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Climate and Weather

China - Climate and Weather

The climate and weather in China varies depending on which part of the country you are in. Some seasons are more extreme than others, and the level of that extremity will vary depending on which city you are in. As you plan your next trip to China, here is what you should know about climate and weather in the country.


China has six different climate zones: cold temperate, mid-temperate, warm temperate, subtropical, tropical and plateau. The Province of Heilongjiang and the inner parts of Mongolia are classified as cold temperate zones. Northern Xinjiang, Jilin and Liaoning are the mid-temperate zones, as are some inner parts of Mongolia.

Warm temperate zones include Shandong, Hebei Province, Shaanxi and Shanxi. The eastern side of Qinghai-Tibet and the Southern part of Qinling Mountain stretching towards the Huaihe River experience a subtropical climate. Full tropical climate can be experienced in southern parts of Taiwan, the entire Guangdong area, and the provinces of Hainan and Yunnan. The area between Qinghai and Tibet is the only region that has a plateaued climate zone. However, these areas also occasionally experience subtropical climate during certain times of the year.

Rainy Season

China experiences precipitation throughout the year. The southeastern parts of the country receive more rainfall than the north-west parts, thanks to summer monsoons blowing from the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

The rainy season lasts from May to December, with towns like Huoshaoliao in Taipei experiencing precipitation levels of 6000mm. Due to the consistency of the monsoon rains, the Chinese have learned to differentiate parts of the country based on the levels of precipitation experienced in those areas. The southeastern parts have the wet areas and semi-wet areas. Travel to the northwest, and you are welcomed by semi-dry or completely dry areas.

Monsoon Winds

Monsoon winds show up during summer, carrying rain with them. These winds blow into the mainland from the southeast and the southwest regions. The Southeast monsoon winds blow from the western side of the Pacific Ocean, while the southwest monsoon winds blow from the equatorial zone of the Indian Ocean.

Around April through to May, Monsoon winds reach the southern provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan. The winds then travel to the north from the south, sparking the season of plums, termed the ‘plum rain’ by the local people. The rest of Northern China receives these rainy winds towards the end of August. Only the northwest region of China is a non-monsoon region.

Weather In Chinese Cities

In China, the location of a city determines the kind of climate and weather it experiences all year. Cities such as Beijing and Shanghai are on the same level of economic development, although they experience completely different weather conditions.


Beijing goes through the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. Springs lasts from April to June. Temperatures oscillate from 11°C to 20°C as the monsoon winds blow into the city with increased intensity. Spring weather is mild, making this season one of the best times to visit Beijing.

Summer occurs between June and August. Summers in Beijing are very hot, with temperatures starting at 24°C and potentially reaching a scorching 40°C. Average humidity is also high during summer, so tourists are advised to dress lightly. Despite the heat, summer in Beijing is the best time to explore the rural parts of China and some of the parks within the city. Most public places including restaurants, subways and hotels have ample air conditioning to ensure your comfort during the hot season.

The autumn season starts from September through to October. At the beginning of the season, the weather is relatively mild, with a high expectation of rainfall. Autumn is considered the most beautiful season in Beijing. Plants and flowers bloom in autumn, turning the city picturesque, while farmers in the rural areas will enjoy a bountiful harvest. The average temperature is a pleasant 25°C. However, do not forget to carry a few warm and rainproof clothes for when the rainy weather strikes.

The winter season starts in November. By the end of the year, the weather in Beijing will have hit sub-zero levels. It is extremely cold at this time, so it is advisable to pack as many warm clothes as possible.


Like Beijing, Shanghai also experiences four distinct seasons. Generally, spring is pleasantly warm, summers are hot and rainy, autumn a bit cool, but comfortable, while winter gets chilly.

Spring in Shanghai starts in March and ends in May. This is the best time to visit Shanghai, as flowers and trees are blooming, giving the city a beautiful backdrop. The average temperature is 20°C, and you might experience light showers during the day. For tourists traveling to Shanghai during spring, carry light, warm clothes as the weather is mild.

Towards the end of May and at the start of June, Shanghai ushers in the summer season. By August, the light showers of spring will have escalated to heavy downpours. The atmosphere is filled with humidity, and temperatures can reach a maximum of 40°C. Summers are ideal for light clothes, with a few warm clothes for the rain. Pack your best swimwear and your umbrella. You might experience both rain and strong typhoons!

Autumn in Shanghai covers October and November. The heavy rains of summer will have subsided, leaving behind a pleasantly blossoming city with glowing shades of amber and crimson. Temperatures drop to 17°C during the day, making it perfect for a stroll in the park or exploring the attractions of the city. As night falls, it becomes relatively chilly, but this is nothing a light warm sweater would not combat. You may also need a waterproof coat or umbrella just in case it rains.

By winter, temperatures in Shanghai drop to 1°C. Fortunately, the cold weather doesn’t stick around for very long, so it doesn’t usually snow. However, the atmosphere remains highly humid, amplifying the intensity of the cold. Make sure you pack your warmest clothes for this season.

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Expat Health Insurance Partners

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