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Useful information for Living in China

The voltage is 220V, but the pins in the plugs are (mostly) arranged differently. An international adaptor can be bought easily, though they're a good deal easier to find in the airport before you leave than on the ground after you arrive. This is especially important for those taking their laptops into China.

Videos are PAL, also like the UK, but most Chinese don't watch them. They do watch VCDs (Video CD), a cheap player is about £40, and the films about 50p, which can be brought back and watched. China is a different DVD region to the UK, though, so only buy DVDs if you have a multi-region player or you're going to watch them on your laptop and know how to change the preferences.

Mobile Phones
A more satisfactory solution is to use a local provider: it is easy to buy a SIM card and substitute that for your regular SIM card.Most companies offer pay-as-you-go plans, and it's fairly cheap, though you do have to pay for incoming calls. Top-up cards are widely available, from convenience stores, grocery stores and anywhere with an assortment of telephone cards in a plastic wallet hanging outside.

Telephone, Telegram and Fax

China is increasingly reliant on optical cables and is extending its use of ground satellite communication stations. Pagers and mobile telephones cover main cities.

China's phone system runs smoothly. Direct long-distance dials (DDD) and International calls (IDD) can be made from hotel rooms or roadside telephone kiosks. When making a domestic call, visitors should dial the domestic prefix 0 plus area code and the number. When make an international call, just dial the international prefix 00, plus country code, area code and number.

IDD calls have a six-second minimum charge, the rate is 0.80 yuan per six second. All long distance phone made between 21:00 and 07:00 the next morning only need pay half the daytime price.

In hotels, local calls are generally free or only charged a nominal fee while domestic long-distance and international calls will be charged a variable service fee ranging from 10 to 20 percent.

In some large cities, you can now buy IP phone cards which can save you money. Telegram, fax and telex facilities are available in hotels, post offices and telecommunication centers.