National cancer incidence data were utilized to analyze trends in esophageal cancer incidence in China in orderto provide basic information for making cancer control strategy. We retrieved and re-sorted valid esophagealcancer incidence data from National Central Cancer Registry Database over 20 years period from 1989 to 2008.Crude incidence and age-standardized incidence rates were calculated for analysis, with annual percent changeestimated by Joinpoint software for long term trend analysis. The crude incidence rate of esophageal cancer wasfound to have remained relatively stable in both urban and rural areas over the 20 year period. Age standardizedincidence rate (ASR) in cancer registration areas decreased from 39.5/100,000 in 1989 to 23.0/100,000 in 2008 inall areas (AAPC=-3.3%, 95% CI:-2.8~-3.7). The trend was no change in urban areas and 2.1% average annualdecrease observed in rural aras. Before the year of 2000, esophageal cancer incidence rates significant decreasedwith 2.8% annually and then the rates kept stable. Over 20 years from 1989 to 2008, esophageal cancer agestandardized incidence rate in cancer registration areas decreased with time. However, esophageal cancer is stilla big issue and efforts for control should be continuously enhanced. Cancer registration is playing an importantrole in cancer control with the number of registries increasing and data quality improving in China.