eSIM for China + free VPN: compare, buy and travel connected

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China offers fascinating places like Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, and of course you can’t miss the Great Wall of China, among other places that you will love. To get internet in China, there are multiple options such as SIM cards, activate roaming, rent a Pocket Wi-Fi or buy the new eSIM to travel to China.

In this article we will tell you everything you need to know about eSIM in China, international carriers, local eSIM, reviews, requirements, features and how to buy them. In addition, this option allows you to save money, time and contribute to the environment. One of them includes free VPN for China – great!

What you should know about the Chinese eSIM card:

First you must know the requirements that the new eSIM card asks for, here we have listed the main requirements that you must take into account before buying your eSIM. Despite the fact that cell phone manufacturers launch new devices, most of them do not include the eSIM.

  • You must have a cell phone compatible with eSIM: in addition to that, check that your cell phone is supported by the carrier or eSIM card provider. We anticipate that the iPhone XR or more recent versions are preferred by the companies providing the virtual SIM.
  • It is essential to have an email address to register and receive your eSIM.
  • It is important that you have an internet connection: your eSIM profile will be downloaded from the operator’s servers after scanning the QR code or installation code.
  • Some providers will ask you to install their App to download the eSIM.

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Mobile eSIM card providers for travel to China

If you meet the above requirements, you will be able to purchase and activate an eSIM card for China. In case you do not meet them, you can also purchase a China SIM card with VPN with 5G and 7GB. After realizing that you meet the requirements we have listed, we will tell you about the providers available in the market for you to purchase your eSIM to connect to the Internet in China. These are companies that sell international eSIM cards for use in your tourism or business trips abroad. We list them below:

  • Holafly
  • Truphone
  • Au de KDDI
  • TravelSim
  • United Global

Rates and data plans from eSIM providers for travel to China

Then, you will be able to compare and choose the tariff and data plan that best fits your budget. For this reason we have listed the providers that offer different rates and plans to travel to China.

Holafly plans and prices in China:

  • 5GB for 8 days for 32.46USD
  • 5GB for 15 days at 34.87USD
  • 7GB for 30 days at 58.92USD

Truphone plans for travel to China:

  • 300MB for 1 day at 7USD
  • 1GB for 30 days at 18USD
  • 3GB for 30 days at 49USD

Au by KDDI plans and rates for China:

  • 5GB for 30 days at 53USD
  • 8GB for 30 days at 81USD

TravelSim plans and pricing in China:

  • 500MB for 30 days at 19USD
  • 1GB for 30 days at 25USD
  • 2GB for 30 days at 41USD
  • 3GB for 30 days at 59USD
  • 5GB for 30 days at 93USD

United Global rates in China:

  • 1GB for 30 days at 23.17USD
  • 3GB for 30 days at 61.78USD
  • 5GB for 30 days at 92.66USD

Comparison of eSIM providers for China

ProviderDataDayspricesupportSales channels
Holafly5GB832.46USDSpanishWeb
Holafly5GB1534.87USDSpanishWeb
Holafly7GB3058.92USDSpanishWeb
Truphone30017USDSpanishApp Store, Google Play
Truphone1GB3018USDSpanishApp Store, Google Play
Truphone3GB3049USDSpanishApp Store, Google Play
Au by KDDI5GB3053USDEnglishApp Store
Au by KDDI8GB3053USDEnglishApp Store
TravelSIM500MB3019USDSpanishWeb
TravelSIM1GB3025USDSpanishWeb
TravelSIM 2GB30 41USD SpanishWeb
TravelSIM3GB3059USDSpanishWeb
TravelSIM5GB3093USDSpanishWeb
United Global1GB3023.17USDSpanishWeb
United Global3GB3061.78USDSpanishWeb
United Global5GB3092.66USDSpanishWeb
Table 1. Comparison of eSIM providers to connect to the Internet in China.

eSIM features for travel to China

We show you the characteristics of eSIM cards for traveling to China, since eSIM cards are not the same as physical SIM cards, just as you observed that their requirements are different as well as their characteristics.

  • Most eSIM cards do not offer analog calls, only data. For voice communication you can use Apps such as Skype or WhatsApp.
  • They can be installed only once, so if you are experiencing problems with your eSIM card; do not remove it from your phone and contact your eSIM provider.
  • Back to your dual SIM iPhone, you will be able to keep your local SIM when you travel to China. Remember to configure your iPhone to avoid surprise bills.
  • Some eSIMs set up the automatic APN
  • You can add multiple data plans on your iPhone, this depends on the available memory, although it is only possible to use one at a time.
  • Some eSIMs allow you to share data.
  • To avoid censorship in China, the Holafly eSIM includes free VPN.

eSIM coverage for travel to China

It is very important that you know the coverage that your eSIM will offer you. You may be buying a very cheap eSIM card but it may not provide good coverage in China. Why is this important, you may ask? It is important because the eSIM cards that will offer you the best network coverage on your trip to China are those that have the most roaming agreements with major carriers such as China Mobile, China Telecom or China Unicom.

As you know, having multiple network connection options, your iPhone will change network according to the areas you visit in China. we show you the following coverage maps of the main carriers. Great!

China Mobile 3G Coverage Map

coverage map with an esim in china
China Mobile coverage map Source: GSMA

China Telecom 3G network coverage

coverage map with an esim in china
China Telecom coverage map Source: GSMA

China Unicom 3G Coverage Map

coverage map in china
China Unicom coverage map Source: GSMA

Local mobile carriers offering eSIM in China

China is a developed country with several mobile carriers. Most of them already offer 5G connectivity and the possibility to activate an eSIM. This option is mainly intended for locals in China who wish to migrate from their physical SIM cards with contract to the new virtual cards.

Please note that eSIM cards from mobile carriers in China are intended for permanent residents and not for travelers, although there are exceptions. Here is a list of the operators that have eSIM cards in China:

  • China Mobile
  • China Unicom
  • China Telecom
  • China Mobile Hong Kong
  • 1010
  • Csl
  • SmarTone

Frequently asked questions about eSIM in China

We answer the most common questions you may have before purchasing your eSIM for travel to China.

Do I need a passport to buy the Chinese eSIM card?

It is not necessary to present a passport, some suppliers do require your address.

Can I share data or tether with the eSIM in China?

Yes, eSIM for China will allow you to share your data to other devices. However, we recommend that you check with the provider’s customer service.

How to activate eSIM for China?

Then install the virtual SIM profile, choose it as the default mobile data medium, turn on data and roaming and your virtual SIM should be working.

Do international prepaid eSIM cards expire?

Yes, just like physical cards, virtual SIM cards also have an expiration date.

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