SMS in China: What You Need to Know [2024]

April 9, 2024 | By Sam Pelton
 Cartoon representation of someone texting and a Chinese flag in the background

Wanting to send SMS in China for your business or organization?

Here’s what you need to know…

SMS in China Specifications

    • When inputting Chinese phone numbers, the country code +86 must be appended to the beginning.
    • The specific telephone number is entered after the country code.
    • Alphanumeric IDs are not supported.
    • Messages will be sent via longcode on the Mobile Text Alerts platform.
    • Pre-registration is highly recommended.
    • Contact us to initiate the pre-registration process.
  • MMS: Not supported.
  • COST: $0.05 per message
    • You can send SMS at $.05/message through Mobile Text Alerts.
    • A message is counted as 160 characters or less.
    • Each individual recipient is counted as a separate message (i.e., a message sent to 1,000 recipients would count as 1,000 messages).

SMS in China Compliance

What compliance considerations should you take into account when sending SMS in China?

In order to have the best chance of successful message delivery, here’s what you should follow…

General Compliance

  • All messages should include your company name after the message content.
  • All messages should contain opt-out instructions.

Marketing vs. Transactional

  • Marketing messages can only be sent if the recipient explicitly opted in to receive those marketing messages.
  • Marketing messages cannot be sent after or before business hours.
  • Transactional messages don’t require explicit opt-in but do require an existing business relationship.

Daily Limits

  • You should send a maximum of 6 messages to a recipient within 1 day.
  • You should send a maximum of 3 identical messages to a recipient within 1 day.

Content Considerations

Per Salesforce, you should refrain from sending messages pertaining to any of the following:

  • Sexual content
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Politics
  • Promotion of illegal products

Why Send SMS in China?

Although WeChat is the dominant messaging method in China, over 1.2 trillion SMS are sent in China each year.

That’s a lot of text messages!

It’s safe to say that millions of people text in China, making SMS an open opportunity to contact people who live there.

SMS therefore gives you a way to cut through the noise and reach people in a way that they’re more likely to pay attention to compared to, say, an email or a social media post.

Texting also gives people a written record of what was said, which can be good for easy recall and reference.

Bar graph showing sms trends in China

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According to Statista, SMS saw a spike in China in 2019 and has continued to see relatively steady numbers in the past several years.

Based on these numbers, there is reason to believe that SMS usage will remain fairly static in the upcoming years.

How to Send SMS in China

To send business SMS in China if you’re not in China, you can use an SMS platform or API such as Mobile Text Alerts.

Through Mobile Text Alerts, you’re able to manage your database of Chinese contacts and easily send text messages whenever needed, either from the online platform, from the mobile app, or automatically via API.

Get a free SMS platform trial and see how it works (you can contact sales to get some free international messaging credits to test sending to China).

Get a Free 14-Day Trial Account

Start sending mass text messages to your entire list today!