Background: Much biomedical research is now undertaken in China.
Methods: Five large biomedical databases originating from China (CBM, CMCC, CNKI, VIP and WANFANG) are described and their utility and accessibility investigated.
Results: These databases index 2500 journals largely not familiar to MEDLINE users. Free access, search features, record selection, ease of downloading and cost of subscription varies considerably between databases.
Conclusion: Searches in all databases benefit from the use of simplified Chinese and all provide links to full text articles. Less than 6% of the 2500 journals in the five databases were listed as being indexed for MEDLINE.