Being a Digital Nomad in China: What You Need to Know

The thrill of seeking out new lands to explore is without a doubt one of the highlights of being a digital nomad, but working remotely also means being well prepared to minimize obstacles in your workflow. As the need for prior research and preparation comes with moving to any country, make sure you take into account these following tips if you are considering living in China.

VPN China: Get Set Up Before You Arrive

One of the biggest obstacles for expats and travelers to China is its stringent censorship rules – or the ‘Great Firewall’ – which bans many major websites and apps used in the rest of the world. This is a huge deal for digital nomads who need to have access to platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, WordPress and even Google… but there is a way to make it work. By using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you can trick your network into believing you are logging in from another country, and thus access these apps and websites with ease. However, there are vague rules surrounding the use of VPNs in the country, so it is crucial that you look into which VPNs will work and set it up prior to your arrival in the country. There are plenty of reliable resources available online to help you make your decision, such as VPN Cina.

Familiarize Yourself with Chinese Etiquette

As with most Asian countries, China is steeped in tradition and certain societal values that you are likely not familiar with, particularly if you are from the West. Note some of the most important etiquettes beforehand, but also be observant and aware while you are there. Always take your shoes off before entering someone’s house, and if you have been formally invited into their home, bringing a small gift with you is a respected token of friendship and gratitude. When meeting someone for the first time, ensure your handshake is soft, as a firm handshake can sometimes be mistaken for aggression. At the dinner table, it is polite to sample a little of everything – just don’t use your own chopsticks to serve yourself from communal dishes!

Choose Your Location Wisely

China has plenty of big cities which make for ideal hubs to work from, but don’t look past the smaller, charming towns that are brimming with culture. The bigger cities of Beijing and Shanghai attract many expats, and could be ideal choices for a more modern lifestyle with well-built infrastructure. However, pollution can be an issue for those with respiratory sensitivities. Meanwhile, Shenzhen, which is referred to as “Hardware Silicon Valley”, attracts many entrepreneurs and startups, and offers a good choice of co-working spaces. For a more intimate, laid-back Chinese feel, look into destinations such as Guilin, Zhuhai and Chengu.

Converse with Fellow Digital Nomads

If there’s one thing digital nomads are good at, it’s being online! Utilise your network and use online resources, such as Facebook groups and forums, to get your questions answered and to discover aspects of expat life that you may have overlooked. Participate in networking events while you’re there, and perhaps familiarize yourself with local social networking platforms that are commonly used in the country, such as WeChat.

About Reva B. Williams

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