Viral hepatitis is a major public health concern in China, but data on national epidemiological characteristics are lacking. We collected reporting incidence data on hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections in China from 2004 to 2014. Empirical mode decomposition (EMD) was performed to accurately describe the reporting incidence trends of HBV and HCV. A mathematical model was used to estimate the relative change in incidence across provinces and age groups. Nationwide, a total of 916 426 hepatitis B cases and 39 381 hepatitis C cases were recorded in 2004; the reporting incidences of HBV and HCV were 70.50/100 000 and 3.03/100 000, respectively. The overall relative changes in HBV and HCV reporting incidences in China from 2004 to 2014 were 0.98 (95% CI 0.96-1.00, P = .082) and 1.16 (95% CI 1.12-1.20, P < .001), respectively. Thirteen provinces experienced decline in HBV reporting incidence. Most provinces exhibited an increasing trend in HCV reporting incidence. People aged ≤24 displayed a significant descending trend in HBV reporting incidence; people aged ≥55 exhibited a significant increasing trend. For HCV infection, the reporting incidence increased in all age groups except the 10-14 age group. In China, the majority of provinces have experienced decline or remained stable in HBV infection but show significant increases in HCV infection. Children and adolescents are well protected from HBV infection, while relatively higher increasing rates are found among older people. HCV is much more prevalent among older people, although its emergence has shifted to younger age groups. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.