Living behind the Great Firewall: welcome to China!

Living behind the Great Firewall: welcome to China!

14 August 2018

Nowadays wireless network and mobile data seem to be a usual part of our daily lives. Every single place has its own wi-fi and if not, no problem – I carry my own on my smart device! This is not surprising anymore and shouldn’t a problem while traveling or working from anywhere. But let’s check what is happening in the world’s most populous country – China.


Being a foreigner is like…

Imagine, if you haven’t downloaded at least 3 VPNs to your PC or any smart device, you can forget about posting your daily Insta or Facebook story or texting to your mom via Gmail – all Google products are blocked by the Great Firewall. You’re allowed to reach the content only which is created by the local Government. The question is, how China provides the WiFi services and how does it work? Let me give you a quick report of how people use the Internet in China.


The situation is way better for locals…

You might find it difficult to connect to the Internet if you are a foreign tourist or a freelancer – WiFi is not provided in every cafe and the expenses of Data roaming could be surprisingly huge. There is also a challenge to reach the content you are used to – without the reliable VPN most of the sites just do not work as there is a Great Firewall restriction. The situation is much better if you are a local citizen. There are three state-run mobile network operators: China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Mobile. The price is amazing: 20 ¥ (2.5 €) for the SIM card, free calls, free SMS, 200 GB of mobile data inside the university campus and 5 GB all around China. You can live here with this endless amount of data!

As you are in China, you must use local apps. Wechat is an analog for the Facebook Messenger. You get used to it quickly as it has a simple interface – the key things here are chatting room and coinless money transfer system. Wechat Pay is a system for online money transferring which provides services like paying for goods at any store, no matter how big or small it is, transferring money or receiving money to your bank account. The use is simple: connect your Wechat app with your Chinese bank account and it automatically creates the personalized QR code. Just scan and pay/ receive. In this case, while having endless mobile data in your mobile device and the possibility of virtual transactions you can forget carrying wallets with cash!


Every challenge has a way out!

All in all, China has its own restrictions on Network and as a foreigner, you might find it too difficult or expensive to use. On the other hand, China offers some smart tools to offset limits for locals. Provision of the Wi-Fi and mobile data helps to implement some of the really convenient services for daily life. This might be an incentive to provide the Internet in a convenient way not only for locals but also for foreigners.



Pictures credits by Freepic