This study aimed to evaluate the performance of Cobas human papillomavirus (HPV) test in cervical cancer screening. A total of 3442 women aged ⩾20 years used Cobas HPV and hybrid capture 2 (HC2) tests were included in this study. Women with any positive result were examined by liquid-based cytology (LBC) test. Then subjects with abnormal LBC or positive Cobas HPV16/18 were further checked by colposcopy to observe the visible lesions to perform the pathological examination. Of these 3442 women, 328 cases were Cobas HPV positive, and the positive rate was 9.53% (95% confidence interval (CI) 8.50–10.53). The positive rate of HPV16, HPV18, and other 12 types of high-risk HPV were 1.54% (95% CI 1.12–1.95), 0.55% (95% CI 0.30–0.80), and 7.44% (95% CI 6.56–8.32), respectively. The coincidence rate of Cobas HPV test and HC2 test was 90% (95% CI 89.00–91.00; Kappa = 0.526) in the primary screening. Age had a non-linear relationship with Cobas HPV positive rate (χ2 = 4.240, P = 0.040) and HPV16/18 typing positive rate (χ2 = 6.610, P = 0.010). Compared with the LBC test, the Cobas HPV test had higher sensitivity when detecting patients with high cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN2+ and CIN3+).