What is Beijing Time?

China is a vast country with both official and unofficial time zones.


The time zone that China is currently using is the China Standard Time (CST). Its standard is UTC+08:00 which makes it ahead of the Coordinate Universal Time by eight hours. The time is officially referred to as Beijing Time with the feature of not having daylight saving since 1991. China spans five time zones irrespective of the fact that it has single universal time offset.

History of Beijing Time

When the time announcement began in the 1880's, the Shanghai Mean Solar Time was used. During that period, the official time announcement changed to GMT+8 while the universal time in China did not change until the year 1913. The Beijing Local Mean Solar came into use in 1914. Later, in 1928, the time announcement changed to the traditional calendar of China.

After eleven years, the country shifted to the GMT+7 time offset which underwent a refined process leading to the adoption of the time system used in Beijing. The time offset that Beijing used was GMT+8. There were two regions that did not adopt Beijing Time: the Community Party of Tibet and Xinjiang.

Special Regulations of Time

After the adoption of the Beijing Time, there are certain rules which govern the standard time system in some regions. Areas such as Xinjiang use both the Beijing and Xinjiang Times simultaneously. The time setting used in this area is two hours behind the CST, and it corresponds to its geographical location, the furthest end of the western China. Moreover, the areas surrounding this area share the same time offset, the Xinjiang Time. Some of these nearby areas include the Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

The existence of two time zones in one geographical region is quite confusing to residents. As a result, inter-racial communication becomes difficult since the communicating parties must always clarify the time zones they are using every time they mention the time. Without the clarification, it will not be possible to distinguish between the two time zones.

Another region using its time system is Hong Kong. The area began using the Hong Kong Time (UTC+08:00) in 1997 following the transfer of sovereignty. The Hong Kong Time has lacked daylight savings since 1979. The original time system of this region adopted the astronomical observations but in 1904 it took the Greenwich Mean Time.

Macau also began using its system of time in 1999 after getting power. The time system has lacked daylight savings since 1980. The time offset of the region is UTC+08:00 for all the times throughout the year.


The China Standard Time (CST) is the single time zone used in China and is referred to as Beijing Time in the country. However, some regions in China such as the Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Macau unofficially use different local time zones corresponding to their geographical locations.

More in Society