China has a large population and bears a heavy burden of kidney diseases. Acute kidney injury (AKI) is increasingly prevalent in China and is associated with severe morbidity and mortality. The inadequacies of early diagnosis and management remain the major challenges to Chinese nephrologists. There is an urgent need for a nationwide, or even a global effort to increase an awareness of the devastating effects of AKI, to develop professional preventive strategies, as well as to achieve early diagnosis and early intervention. In this article, we review the increasing incidence of AKI and complexity behind prevention and management, focusing on differences in various clinical settings in China.