What's the difference between Visa and Residence Permit?
A visa is a certificate of authorization issued by the competent authority of a sovereign state to a foreigner who is allowed to enter the country. Aliens may enter other countries legally with valid passports and visas after being examined and approved by the port immigration administration agencies.
The Visa of the People's Republic of China is a permit issued by an authority of the Chinese government (usually it's Chinese embassy or consulate) in accordance with the laws and regulations of the country in which foreigners apply for entry, exit or transit. In accordance with bilateral agreements signed or reached between China and relevant countries, people from some countries who meet certain requirements can go to China without obtaining a visa.
A foreigner's residence permit in China is issued by the Exit and Entry Administration department of the public security bureau after the foreign enters China with a relevant visa. A residence permit holder may enter or exit Chia without a visa during its validity.
Foreigners whose visas indicate that they need to apply for residence permits after entry shall, within 30 days from the date of entry, apply from the Exit and Entry Administration Bureau in the places of intended residence.
In simple terms, a visa is a document for a foreigner to enter China, while a residence permit is a document for the foreigner to live in China, taking up residency (short-term/long term).