This paper examines the factors affecting the receipt of informal care among older people in China. It uses the second wave data of the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Survey, which collected ageing and health-related information on a nationally representative sample of 8,906 older people aged 60 and over in 2013. Apart from the factors that have been examined in the contexts of developed countries, the paper further investigates two factors specific to Chinese society: rural–urban residence and regular financial assistance from children. Based on binary and multinomial logit regression analyses, the research findings are threefold: the determinants of receiving informal care differ remarkably according to the sources of care; disability and living arrangements are the most important determinants; rural–urban residence plays a vital role in the Chinese context, but regular financial assistance from children makes little difference. It is estimated that 53 million older people are receiving informal care each year, a figure equivalent to the entire population of England. With continuous population ageing, Chinese society will face huge pressure to meet the demand for social care among older people in the future. The Chinese government needs to build a well-rounded welfare system that tackles this challenge from multiple dimensions. The formal care services should aim to complement informal care in the short run and reduce inequality in social care in the long run.