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PRC Standards System: standards Used in China

Standards System

Chinese standards may be either mandatory or voluntary. Mandatory standards [1] have the force of law as do other technical regulations in China. They are enforced by laws and administrative regulations and concern the protection of human health, personal property and safety. All standards that fall outside of these characteristics are considered voluntary standards.

four levels of Chinese standards

There are four levels of Chinese standards. The most widely implemented are the

These levels are hierarchical, so that Local Standards supersede Enterprise Standards, Professional Standards supersede Local Standards, etc. For any given product or service, only one type of Chinese standard will apply.

National Standards

National Standards are often referred to as “GB standards”. They are consistent across all of China and are developed for technical requirements. As of 2006, there were a total of 21,410 Chinese national GB standards, among which approximately 15% were mandatory, and 85% voluntary [2]. Chinese national GB standards can be identified as mandatory or voluntary by their prefix code, as indicated below:

Code Content
GB Mandatory National Standards
GB/T Voluntary National Standards
GB/Z National Guiding Technical Documents

Many Chinese national GB standards are adoptions from ISO, IEC or other international standards developers. (As of 2006, nearly half of all Chinese national GB standards were adoptions of international standards and “advanced foreign standards”.) China has also expressed a goal of significantly increasing the number of standards that are adoptions of international or advanced foreign standards. [3] The database of Chinese national GB standards provides information on which standards have been adopted.

Professional Standards

Professional Standards are often referred to as “Industry Standards”. They are developed and applied when no National GB Standard exists, but where a unified technical requirement is needed for a specific industry sector in China. Professional standards are coded by industry sector. The codes of mandatory standards are shown in the following table, and the codes of voluntary standards have "/T" added after the mandatory codes. For example, the code for agricultural voluntary standards is "NY/T".

Code Content
BB Packaging
CB Ship
CH Surveying
CJ Urban construction
CY Press and publication
DA Archives
DB Earthquake
DL Power
DZ Geology mineral
EJ Nuclear industry
FZ Textiles
GA Public security
GY Radio, film & TV
HB Aviation
HG Chemical Industry
HJ Environmental Protection
HS Customs
HY Ocean
JB Machinery
JC Building materials
JG Construction industry
JR Finance
JT Communication
JY Education
LB Tourism
LD Labor and labor safety
LY Forestry
MH Civil aviation
MT Coal
Code Content
MZ Civil affairs
NY Agriculture
QB Light industry
QC Automobiles
QJ Space
QX Meteorology
SB Commerce
SC Water product
SH Petrol chemical industry
SJ Electronics
SL Water resources
SN Commodity inspection
SY Petroleum gas
SY(>10000) Oceanic petroleum gas
TB Railways transportation
TD Land administration
TY Sport
WB Goods
WH Culture
WJ Civil products from arms industry
WM Foreign trade
WS Hygiene
XB Rare earth
YB Ferrous metallurgy
YC Tobacco
YD Telecommunication
YS Non-ferrous metallurgy
YY Medicine
YZ Posts

Local Standards

Local standards are often referred to as “Provincial Standards”. They are developed when neither National Standards nor Professional Standards are available, but unified requirements for safety and hygiene of industrial products are needed within a local area. Local Standards are delineated with either “DB + *” (mandatory) or “DB + */T” (voluntary). The codes for local standards are shown below. The * represents the province code as defined by the ISO 3166-2:CN and GB 2260/T, so a local voluntary standard in Sichuan Province would be DB + 51/T.

Code Content
DB + * Mandatory local standards
DB + */T Voluntary local standards

Enterprise Standards

Enterprise Standards may be developed and/or used by an individual company in China in cases where National Standards, Professional Standards and Local Standards aren't available. However, companies doing business in China are encouraged to use/adopt National Standards, Professional Standards and Local Standards if they are available.

The formula for determining an enterprise standards code is below, where the * represents the Enterprise code.

Code Content
Q + * Enterprise standards


[1] In China, many technical regulations are developed under the Chinese standards system and are referred to as “mandatory standards”. In addition to Chinese mandatory standards, individual Chinese agencies also develop regulatory requirements outside of the Chinese standards system.



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