Nine residential areas were selected in this study (three homes in urban areas, three homes near roadsides, and three homes in industrial zones) to evaluate the indoor and outdoor relationship and carbonaceous species characteristics of PM2.5 in Guangzhou, China, during summer and winter 2004. Daily (24 h) average PM2.5 samples were collected on pre-fired quartz-fiber filters with low-volume samplers and analyzed by the thermal optical reflectance (TOR) method following the Interagency Monitoring of PROtected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) protocol. The average indoor and outdoor concentrations of PM2.5 were 88.8 μg/m3 and 99.1 μg/m3, respectively. The average indoor OC and EC concentrations were 21.7 μg/m3, and 7.6 μg/m3, respectively, accounting for an average of 25.5% and 8.9% indoor PM2.5 mass, respectively. The average indoor and outdoor OC/EC ratios were 3.4 and 3.0, respectively. The average I/O ratios of PM2.5, OC and EC were 0.91, 1.02 and 0.96, respectively. Poor indoor-outdoor correlations were observed for OC in the summer (R2 = 0.18) and winter (R2 = 0.33), while strong correlations (R2 > 0.8) were observed for EC during summer and winter. OC and EC were moderately correlated (R2 = 0.4) during summer, while OC and EC correlated well during winter, with a correlation coefficient of 0.64 indoors and 0.75 outdoors. Similar distributions of eight carbon fractions in indoor and outdoor TC pointed to the contributions of motor vehicle exhaust and coal-combustion sources. A simple estimation indicates that about ninety percent of carbonaceous particles in indoor air result from penetration of outdoor pollutants, and indoor sources contribute only ten percent of the indoor carbonaceous particles.