (00XX) then the full phone number. We recommend that you even save the overseas phone numbers you frequently dial with the IP service number: you will not forget to use the IP #. The savings can be up to 70%! Worth to use it, right?

  • China Telecom: dial 17900 / 17901 
    • Rates from Beijing can be found here It costs from 2.6 to 15 RMB per minute depending on the country you are calling.
  • China Mobile: dial 17951 (international calls) / 12593
    • Rates can be found here:  International calls cost 6.88 yuan / minute without the IP service number. Rates with the IP service number depend on country: 0.69 for neighbour countries (Macau, China, China Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Vietnam), 1.69 RMB / minute for the country group #1 (Britain, France, Germany, Australia, Denmark, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Egypt, Finland, Greece, Indonesia, Argentina, Austria, Brunei, Colombia, Czech Republic, Israel, Italy, the Vatican, Kazakhstan, Laos, Mongolia, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, St. Maarten) and 2.99 RMB / minute for other countries.
  • China Unicom: 17910 / 17911


Many VOIP, available both on your computer and/or on your smartphone and tablet, can be used from China to call overseas. The only challenge when using those VOIP in China is the stability of the internet connexion! Only to mention some of them

  • VOIP CALLSSkype: share pictures, heavy files, video message or text message, as well as give voice-to-voice or video calls, even participate to a video conference (multiple users). You can do almost everything with Skype, as long as you internet connexion is stable!
  • Viber: if sending pictures, messages or videos is quite reliable, the quality of the voice-to-voice calls is not always there.
  • Whatsapp: popular for sending text messages and pictures.
  • Tango: for video or audio calls
  • Wechat: Living in China, you can’t ignore this application, used by millions of Chinese people. However it is not yet popular in Western countries and you may have to push your relations to install the application developed by Tecent. It is not only a social network application, you can also send text messages, audio messages as well as give audio or video calls.
  • Google:  you must have a VPN to use it.


Now you can have long chat with your love ones, another way to say that you can give international phone calls with less worries for the phone bill.
If you have any issues with your internet connexion, as part of its after-sales service, Scout Real Estate will help its customers to solve internet connexions issues and / or to settle for you the fastest connexion speed you can have in your residence compound.

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About Marketing

I am living in China since 2007. I am sharing my experiences for other expatriates to make their stay in Beijing more enjoyable. As I am writing this blog for SCOUT Real Estate agency, I am also computing updates about the Real Estate market in Beijing, not only on residential properties, but as well on commercial locals and offices. Hope you enjoy your reading!