Its extensive territory means that the weather in China differs between regions. With the Himalayas in the west, the Gobi Desert in the north and pervasive city smog in a country spanning two major ecozones, it follows that there is a vast degree of variation in China’s climate, which ranges from sub-arctic to tropical.
Roughly speaking, China can be divided into five climatic zones from south to north: tropical, subtropical, temperate, medium temperate and sub-arctic.
South China, with cities such as Guangzhou and Hong Kong, generally has hot and humid summers with frequent rains, and high temperatures of above 86°F (30°C). Winter temperatures range from mild to warm and experience lighter rains and lower levels of humidity.
Cities such as Shanghai in the east are affected by ocean currents and monsoons, experiencing humid and rainy summers, and cold winters with light rain and occasional snow.
Central China is popular with tourists for its natural beauty and the ancient attractions in cities such as Wuhan. It has year-round precipitation, distinctive seasons and relatively warm temperatures throughout much of the year, with occasional light snow in winter, and summer monsoons.
Western China, spanning a large region ranging from desert plateaus to mountainous Tibet, is known for its geographic diversity. As a whole, winters in the region are dry and cold while some areas experience scorching summers and others are milder.
Northern China, which most notably contains Beijing, is known for winters that are progressively colder the further north one goes, with some of the lowest temperatures in the country. Summers are often warm, with high levels of rainfall and humid conditions.
►Learn about adjusting to life in this Asian country in Culture Shock in China
Are you an expat living in China?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to China. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
GeoBlue is one of the best international health insurance plans for US expats abroad or internationals residing in the USA. The GeoBlue Xplorer plan includes worldwide coverage and great customer service with access to a premium international network of hospitals and doctors including the Blue Cross Blue Shield network in the USA.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.