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

Author: Daniela Rojas

Updated: April 26, 2023

esim for travel to china

Visiting China is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Whether you’re visiting Beijing, Shanghai, or the Great Wall, you’ll never run out of things to do in this beautiful country. But what if you run out of internet? Having a Mobile internet connection in China is essential. Buying a China eSIM card is a cheap and efficient way of accessing the internet abroad.

The eSIM for China from Holafly also comes with a VPN included. The Chinese government bans apps and websites such as WhatsApp and Facebook. But with a VPN, you can continue using these apps without any issues.

The eSIM (short for “embedded SIM“) is a virtual SIM card taking the tech world by storm. With an eSIM for your trip to China, you can enjoy cheap and fast internet on multiple devices.

So if you want to stay connected when you’re in China, we recommend buying an eSIM designed especially for travelers – this will save you from paying expensive data roaming charges in China.

We’ll explain how eSIMs work and compare the different deals you can get from cellphone providers so you get the best value for money.

Buy a China eSIM online

What you should know about the Chinese eSIM card:

eSIM technology is still relatively new, so not all phones are compatible. Here’s everything you need to check before you buy:

  • Your cell phone must be compatible with an eSIM card. Also, check that the carrier or eSIM card provider supports your cell phone. The iPhone XR and later models are compatible with most providers. 
  • You need an email address to receive your eSIM.
  • You need an internet connection to activate your eSIM. After scanning the QR code or installation code, your eSIM profile will be downloaded from the provider.
  • Some providers will ask you to install their app to download the eSIM.

If you can’t buy an eSIM, you can purchase a physical SIM card for travelers instead.

Buy your eSIM China with a discount.
Discount coupon: roaming5

Cellular eSIM card providers for your travels in China

Once you have confirmed that your cellphone is compatible with an eSIM, then you can easily purchase and use an eSIM card. Share your walk on the Great Wall of China or your visit to the Forbidden City! On the other hand, if your phone doesn’t meet the requirements, then we recommend using a physical SIM card for China

Below you will find a list of the telecommunication in companies that offer international eSIM cards:

Rates and data plans from eSIM providers for travel to China

Look at the different packages offered to access the internet in China. Pay close attention to the prices of each provider, so you can choose the deal that suits you best.


To acquire an eSIM with Holafly, you only need to visit their official website, look up your country destination, select the plan that best meets your needs, and then proceeds to complete the purchase. That won’t take long and can be done from anywhere in the world. The eSIM will be delivered to your email right away once you make a purchase, allowing you to start using it right away. The best part is that this company won’t require a contract for the eSIM purchase.

Several plans are available from Holafly for its eSIM to China. However, it should be emphasized that no matter which plans you select and for how many days, you will be able to use unlimited data with their eSIM. There are some options available to you, including 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 60, and 90 days. And they range in price from $19 to $99.

Pros of Holafly’s eSIM for China:

  • Enjoy unlimited data on your trip to China.
  • You’ll be able to connect instantly after you make your purchase.
  • Keep your WhatsApp number on your cellphone.
  • You’ll enjoy 24/7 customer service from Holafly’s team.

Cons of Holafly’s eSIM for China:

  • You won’t be able to make or receive calls.
  • No messages included.
  • You can’t share data with other devices.


It is a company that sells through its mobile app, eSIMs for more than 132 destinations, also offering plans adjusted for different stays so it can better accommodate the needs of travelers and tourists. Being more focused on tourists than local operators, they are more flexible in terms of available plans.

If your destination is China, Truphone offers a regional eSIM that supports 14 countries in Asia, including China. The plans available for this regional eSIM are 1GB for use in one day for 14$ and two other plans of 30 days duration and 2GB of consumption for 18$ or 5GB of consumption for 27$.

Pros of Truphone eSIM:

  • Coverage in more than 132 countries.
  • 4G and 5G speeds in most available destinations.
  • You can use the Truphone eSIM with your home country’s SIM Card.

Cons of Truphone eSIM:

  • Only offers plans with a duration of 30 days and 1 day.
  • You can not make the purchase through their website, only through their APP, and you need to register in it.
  • It does not offer an exclusive plan for China, only a regional and global plan that represents a higher cost.


It is another virtual store that offers its users eSIM card options for their trips to almost any destination in the world. TravelSIM has support in 200 countries, including China, among the plans of Asia. In the case of this company, you can purchase through its website and with different means of payment, such as Credit Cards and PayPal. Before checkout, you must give brief information such as mail and address or otherwise register as a customer.

TravelSIM does not have an exclusive eSIM card for China, but they do offer an option for Asia with costs of 6$ base for the card only, as well as plans with 30 days of duration and 1GB of use for 17$, 3GB of use for 41$ and 5GB of use for 63$. In all plan options, it is possible to add text messaging services for an additional $10 and $25, depending on the number of messages.

Pros of TravelSIM eSIM for China:

  • For China offers China unicorn support as a local mobile operator.
  • Intuitive payment and activation process through its website
  • Reach over 200 countries around the world.

Cons of TravelSIM eSIM for China:

  • Only offers 3G speeds for China as a destination.
  • It only offers data packages for 30 days of usage, so it doesn’t give great flexibility.
  • It does not offer an exclusive eSIM for China, so the service cost is higher.

Comparison of eSIM providers for China

ProviderDataDaysPrice (USD)Sales channels
HolaflyUnlimited data5$19Web
HolaflyUnlimited data15$47Web
HolaflyUnlimited data20$54Web
HolaflyUnlimited data30$64Web
Truphone1GB1$14App Store, Google Play
Truphone2GB30$18App Store, Google Play
Truphone5GB30$27App Store, Google Play
TravelSIM 3GB30 $41Web
Table 1. Comparison of eSIM providers to connect to the Internet in China.

eSIM features for travel to China

To get the most out of your eSIM card, we’ve prepared some important information to bear in mind so that your trip to Shanghai or any other city in China will be the best. We’ll also explain the differences between virtual eSIM cards and traditional physical cards.

  • Most eSIM cards do not offer mobile calls, only data. You can use apps like WhatsApp or Skype instead.
  • eSIMs can only be installed once, so if you’re experiencing problems with your eSIM card, do not remove it from your cellphone and contact your eSIM provider instead.
  • Some eSIMs set up automatic APNs.
  • You can add several data plans on your iPhone, although it is only possible to use one at a time.
  • Some eSIMs allow you to share data between devices.
  • With your dual SIM iPhone, you can keep your local SIM when you travel to China. 

Mobile internet coverage map for travel to China

It’s important to consider your eSIM’s coverage. And remember that sometimes cheap eSIM cards have poor coverage, possibly leaving you without internet when you need it most.

Below you will find each operator’s coverage map so you can get an idea of the coverage available in China.

China Mobile 3G Coverage Map

China Telecom 3G network coverage

China Unicom 3G Coverage Map

Local phone carriers offering eSIM in China

If you are considering buying your eSIM for China through a local operator, we regret to inform you that it is not currently available for travelers. Of the three major phone carriers in China, the only one that currently has eSIM service is China mobile.

The company requires you to be a customer, and you must go through an application and registration process, so as a tourist, you cannot access this technology. However, it is still possible to acquire Prepaid sim cards with China Mobile and China unicorn if, as a last resort, you want to opt for the traditional sim.

  • China Mobile

eSIM China Mobile

If you plan to spend a long time in the country, you can choose to become a customer of the operator and thus have access to its eSIM services. China Mobile offers 24-month contracts and 4G, 4.5G, and 5G speed plans with different data options to use during the month. All plans offer the opportunity for unlimited minutes within the country plus Mainland and Macau free roaming.

Benefits of the China Mobile eSIM in China

China mobile eSIMs are compatible with the latest generation phones and devices compatible with the technology and offer the following benefits once you sign up for the service:

  • 4.5G 6GB + 128kbps Unlimited thereafter data.
  • Port-in offer: $88/Monthly & Free 2GB Local Data.
  • Free 1GB Mainland China & Macau Roaming Data Package.
  • Unlimited Local Airtime Minutes.

How to Activate a China Mobile eSIM in China

In the first instance, you must contact one of the 4G, 4.5G, or 5G services in any of the available modalities. This process can be done online through an application form with which you will be contacted or by contacting one of the physical customer service offices.

Finally, after contracting the service, you can opt for the eSIM at no additional cost by calling 12580 and following the steps of the specialist you will contact, or you can also activate it at any of the physical offices.

It is always important to remember that during the activation process, you need to have an active internet connection, an email to which you have access, and of course, a mobile device compatible with eSIM technology.

Frequently asked questions about eSIM in China.

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

What is an eSIM?

It is a digital version of the physical SIM card, providing your device with a network connection in a virtual way.

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

You don’t need to present your passport, but some providers might ask for your address.

How to activate eSIM for China?

Install the eSIM with a QR code from your email, choose it as the default cellular data medium, turn on mobile data and data roaming, and your virtual SIM will work. Contact the company for more advice.

Do international prepaid eSIM cards expire?

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

5/5 - (3 votes)

Look for your destination

Enter the destination you are traveling to, or search for a product/service that includes an internet connection abroad.

Related articles