The primary needs for climate services in China, in the form of climate information for decision-making, are to better prepare for and manage meteorological-related disasters, adaptation to climate change, and sustainable development. In this paper, the vision, structure, content and governance of the China Framework for Climate Services, which is designed to respond to these primary needs, is described. This paper reflects on practice, lessons and experience developing and delivering climate services in China for disaster risk reduction, agriculture, water, energy, urbanization and major engineering projects. Four key aspects of successful climate services are highlighted: the transition of climate research to operational climate services; delivering relevant, tailored and usable climate information; effective engagement between users and providers of climate services; and building interdisciplinary professional teams. Key challenges and opportunities for climate services are recognized in this paper: a growing gap between climate science and services capability and societal need; a lack of awareness in user communities of the climate service value for their activities; and the important need for closer and more meaningful interactions between users and providers of climate services. Finally, the delivery and uptake of high-quality, relevant, usable and effective climate services will facilitate climate-smart decisions that will reduce climate risks and improve Chinese societal resilience.