Three-hundred and seventy-six strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae isolated from clinical specimens and nasopharyngeal swabs from children at daycare centers and hospitals in Beijing China, between January 1997 and March 1998, were serotyped. Twenty-seven different serotypes were identified. The most prevalent serotypes in the carriage isolates were 6A, 19F, 23F, and 15 and were found in 66.8% of cases. Serotype data indicate that 51.8% of carrier strains would be included in the 11-valent conjugate vaccine formulation, while inclusion of vaccine-related serotypes, increased the potential vaccine coverage to 79.4%. Serotypes 7, 6B, 23F, 19F, 15, and 3 accounted for 62% of clinical strains, with 70% vaccine-related serotypes. DNA fingerprinting of 47 penicillin resistant and 71 penicillin-susceptible/macrolide-resistant strains by BOX polymerase chain reaction (PCR), pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and penicillin binding protein (PBP)-fingerprinting identified two novel clones: one a serotype 23F multiresistant clone resistant to penicillin, tetracycline, erythromycin, clindamycin, and variably resistant to chloramphenicol and trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole; and the second a multiresistant penicillin-susceptible, macrolide-resistant serotype 6A clone, highly resistant also to tetracycline, clindamycin, and trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole. The macrolide resistance determinant in 89% of erythromycin-resistant strains tested (penicillin-susceptible and penicillin-resistant) was the erm gene, both the erm and mef genes were simultaneously found in 6%, and mef alone in 3.4%. The data demonstrates that macrolide resistant strains in China include clonal strains and strains with dual mef and erm resistance determinants.