Anaemia is a global public health problem affecting women worldwide, and reproductive-age women are at increased risk. We conducted a population-based cross-sectional study analysing the prevalence of overall anaemia and anaemia according to severity in Chinese pre-pregnant women to update current knowledge on anaemia epidemiology. Based on the National Free Preconception Check-up Projects supported by the Chinese government, 5 679 782 women participating in this project in 2017 were included in the present study. The cyanmethemoglobin method was applied to assess Hb concentrations. Univariate and multivariate logistic regressions were applied for associated factors. The prevalence of anaemia among Chinese pre-pregnant women was 21·64 % (mild: 14·10 %, moderate: 7·17 % and severe : 0·37 %). The prevalence of overall and severe anaemia was the highest in Tibet and the lowest in Beijing among thirty-one provinces. Women’s age, region, ethnic origin, educational level, occupation and pregnancy history were all correlated with anaemia. Women with B blood type (adjusted OR (aOR) = 0·89), higher BMI (overweight: aOR = 0·84; obesity: aOR = 0·70) and alcohol consumption (aOR = 0·69) were less likely to have anaemia, while those with rhesus negative blood type (aOR = 1·10), history of anaemia (aOR = 2·60), older age at menarche (aOR = 1·19), heavy menstrual blood loss (aOR = 1·39), longer menstrual period (aOR = 1·09) and shorter menstrual cycle (aOR = 1·08) were more likely to suffer from anaemia. Meat or egg eaters were not significantly associated with severe anaemia. Anaemia is of moderate public health significance among Chinese pre-pregnant women. Interventions should be considered to prevent anaemia to the greatest extent possible to avoid potential harm in this population.