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Best SIM and eSIM Providers in China

Best SIM and eSIM Providers in China

When traveling to China, one of the essential items to have is a reliable SIM card or eSIM to stay connected. With the advancement in technology, travelers now have the option to choose between a traditional SIM card and an eSIM for their communication needs. In this blog post, we will explore the best SIM and eSIM providers in China and provide guidelines on choosing the optimal eSIM/SIM card for your trip.


1. Coverage and Network Quality

When selecting a SIM card or eSIM provider in China, it is crucial to consider the coverage and network quality offered by the provider. China is a vast country with varying levels of network coverage in different regions. It is recommended to choose a provider that offers extensive coverage and reliable network quality, especially if you plan to travel to remote areas or rural regions.

Another factor to consider is the type of network technology used by the provider. China has multiple mobile network operators, including China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom. Each operator uses different network technologies, such as 2G, 3G, and 4G. Make sure to choose a provider that offers the latest network technology for faster data speeds and better connectivity.

Coverage and Network Quality in China

2. Data Plans and Pricing

Data plans and pricing are essential considerations when choosing a SIM card or eSIM provider in China. Look for providers that offer competitive data plans with sufficient data allowances for your needs. Whether you require data for browsing the internet, using social media, or streaming videos, make sure to select a plan that meets your usage requirements.

Compare the pricing of data plans from different providers to find the best value for money. Some providers offer promotional deals or discounts for short-term plans, which can be cost-effective for travelers staying in China for a limited period. Additionally, consider any additional fees or charges, such as activation fees or roaming charges, when comparing the overall cost of the data plan.

3. Customer Support and Service

Customer support and service are vital aspects to consider when choosing a SIM card or eSIM provider in China. In case of any issues or technical difficulties with your SIM card or eSIM, you will need prompt and reliable customer support to resolve the issue efficiently. Look for providers that offer 24/7 customer support through multiple channels, such as phone, email, or live chat.

Read reviews and testimonials from other customers to gauge the quality of customer support provided by the provider. A responsive and helpful customer support team can make a significant difference in ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience during your stay in China. Consider providers that offer multilingual support for international travelers who may not speak Mandarin or Cantonese.

Comparative Analysis of SIM and eSIM in China

Pros and Cons of Traditional SIM Cards

Traditional SIM cards have been the standard choice for mobile connectivity for many years. Here are some pros and cons of using a traditional SIM card in China:


  • Widespread Compatibility: Traditional SIM cards are compatible with most smartphones and devices, making them a versatile option for travelers.
  • Easy to Purchase: SIM cards can be easily purchased at airports, convenience stores, or mobile shops throughout China.
  • No Device Restrictions: Traditional SIM cards do not have device restrictions and can be used in any unlocked device.


  • Physical Installation: Traditional SIM cards require physical installation into the device’s SIM card slot, which may be inconvenient for some users.
  • Limited Flexibility: Switching between different SIM cards for international travel can be cumbersome and time-consuming.
  • Risk of Loss or Damage: Traditional SIM cards are small and can be easily lost or damaged during travel.

Pros and Cons of eSIM Technology

eSIM technology is a relatively new innovation that offers virtual SIM capabilities without the need for a physical SIM card. Here are some pros and cons of using eSIM technology in China:


  • Convenience: eSIMs can be activated remotely and do not require a physical SIM card, offering greater convenience for travelers.
  • Multiple Profiles: eSIM technology allows users to store multiple SIM profiles on a single device, ideal for travelers with multiple numbers or networks.
  • Environmental Sustainability: eSIMs reduce the need for plastic SIM cards, contributing to environmental sustainability efforts.


  • Limited Device Compatibility: Not all smartphones and devices support eSIM technology, limiting its availability to a select range of devices.
  • Limited Provider Support: The availability of eSIM providers and plans may be limited compared to traditional SIM cards in certain regions.
  • Activation Challenges: Activating an eSIM may require specific instructions or support from the device manufacturer, which can be complex for some users.

Comparison Table: Traditional SIM vs. eSIM in China

Criteria Traditional SIM Card eSIM Technology
Device Compatibility Compatible with most devices Limited support on select devices
Activation Process Requires physical installation Can be activated remotely
Flexibility Single SIM card per device Multiple SIM profiles on a device
Environmental Impact Plastic SIM card waste Reduced plastic waste
Provider Availability Wide availability of providers Limited provider support

B. Comparison of the best esim for China

Note that you can NOT buy an e-sim card on arrival in China. All mobile internet providers in China only sell physical prepaid sim cards for tourists, no e-sim cards.

And even if you would be able to buy an e-sim card from one of the China Mobile internet operators it is NOT recommended because of the internet censorship in China.

But luckily there are multiple e-sim providers on the internet that sell e-sim cards for China. Chinaesim.biz recommends ordering an e-sim card for traveling in China from one of the well-known e-sim card providers that have proven to be reliable operators.

These are the 3 big e-sim card providers and they sell great e-sim card plans for China. They are tested and reviewed multiple times by Chinaesim.biz:

Nowadays, you can buy an e-sim card from chinaesim.biz for pretty much every country around the world. Order directly from one of the above e-sim card providers and instantly receive your e-sim card in your email. But before you buy an e-sim card first read all my tips below.

SimOptions also offers international prepaid sim cards for China. These are pre-activated physical prepaid sim cards and will be delivered to your home address before your trip to China and it is plug and play when you arrive in the China.

Airalo and Nomad only sell e-sim cards for China.

China esim





1. Chinaesim.biz

Provider the most suitable China eSIM Data Plans, and Stay connected everywhere in China.

All our mobile data plans come with 4G/LTE – The biggest mobile network operators in China.

  • Unlimited cellular data connection in China.
  • Receive your QR code and activate it instantly.
  • Easy to set up. No registrations or subscriptions.
  • Keep your WhatsApp number on your cellphone.
  • Easily add additional plans after first valid days plan is finished
  • Must be activated in China. Plan starts on first usage
  • 24/7 customer service in English. Forget about roaming or searching for public WiFi networks.
china esim for tourist
China, Hongkong & Macau eSIM 3 Days total 1GB 3 days $5.90
China, Hongkong & Macau eSIM 3 Days total 3GB 3 days $7.90
China, Hongkong & Macau eSIM 3 Days total 5GB 3 days $10.00
China, Hongkong & Macau eSIM 5 Days total 5GB 5 days $11.90
China, Hongkong & Macau eSIM 5 Days total 10GB 5 days $15.00
China, Hongkong & Macau eSIM 5 Days total 15GB 5 days $20.90
China, Hongkong & Macau eSIM 7 Days total 8GB 7 days $15.00
China, Hongkong & Macau eSIM 7 Days total 10GB 7 days $19.90
China, Hongkong & Macau eSIM 7 Days total 15GB 7 days $24.90
China, Hongkong & Macau eSIM 15 Days total 10GB 15 days $21.90
China, Hongkong & Macau eSIM 15 Days total 15GB 15 days $29.90
China, Hongkong & Macau eSIM 30 Days total 10GB 15 days $29.90
China, Hongkong & Macau eSIM 30 Days total 15GB 15 days $39.90
China, Macau eSIM 5GB For 5 Days total 5GB 5 days $9.90
China, Macau eSIM 10GB For 15 Days total 10GB 15 days $14.90
China, Macau eSIM 15GB For 30 Days total 15GB 30 days $20.90
Maniland China eSIM 7GB for 8 Days total 8GB 8 days $15.00
Mainland China eSIM 15 days – No VPN required Daily 1GB 15 days $26.90
Mainland China eSIM 15 days – No VPN required Daily 3GB 15 days $52.00
Mainland China eSIM 15 days – No VPN required total 3GB 15 days $8.00
Mainland China eSIM 15 days – No VPN required total 5GB 15 days $12.50
Mainland China eSIM 15 days – No VPN required total 10GB 15 days $19.50
Mainland China eSIM 15 days – No VPN required total 20GB 15 days $34.90
Mainland China eSIM 15 days – No VPN required total 50GB 15 days $72.00

Pros and Cons of Chinaesim.biz


  • Stable network connections for every location in China, Hongkong and Macau. With China moible, China unicon coverage, even when you relocate to rural places, there are no faults or signal loss.
  • Large data storage capacity, appropriate for both short and long journeys.
  • The best pricing on the market, ready to reimburse if an issue arises from the eSIM.
  • All esim plans no need to VPN and without restriction in China
  • Cheapest Price


  • Your phone must be compatible with the eSIM: Make sure that your phone is unlocked and listed in the supported devices below.
  • No local phone number: Normally, the data eSIM includes data only. It does not allow you to make cell phone calls or send SMS messages. You can still use WhatsApp, Viber or Skype to call your contacts.
  • The duration of the data plans is limited to 3, 5, 7, 10, 15 and 30 days.

2. SimOptions

SimOptions is a very reliable e-sim card provider  uncountable times in more than 50 countries around the world. I can totally recommend using SimOptions for ordering an e-sim card.


SimOptions e-sims are always one of my top recommendations and the SimOptions e-sim card plans for China are not bad either.

Their 5 GB data e-sim plan for $14.90 USD is actually cheaper than an Airalo e-sim card with 5 GB data. However, the SimOptions plan is only valid for 7 days. The same for the 10 GB data plan, which is great value for $21.90 USD and thus for $2.19 USD per Gigabyte, but also only valid for 15 days.

Here are the SimOptions data-only e-sim card plans for China for 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $7.90 USD
  • 3 GB data for 5 days = $9.90 USD
  • 5 GB data for 7 days = $14.90 USD
  • 10 GB data for 15 days = $21.90 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $34.90 USD

These data-only e-sim cards are provided by SimOptions and are only valid in China. Unfortunately SimOptions doesn’t specify which mobile network operator in China they use, neither is there information if these e-sim cards are 5G ready.

Trust me, when they would be 5G ready SimOptions would mention it, so the max data speed on these China e-sim cards from SimOptions is 4G/LTE.

The SimOptions e-sim cards for China do NOT come with a phone number and they do not offer incoming/outgoing calls or sms services. The validity of these e-sim cards is 1 year and the credit validity starts instantly after installing the e-sim card, even if you are not in China. For more info check the SimOptions website.

3. Airalo

Airalo is another very reputable e-sim card. Ordering your esim for China through Airalo is done fast and easy. Chinaesim.biz has used Airalo uncountable times for staying connected when traveling abroad. Very reliable, never an issue and often some of the cheapest e-sim card deals.


Why using Airalo? When it comes to China e-sim cards Airalo has similar e-sim card plans as SimOptions and is therefore also recommended as one of the best e-sim cards for China.

For CAiralo came to the rescue on my recent trip to China. Read more about it in my article: ‘buying a sim card at Shanghai Airport’.

Basically after two days struggling with my local prepaid China sim card I gave up and tried Airalo and suddenly everything worked. No more VPN needed, no more internet censorship. I could use my phone like in any other country around the world.

Therefore you can understand that Airalo is the top recommendation when it comes to e-sim cards for China.

Here are China e-sim card plans from Airalo for 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $5 USD
  • 2 GB data for 15 days = $8.5 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $11.5 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $16.5 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $28 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $49 USD

The 10 GB data e-sim plan costs $28 USD which is $2.8 USD per Gigabyte, slightly more expensive than SimOptions, but the Airalo plan is valid for 30 days.

The Airalo e-sim cards for China are from Chinacom and operate on the China Unicom 4G/LTE network in China. Unfortunately the Airalo Chinacom e-sim cards for China are not 5G ready.

In pretty much all the amazing places to visit in China you will find a 4G/LTE signal and the data speed is very good, even on 4G/LTE.

For more info about the best 4G/5G network in China check my complete guide for the best prepaid sim card for China in 2024, including network coverage maps of all the mobile internet providers.

All the Airalo e-sim cards are data-only sim cards without a phone number, so any phone/sms service is NOT supported. An Airalo e-sim card has to be installed within 1 month and after activation the credit validity starts when it connects the first time to a supported network. For more info check out the Airalo website.

4. Nomad

Last but not least there is Nomad and actually Nomad has the cheapest China e-sim cards plans. We tested them out and it worked totally fine.

The best thing about Nomad e-sim cards for China is that they are 5G ready, this is a big plus compared the 4G/LTE e-sim cards from SimOptions and Airalo.


Here are the Nomad e-sim card plans for China:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $4 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $7 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $10 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $13 USD
  • 15 GB data for 30 days = $21 USD

They have more e-sim card plans for those who use a lot of Gigabyte.

  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $23 USD
  • 30 GB data for 30 days = $35 USD
  • 40 GB data for 30 days = $40 USD
  • 50 GB data for 30 days = $49 USD

The Nomad e-sim cards for China are from eSIM Go and are data-only. The Nomad e-sim cards for China are also NOT 5G ready, only 4G/LTE network is supported and they operate on the China Unicom network. Incoming and outgoing calls and sms are NOT supported.

But as I mentioned, Nomad has the cheapest e-sim cards for China and they go as low as $0.98 USD per Gigabyte.

The Nomad China e-sim cards have to be installed on your phone within 30 days and after installation its validity starts when it connects for the first time to a supported network in China. Basically when the plane lands. For more info check the Nomad website.

What is the cheapest esim for China?

The cheapest esim for China is a chinaesim.biz for just $7 USD, it will give you 3GB data for 5 days. These esims are only valid in China and do not support calling and texting.

Why ordering an esim for traveling in China?

Vietnam eSIM for Tourist & Travel

eSIMs are the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to China in 2024 and you can arrange everything online in just a couple clicks. No more visiting a sim card shop and swapping physical sim cards. Order online, scan the QR code, follow the steps and you are connected in less than 2 minutes.

The most important reason to get an e-sim card is because we would like to stay connected on our trip to China without wasting money on high roaming costs. Our smartphones are pretty useless without a working data connection. Think about ordering a taxi through an app, finding nearby friends, restaurants and bars. Get directions from Google Maps or simply staying in touch with family back home, check your social media apps on long bus rides or your banking apps when paying contactless.

One of the best things about arriving in China with an activated e-sim card is that you are online as soon as the plane lands. More about when to install your e-sim card later.

There are so many reasons to stay connected when traveling to China, but the most important reason is that it makes your trip to China so much more convenient and fun!

At the same time we don’t want to waste money on high roaming charges. Many mobile internet operators still charge $3 USD per MB for data roaming, that means just opening the Instagram app will already cost you 20 MB * $3 USD = $60 USD! Not kidding… it still is very common in 2024.

Esims are the easiest way to avoid high roaming charges!


In conclusion, choosing the best SIM card or eSIM provider in China depends on your specific needs and preferences. Consider factors such as coverage and network quality, data plans and pricing, and customer support and service when selecting a provider for your trip. Evaluate the pros and cons of traditional SIM cards and eSIM technology to determine which option aligns with your travel requirements.

Whether you opt for a traditional SIM card for widespread compatibility or an eSIM for added convenience, both options offer reliable mobile connectivity in China. By following the guidelines outlined in this blog post and conducting thorough research, you can select the optimal eSIM/SIM card provider that enhances your travel experience in China. Stay connected and enjoy seamless communication during your visit to this vibrant and dynamic country.

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