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Common Problems with China Virtual Numbers (and How to Solve Them)

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For nearly 20 years, AVOXI has been providing VoIP number services in countries around the world. In recent years, we’ve seen the demand for China VoIP numbers explode. We’ve also seen countless businesses frustrated when they realize how difficult it can be to find reliable VoIP phone numbers in China.

What frustrates our customers frustrates us. Like companies in every industry, we see amazing growth opportunity in China. So, we made it a priority to solve these problems. The most common issues we hear about China's VoIP services usually revolve around:

  • VoIP regulations.
  • Mobile-accessibility.
  • Long setup times.
  • Local number availability and limitations.
  • Number porting.

Let’s take a closer look at these common problems and how to solve them.

Which Types of VoIP Numbers are Available in China?

Before we examine common problems, let’s make sure you understand the three types of China VoIP numbers you can choose from.

  1. Local China Numbers: Also known as DID (direct inward dialing) numbers. These are VoIP numbers with local area codes. They can be used for local and international call forwarding. When dialing a China local numbers, callers are charged local call rates. View our China local number page.
  2. China 800 Numbers (Toll Free): These numbers are the traditional toll free number format in China. 800 numbers in China have many unusual limitations, which we cover below. View our China toll free page.
  3. China 400 Numbers: The popular alternative to China 800 numbers. China 400 numbers are shared-cost, meaning the caller pays local rates for talk time. However, 400 numbers are commonly referred to as toll free in China. View our China 400 number page.

Now, on to the most common problems we see.

1. China's VoIP Regulations

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued a ban on certain types of VoIP services years ago. China only allows VoIP providers to operate in the country if the state owns a majority of the company. This makes it difficult for new VoIP providers to enter the market and limits competition for reliable service at competitive rates.


Despite a complex regulatory environment, Chinese VoIP providers have made some progress. In recent years, AVOXI has observed an improvement in overall VoIP call quality and willingness to partner with international providers from China. Local number coverage is still challenging to obtain in many cities outside of Bejing. China 400 service is the most common services available from VoIP providers in China. Today, we’ve cemented direct partnerships with licensed carriers in China and established a data center in Hong Kong in an effort to improve call quality and consistency. As more providers continue to build infrastructure in Asia, you can expect service reliability to improve.

2. Mobile Accessibility (Toll Free)

For years, coverage restrictions associated with China toll free numbers frustrated companies and consumers. Traditional 800 numbers in China are not mobile-accessible, meaning that they can only be reached by landline callers. In addition, a single China 800 number cannot be dialed from the entire country. It takes two 800 numbers - one for northern China and one for southern China - to be reached from the entire country.


China 400 numbers are the favored substitute to 800 toll free numbers. A single 400 number can be reached from landline and mobile devices anywhere in mainland China. 400 numbers are shared-cost, meaning callers only pay local call rates.

3. Delays Caused by Registration

China is one of the few countries that requires documentation from all companies with a phone number in the country. While you don't need a physical location in China to get a virtual number, you need to provide a copy of your passport or company registration and a utility bill as proof of address. Providers can not normally keep Chinese numbers in stock, meaning that your virtual number would not even be ordered until your documentation is approved. This delay causes frustrations for many customers trying to expand in China.


Thanks to our relationship with local Chinese carriers, AVOXI is able to maintain China VoIP numbers in our inventory. This drastically reduces the time it takes to set up numbers for our customers. As soon as your documentation is approved, AVOXI provides China VoIP numbers in 48 hours or less.

4. China Local Number Issues

China's VoIP restrictions make it difficult to set up local numbers in most cities. It is less difficult than it used to be to set up a local number in China, but call quality issues are common. Your local number options are normally limited to Shanghai or Beijing. In addition, most services provide local numbers with a two-channel cap. This means your local number cannot support simultaneous calls at the same time.


Our interconnections with established carriers allow us to work around these common problems. AVOXI offers China local numbers from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. Today, we only provide China local numbers with no channel limitations, solving the issues around simultaneous calling. In addition, we recently expanded our global infrastructure to Hong Kong. This ensures maximum uptime and call quality for our customers routing calls through the Asia-Pacific region.

5. China Number Portability

China's roll-out of number portability still lingers far behind most modern economies. Even mobile users are still unable to port their numbers between local networks in China. If you want to change service providers in China, you will have to cancel your number and buy a new different number from your new provider.


Unfortunately, this is one headache that doesn’t have a remedy yet. This is why it is important to set up your Chinese business number with a reputable provider from the beginning. Make sure you use a provider that allows you to test their service for a meaningful period of time before signing any long-term contract or advertising a new number. If you already set up your number and want to change providers, you’ll have to get a new virtual number.

Get the Best Out of Your Chinese VoIP Service

We’re excited about the future of the Chinese VoIP industry. The country shows amazing potential to grow as it adopts new technologies. Despite a difficult regulatory environment, VoIP services in China have come a long way from where they were just 15 years ago. In the meantime, we hope we've helped you find answers to your questions here.

Interested in a China VoIP Number from AVOXI?

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Set up your China VoIP phone numbers online. After you're done, you'll receive an AVOXI Core guide and a specialist will contact you and ensure your service is working according to your preferences.

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