In this study, a fast, selective and sensitive ultra-performance liquid chromatographic method (UPLC) with photodiode array detection (DAD) was developed to determine 12 active compounds, such as flavonoids, ferulic acid, caffeic acid phenethyl ester, etc. in propolis. The propolis sample was diluted with methanol and extracted by sonication. The gradient separation was achieved within 9.5 min by using an Acquity BEH C18 column (100 mm x 2.1 mm, 1.7 microm) with 0.4% phosphoric acid aqueous solution and methanol as the mobile phase. The experimental parameters were optimized and adapted to analyse propolis samples from different production areas in China. The spiked recoveries were 90.1% - 104.3% with relative standard deviations of 2.12% -4.90%. This method can be used as a novel method for quality control of propolis. The results are validated through testing 106 propolis samples from various production areas.