Life expectancy in China has increased. This paper explores the age when older adults (aged 60 and above) consider themselves to be an ‘older person’ and how age-related loss of resources (five dimensions: early cumulative factors, decline and loss of health resources, reduction and loss of economic resources, weakening and loss of social support resources, and personal role transition and experiences of losing family members) could impact their perceived old age. Using two waves of data from the China Longitudinal Ageing Social Survey (CLASS) in 2014 and 2016 (6,244 participants in 2014 and 2,989 participants in both 2014 and 2016), we found that the mean perceived old age is around 70 years at baseline (2014). Higher level of educational attainment and occupational types (early cumulative factors), better health condition, receiving support from friends and taking care of grandchildren are significantly associated with the perception that old age begins at an older age at baseline, while being Han-Chinese, being an urban resident (early cumulative factors) and reporting better health condition have significant positive effects on the perception that old age begins at an older age in the later wave. Our findings suggest that the age standard of older adults should be adjusted dynamically in response to social development and longevity, and also highlight the importance of early cumulative factors in shaping the ageing process besides age-related factors.