Best China eSIM for travel and tourist, Pre-paid 5G data eSIM

If you plan to take a China trip, have you prepared all the necessary things in your luggage? Personal items, visa, plane ticket, and an important thing – internet connection. eSIM for China travel is one of the most convenient to stay connected in China. This is a complete guide with everything you need to know about using an e-sim card for traveling to China including a comparison of the best China e-sim cards for 2024.

Let us recommend you that getting connected with an e-sim card when traveling to China will make your life so much easier! Based on my own experiences on my recent trip to Shanghai and Shenzhen the internet censorship in China really is a pain and constantly trying to find a VPN that actually works and gives you a fast data connection is a daily challenge.

China esim for travel

You can fix it all by buying an e-sim card for China and enjoy using data on your phone without any internet restriction and NO VPN NEEDED! How and what? Keep reading…

Don’t waste money on high roaming charges, read my recommendations below and order an e-sim card for China on the internet and get connected in just a couple minutes. Below you will find up to date prices as per January 2024, including all specifications per e-sim card.

I will show you where and when to order an e-sim card, a comparison with local prepaid sim cards for China and of course links to directly order your e-sim card for traveling to China online.

The worry can be solved by just downloading an eSIM (embedded SIM) to your smartphone.  With an eSIM, you can freely use the internet abroad, including in China, without worrying about losing it. Super convenient!

In this article we recommend you all the best China eSIM Plan for Traveler

The majority of eSIM providers in China offer comparable packages in terms of speed, with the main distinction being the number of packages and their prices. This article highlights the top eSIM packages for tourists in China.

1. Chinaesim.biz

Chinaesim.biz is an eSIM provider catering specifically to tourists in China. Despite being a newcomer in the market, it has a competitive edge due to its focus on the Thai market, offering a variety of packages to suit different customer needs and budgets. Chinaesim.biz offers the most extensive range of eSIM packages, with 13 different options based on the duration of your stay and your data requirements.

2. Holafly

Holafly is another eSIM provider for tourists in China, with a significant market presence and products available in over 190 countries and regions. They use the 02 networks, TELECOM and China Mobile in China, providing internet access in most areas, including urban, rural, and remote locations. Holafly offers only Unlimited packages, but it’s important to note that there’s a limit to the amount of high-speed internet you can use before the speed decreases.

3. Airalo

Airalo, another eSIM provider, has been in the market since 2019 and offers eSIMs for over 200 countries and regions. They have an app for customers to purchase, use, and manage eSIMs. In China, Airalo uses the TELECOM network, offering fast and stable network speeds. They offer 8 eSIM packages for China, but only 2 are exclusively for China, while the other 6 are for regions including China. This could be expensive for tourists who only visit China and do not travel to other countries.

4. Nomad

Nomad is a global eSIM provider that caters to short-term travelers, frequent travelers, and those who visit multiple countries in one trip. To use Nomad’s eSIM, you simply visit their website, select your destination, and choose the appropriate eSIM package. Nomad uses the UNICOM network, one of the top 3 networks in China. However, like Airalo, Holafly, and Mobimatter, Nomad only provides data eSIM packages, not local phone numbers, and their prices are relatively high compared to other providers.

What is an eSIM? Easy Explanation for Beginners

Basic information about the eSIM

An eSIM, or Embedded SIM, is different from a traditional physical SIM card. It refers to an electronic SIM that is built into the device. In Japan, eSIM-compatible devices were introduced in 2018, and since then, the number of users has been rapidly increasing. Unlike traditional SIM cards that need to be physically inserted into the device, eSIMs do not require a card to be inserted or removed. It’s a revolutionary system that allows you to freely connect to the internet abroad, including in China, by simply downloading or deleting SIM information in the device.

How to activate / installation eSIM in China

Do not scan the QR code from a camera or app other than the intended device, always set up from the device that will use the eSIM.

1. Please check if your device supports eSIM in China.

2. Go to “Settings” > “Mobile Data” > “Add Mobile Data Plan” on your device.

3. Scan the QR code (if you cannot read the QR code, please manually enter the “SM-DP +Address” and “Activation Code”).

4. After scanning the QR code, when the popup “Welcome to Billion Connect!” appears, tap “OK” to complete the setup. Please do not use the eSIM line until you arrive at your intended eSIM usage location.

5. You can change the name of the line from “Mobile Data Plan Name”. Changing the line name to “BC” makes it easier to understand the line switching status.

6. After arriving at your intended eSIM usage location, turn off other SIM cards and turn on BC eSIM and its data roaming to enable data communication.

7. If you cannot use eSIM data communication, please check your APN settings. APN: internet (APN setting method: “Mobile Data” > “Network Selection”)

Get eSIM Online

Select Your eSIM Provider: Stay always connected in China by choosing from top eSIM providers such as UNICOM, China Mobile, and TELECOM. These providers ensure you’re never out of touch on your travels in China.

Choose Your Ideal Data Plan: Seamlessly select a data plan that aligns with your connectivity needs. With options ranging from short-term to extensive coverage, finding the perfect plan is just a few clicks away.

Effortless eSIM Activation: Activate your eSIM in moments by scanning a QR code from your chosen provider. Follow the straightforward instructions on your device, and dive into instant connectivity without the hassle.

Get eSIM Offline

While securing your eSIM online offers unparalleled convenience and a smooth start to your travels, know that you’re covered upon arrival too. Travelers landing at Beijing International Airport in Beijing have the flexibility to pick up a tourist SIM card or eSIM from UNICOM, China Mobile, TELECOM, and other providers at the airport.

Opting for an online eSIM purchase, however, streamlines your travel preparations, allowing you to bypass queues and enjoy immediate internet access the moment you land.

How Much Does an eSIM Cost in China?

Which is Convenient in China? China eSIM, SIM Card, Wi-Fi Router

Pros:

Eliminates the risk of losing or damaging a SIM card, as the eSIM is embedded within the device.

Activation can often be completed before arrival, simplifying the process.

Designed for instant connectivity upon reaching your destination.

Cons:

Only compatible with certain smartphones, restricting use to newer models.

May not support traditional phone number use, affecting calls and SMS capabilities.

SIM Cards

Pros:

Unlike a Wi-Fi router, SIM cards don’t need to be charged, ensuring uninterrupted connectivity.

Users have the flexibility to choose from an array of plans to fit their communication needs.

Cons:

Requires a SIM-unlocked smartphone to operate, limiting use with carrier-locked devices.

Initial setup might require time and effort, including PIN entry and activation procedures.

Wi-Fi Routers

Pros:

Simply set up upon arrival and connect multiple devices, offering internet access to a group.

Ideal for travelers with multiple gadgets or groups needing shared access.

Con:

The need to recharge the router can limit mobility and accessibility.

Picking up and returning the device can be inconvenient, alongside potential extra costs for the service.

Thorough Comparison SIM cards can be used without worrying about charging, like a Wi-Fi router. They are light and you can choose from many plans. However, there are drawbacks such as the need for a SIM-free smartphone and the hassle of setting up. A Wi-Fi router only needs to be set up after arrival and can be shared among multiple people or connected to multiple devices. However, there may be issues with battery life, the hassle of handing over, and increased costs. An eSIM does not require a physical SIM card, so there is no worry about loss or damage. The setup is relatively easy, but only a limited number of smartphones support it.

Difference between eSIM and SIM card

eSIMs and traditional SIM cards serve as key components for international smartphone communication, despite their notable distinctions. Traditional SIM cards, which are tangible plastic inserts, fit into a specific slot within the smartphone for activation. Should you opt to switch network providers, this process necessitates the manual replacement of the SIM card.

Conversely, eSIM technology departs from the physical form, integrating directly into the smartphone’s internal hardware from the outset. Carrier changes can be set on the device, so there is no need for physical exchange work.

Benefits of Using China eSIM

1. It can be used immediately upon arrival in China.

One of the major advantages of eSIM is that it allows you to use the internet smoothly from the moment you land at the airport in China. With traditional SIM cards, you needed time to purchase one at an airport shop or to receive a pre-ordered SIM. However, by pre-downloading an eSIM, you can connect to the network the moment you step off the plane. This allows you to efficiently proceed with your travel arrangements, such as arranging a taxi or finding directions to your hotel.

2. No risk of loss or damage

Traditional SIM cards are very small and require careful handling, especially when replacing them during travel, which increases the risk of loss or damage. On the other hand, eSIMs do not have a physical shape, so there is no need to worry about loss or damage. There is also no need to worry about the hassle of opening the SIM tray with a small pin or accidentally dropping the SIM card.

3. Dual SIM

By using an eSIM, you can use dual SIM. Dual SIM allows you to use two networks on one smartphone. This allows you to install a SIM that can be used in both Japan and overseas on one device. You can smoothly switch network environments when moving from Japan to overseas and vice versa. With dual SIM, you don’t have to re-contract your internet environment every time you visit multiple countries.

Disadvantages of Using China eSIM

1. Limited device compatibility

To use an eSIM, you need a smartphone or tablet that supports eSIM. While newer models are becoming eSIM compatible, older models and some mid-to-low priced devices cannot use eSIM. This means you will need to check whether your current device can use eSIM. If you need to purchase a new device to use eSIM, you should also consider the associated costs.

2. Cannot be used on multiple devices

Traditional SIM cards can be swapped between devices, allowing you to use one SIM on multiple devices. However, eSIMs are built into the device, making it difficult to easily move them between multiple devices. Therefore, those who use multiple devices during their trip to China may find this inconvenient.

3. Cannot use a phone number

With eSIM data plans, a unique phone number may not be provided, or an additional fee may be required. This could be inconvenient in situations where a local phone number is needed, such as making restaurant reservations or contacting hotels. Traditional SIM cards often provide a phone number along with data, so this is something to consider when thinking about using an eSIM.

Who is suitable for China eSIM?

1. People who are traveling to China for around a week

Trip.com’s eSIM is an 8-day plan. For those staying for around a week, you can choose a cost-effective plan.

2. People who want to use the internet cheaply

As they offer eSIM at a reasonable price range, it is recommended for travelers who want to keep costs down.

3. People who want to use the internet immediately

If you set up your smartphone in advance, you can use the internet immediately after arriving in China. You can start comfortably without any waiting time.

4. People going on short or long trips to China

For short or long-term stays, it may be better to consider plans optimized for specific periods offered by other providers.

5. People who want to use a large amount of internet

For those who consume a large amount of data, it is recommended to consider large-capacity plans offered by other providers. Some of the plans offered by Trip.com are not large-capacity, so caution is needed.

6. People who can set up an internet environment in China

For those who have the flexibility to consider purchasing a local SIM card or renting a Wi-Fi router, Trip.com’s eSIM may not necessarily be the best option.

Tips for Choosing an eSIM for China

eSIM China: 3 Tips for Choosing an eSIM in China

1. Is the data volume sufficient?

Consider how much data you will need during your stay in China. If you plan to search for tourist spot information in real time or upload photos and videos to social media, a large-capacity data plan is recommended. However, if basic communication and map usage are your main needs, a medium data plan should be sufficient.

2. Check the validity of the plan

Check the validity of the eSIM according to your stay in China. A plan of about a week is recommended for short trips, and a one-month plan for long stays. To avoid running out of data during your stay in China, it is good to choose a plan with a little leeway.

3. Are there good reviews?

Checking third-party reviews and feedback can help determine the quality and reliability of an eSIM. Reviews from users who have already used the eSIM are very useful for understanding actual usage and support in case of troubles.