How Do I Use The Post Office?

city 2




Insight on China Post


In experience, using the postal service is one of the more frustrating experiences one can have in China. A lot of times it seems like their jobs are more to hinder people from using the postal service rather than to provide a service; although some times are much better than others. If you have a complicated task, and your Chinese is not up for it, it might be necessary to find someone to help you.


1. Go to your nearest China Post office (the ones with the green sign) in the morning (earlier the better) or between 2-3pm on a weekday. This way, you'll get a bit more attentive service. When it's busy, China Post is not a fun place to be if you don't speak/read Chinese.


2. You can pack your own box or you can use the boxing service provided. There are many box sizes to choose from (ranging from 2-10RMB) and they add crumpled newspaper as shock absorbers. If you are sending something fragile or valuable, perhaps box it yourself or over-see the person who is boxing your stuff.


3. The boxing assistant can also provide an address sticker to attach to the box. Writing the recipient country as well as your return address in Chinese plus a telephone number is a good idea.


4. If you are sending something internationally, tell the boxing assistant which country you are sending to. He/she can get the correct customs form, which should be bilingual. This is better than waiting in line to get the form. You might have to fill out 2 of these.


5. After you fill out the form(s) and everything is properly addressed and packaged, get in line at the service window. The clerk might ask if you want airmail (航空件 hángkōng jiàn). If you want it delivered within a week, then tell you do want airmail. You will be charged by weight and dimensions for your postage and the box (if you used their box services).


And be sure to bring cash as there are no credit card machines at China Post. For a basic estimate of postage costs, refer to this chart or call their English service hotline at +86 21 11185.


Price Comparison with other parcel services


FedEx, DHL, UPS, and TNT all offer more options for next day and priority delivery methods. For an estimate on price for those services, visit their websites for a quote. Each company's website also offers tracking services. The following quotes are based on a 5-7 day express delivery method for a 2KG package:


China Post/EMS 375RMB (English available)

You can also call +86 21 11185 for services in English


FedEx 455 RMB

For a rate quote in English, call 400 889 1888








Mailing a postcard: Pretty simple. The procedures are similar to everywhere else in the world. Drop it in the mailbox inside the post office. There is one slot for local mail and one slot for sending things outside the city. Next time I go to the post office, I will take note of what these two slots say. Postcards cost 4.5 kuai to send. You should probably learn how to say your country's name in Chinese, as you will need to communicate it to many people, including the postal worker selling you the stamps. Postcards that I have sent in the past have taken between 2-4 weeks to arrive in the U.S.


Mailing a letter: There are a couple of differences between China and the U.S. in the procedures for mailing a letter. First of all, in China, you write the destination address in the upper left corner of the envelope, below the six squares on the top of the envelope where the recipient's postal code is entered. Write the recipient's name in the middle of the envelope. Write your own address in the lower right corner of the envelope. The other difference is in how addresses are written in China. Just as in the Chinese language, moving from general to specific is important, so it is with writing the address. City first, district, street, building complex name, building number, door number and apartment number.


Here are some of the questions you will have to answer when mailing a letter or a package:


Express Mail (EMS)? (特快专递te4kuai4zhuan1di4) This option costs quite a bit. It is guaranteed to arrive within a week. Sending a letter to the U.S.A. using these service costs 181RMB. The cost of sending a package this route depends on the weight of the package and the destination. Good reason to plan ahead for holiday and birthday gifts.


Airmail or by sea: - Airmail usually arrives within a month. Sending by sea varies a lot. A package that I once sent to the U.S. using this route took four or five months to arrive.


Registered mail: If you register your mail, you can probably find it back again in the event that it does not arrive.


Insurance: You can have many types of insurance. Ask when you are there.


Prohibited Items: First of all, you should know what you will not be able to legally mail. I think they have regulations against sending DVD's and anything shaped like that, regardless of whether they are pirated or not. They would not let me send CD-ROMs with pictures for some friends of mine. No weapons either, which got me when I tried to send a Tibetan knife to my father for his birthday. You can't send liquids, which got me when I tried to replace the knife I bought my father with essential aromatic oils. Of course, biological and explosive materials are prohibited. The enforcement of all of these rules (with the exception of explosions, I'm sure) seems to depend on who is behind the counter.


Packaging: You must pack your package at the post office so that they can see what is in it. There is a special packaging counter, which should be easy to spot. They were never very satisfied with the packing materials that I brought along. The T-shirts that I was packing with were deemed not soft enough, necessitating purchase of their bubble wrap. I found this to be a tad fascist, so instead I hopped next door to buy some old newspapers, which they agreed to. Packing a package at the post office in standard material with your own newspaper will likely cost you between 2-5 RMB.


Mailing the package: You must fill out a couple of forms when you mail a package. If I remember quickly, the big white form has English and Chinese instructions, and the smaller green one has Chinese and French instructions that were not difficult to understand for me, a non-French speaker. This form simply asks you to list the content and prices of everything in the package. There are a few choices to make when mailing a package. S


Receiving mail: If you live on the campus of a school, you will probably be receiving your mail there. If you live in an apartment off-campus, you will probably be receiving your mail in a mailbox in the entrance to your building. Make sure your landlord provides you with a key for any lock on the mailbox. If there is no lock, you may want to consider adding one. If you receive a package, they will put a slip in your mailbox notifying you, and you must go to the post office to pick up the package. The post office where the package is being kept will be noted on the slip. You need to bring your passport with you. When instructing people about how to send you mail, there is no need to give them Chinese characters, as there are people at the post office to translate the address.


Chinese needed: Note: you can cut and paste Chinese as appropriate onto a card to communicate with a postal worker. Remember to include the answers to all anticipated questions. I'm interested to see if it will work.


I can't speak Chinese, please bear with me. 我不会说中文,请多多原谅。Wo3bu2hui4shuo1zhong1wen2, qing3duo1duo1yuan2liang4


I would like to send these postcards. Please sell me postcard stamps. 我寄这些明信片. 请卖给我邮票. Wo3ji4zhe4xie1ming2xin4pian4. qing3mai4gei3wo3you2piao4.


Please help me pack this package.请帮我包这个包裹. Qing3bang1wo3bao1zhe4ge0bao1guo3


I would like to send this package to _____. 我想把这个包裹寄到___. Wo3xiang3ba3zhe4ge0bao1guo3ji4dao4 [insert country you are sending package to].


I want to send this letter to _____. 我想把这封信寄到___. Wo3xiang3ba3zhe1feng1xin4ji4dao4_____.


I would like to buy stamps to send this letter. How much is it? 我想买邮票寄这封信. 多少钱? Wo3xiang3mai3you2piao4ji4zhe2feng1xin4. duo1shao3qian2?


特快专递te4kuai4zhuan1di4- express mail


航空 hang2kong1- by air


要挂号信yao4gua4hao4xin4  I want to send it registered mail


不要挂号信 bu2yao4gua4hao4xin4  I don't want registered mail.


要保险 yao4bao3xian3  I want insurance.


不要保险 bu2yao4bao3xian3  I don't want insurance


Thank you very much for your help.非常感谢您的帮助fei1chang2gan3xie4nin2de0bang1zhu4



China Post Official Introduction


China Post is the official postal service in China, offering both domestic and international mail and parcel services. With the rapid development of online shopping and international trade, more and more parcels and packages are transported by post from China to the whole world. Here, TCG introduces the international parcel services of China Post.


A parcel is usually delivered through the following three transport means:


AIR: a parcel is transported by air directly and received in 7 – 15 working days. It is fast and safe, but expensive.


SAL: short for Surface Air Lifted. Ships, buses, and trains are used within the sending and receiving countries, but air transport is used between countries. Land and sea transport are used if there are no flights. Usually it takes 15 – 20 working days. The cost is lower than air mail.


SURFACE: a parcel is transported via land and sea transport. It is cheap, but takes 40 – 70 working days.


China Post has the following services:


China Post Mail: including Small Parcel and Large Package services. Registered mail can be tracked through China Post Tracking system.


A Small Parcel is suitable for items weighing less than 2 kg. The total of the length, width and height of its outer package must not exceed 90 cm, and neither the length/width nor height must exceed 60 cm. A Small Parcel is very cheap, especially for international mail. It can reach almost everywhere in the world, as long as there is a post office. It is safe and can be tracked if registered. It takes 5 – 10 days to reach other Asian countries, 7 – 15 days to America and Europe, and 7 – 30 days to other countries. Air mail takes about 15 working days, SAL mail takes about 30 days, and surface mail takes one to two months. The tracking number of a small parcel usually begins with “R”, "P” or “V” and ends with “CN”.


Large Package is good for items between 2 – 30 kg in weight. A large package can be sent through Air, SAL or Surface mail, and it is economical, much cheaper than EMS, DHL and other express mail services. As it is operated by China post, a large package can reach anywhere that has a post office. Normally, a large package reaches American and European countries from China in 10 – 20 days, but a surface mail takes one to two months. The shipping time will be longer to other countries. The tracking number usually begins with “C” and ends with “CN”


EMS: Short for Express Mail Service, EMS is a global mail service operated by post offices of the whole world, and China Post is one of its operators. The maximum weight of an EMS parcel is 30 – 40 kg for different destinations. It is faster than China Post Mail, but much more expensive. An EMS parcel from China is usually promised to reach its destination country within 7 working days. Its tracking number begins with “E” and ends with “CN” and can be tracked through EMS tracking system.


Another service is China International Express, which is operated by Chinese EMS and TNT. It can reach more destinations than EMS, but the postage rate and weight limit are the same as EMS. The tracking number begins with "CT” and ends with “CN”, and can be tracked through EMS tracking system.



1. China Post is not the only postal service in China. Other postal services, such as TNT, DHL, Federal Express and UPS, are also available. China Post, however, is the most economical international postal service, although it is the slowest. After ordering an item from a Chinese supplier, you can choose any available postal service.


2. The postage is charged according to the size, weight, transportation means and different services. Normally, China Post Small Parcel is the cheapest and EMS is the most expensive. The international postal services are more expensive than EMS. The postage for an air mail is almost twice as much as surface mail.


3. The transit time is subject to change. Any delay could be caused by bad weather, customs check, inspection, invalid address or number, and so on. Therefore, the actual delivery time is usually longer than the promised time.


4. For online shoppers it is best to use legal and large postal services and it is better to pay or confirm the payment after you receive your parcels. In most cases, your parcel will not get lost. According to the statistics of a professional tracking website, it takes as long as 180 days and as short as 3 days for a parcel to reach its destination from China, and most parcels have been successfully delivered.


Small Parcels: 

Currently, most international small parcels (not exceeding 2 kg) are delivered by air and SAL mails. The postage is CNY 5 for the first 50g and the additional charge by each gram after the first 50g is different in the following nine destination groups: 



Each additional one gram after the first 50g (CNY)

Japan, South Korea, Kazakhstan


Austria, Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia


New Zealand,(Including the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau Islands), Australia, Hungary, Greece, Switzerland, Portugal, Norway, Romania, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Poland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Croatia, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia, Indonesia, Israel, Turkey, Cyprus, Azerbaijan


South Africa, USA, Canada, UK, Spain, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, France, Russia, Belarus, Estonia, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, India, Mongolia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Armenia, Bahrain, Pakistan, North Korea, Iraq, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Jordan,  Palestine, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Vietnam, Iran, Kuwait, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Brunei, Laos, the Philippines, Oman, Turkmenistan, Bhutan, Cambodia, Qatar, UAE, Tajikistan, Maldives, Yemen






Chile, Brazil, Peru


Iceland, Macedonia, Albania, Republic of Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Monaco, Andorra, San Marino, Vatican, the Faroe Islands


African countries and regions, the remaining countries and regions in South America


The postage rate of surface mail is CNY 7 up to 100g and CNY 4.5 for each additional 100g or part thereof.

Large Package:

China Post large packages can reach most countries or regions in the world that have post offices, but the postage rate is different based on different transportation means and distance. Here we have listed some examples. For more postage rate information, please consult your local post office or your Chinese suppliers.


Postage Rate for AIR Parcel (CNY)



Weight Limit (kg)

Rate for weight not over one kilogram

Each additional 1kg or part thereof

Rate for weight not over one kilogram

Each additional 1kg or part thereof

Rate for weight not over one kilogram

Each additional 1kg or part thereof

















































































































South Africa







































20 (30 for SAL)

The Philippines











































EMS and China International Express


Destination of EMS

Destination of China International Express

Postage Rate for weight not over 500g (CNY)

Each additional 500g (CNY)



Macao, Taiwan, Hong Kong




South Korea, North Korea, Japan

South Korea




Philippines, Cambodia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam

Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam




Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand

Japan, Brunei + EMS destinations








Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Finland, Canada, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Greece, Italy, UK

Fiji, Netherlands + EMS destinations




Pakistan, Laos, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Turkey, India

Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Greece, India, Gibraltar




Argentina, UAE, Panama, Brazil, Belarus, Poland, Russia, Colombia, Cuba, Guyana, Czech, Peru, Mexico, Ukraine Hungary, Israel, Jordan

Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, UAE, Oman, Egypt, Most South American countries and regions




Major destinations in Africa

The remaining countries and regions in Asia, South America and Africa




 Note: Merchandise within 500g is charged as documents.

EUB Postage Rate: 

EUB parcels (weight limit: 2kg) are available to USA, UK and Australia, and the postage rates are different. 

To USA: Parcels from major cities in China such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xian, Chengdu, Foshan, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, etc.: CNY 11.8 within 60g, and CNY 0.08 for each additional 1g. 

To UK: The postage includes a handling fee of CNY 25 each piece and the shipping rate of CNY 0.07 each gram. If parcel weighs 50g, the postage is CNY 25 + CNY0.07×50 = CNY 28.5 

To Australia: EUB parcels cannot reach the following regions: Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, Coco (keeling) Island, and Antarctica. Parcels within 500g is charged handling fee of CNY25 each piece and CNY 0.08 each gram. A 300g parcel costs CNY 25 + CNY 0.08×300 = CNY 49. Parcels over 500g up to 2kg, the handling fee is CNY 30 each piece and CNY 0.08 each gram. A 600g parcel costs CNY 30 + CNY 0.08×600 = CNY 78



Logistics and EMS Hotline: 11183


Next Morning Delivery: Next Morning Delivery is a premium product provided by China Postal Express & Logistics by reallocating resources and making full use of “Overnight Flight” network. It consists of “Regional Next Morning Delivery” and “Trans-regional Next Morning Delivery. Shipment Dimension: Letter and parcel shipments less than 30 KG in Guangzhou Shenzhen Dongguan Zhuhai Zhongshan Jiangmen Foshan Huizhou Qingyuan Zhaoqing Shaoguan Yangjiang, and less than 5 KG in other areas. 

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