The potential role of orthographic representations on spoken word production was investigated with speakers of Chinese, a non-alphabetic and orthographically non-transparent language. Using the response generation procedure, we obtained the well-known facilitation from word-initial phonological overlap, but this effect was unaffected by whether or not responses shared the initial character. In a study which manipulated the visual similarity of the word-initial character, a significant inhibitory effect of orthography was found. However, this effect disappeared when prompt stimuli were presented auditorily, suggesting that the orthographic effect might be attributable to the memorization stage of the response generation task, rather than reflecting processes genuine to speaking. By contrast, a reliable orthographic effect was found in an oral reading task, suggesting that orthography plays a role only when it is relevant to the word production task. Furthermore, the present findings show that the orthographic effect is tied to the correspondence between orthography and phonology of a language when orthography is relevant to the task used.