A total of 288 (202 from potato and 86 from tomato) isolates of Phytophthora infestans were collected from 1998 to 2007 in China. The isolates were characterized based on mating type, in vitro metalaxyl sensitivity, virulence on potato differentials, allozymes of glucose-6-phosphate isomerase (Gpi), peptidase (Pep), and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotype and examined by DNA-based simple sequence repeat (SSR) and random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) fingerprinting. The majority (283 of 288) of the isolates were of the A1 mating type, the other three were the A2 mating type and two were the A1A2 mating type. Resistance to metalaxyl was frequently observed, with 248 (86.1%) resistant, 21 (7.3%) intermediate and 19 (6.6%) sensitive isolates identified. Virulence was assessed for 125 isolates on a set of 11 potato differentials and 61 races were detected. Most isolates were virulent on the differential genotype with gene R3, and all known virulence genes were found, with race 126.96.36.199 being the most common. This pattern did not appear to be associated with geographic origin, sample type, mating type or metalaxyl sensitivity. The dominant banding patterns for Gpi were 100/100/111 (176 isolates) and 100/100 (109 isolates), but genotypes 86/100 and 100/111 were also identified. All isolates tested were homozygous (100/100) at the Pep locus. The majority (205 of 288) of isolates tested was of mtDNA haplotype IIb, 76 were haplotype IIa and seven were the rare Ib haplotype. The genetic diversity of 60 representative isolates from China was assayed by two types of molecular markers, RAPD and SSR. A high level of polymorphism was found. The results demonstrated the diverse phenotypic and genotypic structure of the current populations of P. infestans in China.