Setting Up Shop in China: A Digital Nomad’s Workspace Guide
China offers a fascinating blend of ancient traditions and modern innovation, making it an attractive destination for digital nomads looking to set up shop. With its booming economy, vibrant culture, and diverse landscapes, China provides numerous opportunities for remote workers to immerse themselves in a unique work environment. In this guide, we will explore the essentials of setting up a digital nomad workspace in China, including accommodation options, coworking spaces, internet connectivity, and more.
When it comes to finding accommodation in China, there are several options available for digital nomads:
- Apartments: Renting an apartment is a popular choice for long-term stays. Websites like Airbnb, Ziroom, and 58.com offer a wide range of apartments in various cities across China.
- Hotels: For shorter stays or those who prefer the convenience of hotel services, there are numerous hotels available in major cities. Some popular hotel chains in China include Marriott, Hilton, and InterContinental.
- Hostels and Guesthouses: Budget-conscious digital nomads can opt for hostels or guesthouses, which offer affordable accommodation options with a social atmosphere. Websites like Hostelworld and Booking.com provide listings for hostels and guesthouses in China.
China has seen a rapid growth in coworking spaces in recent years, catering to the needs of digital nomads and remote workers. Some popular coworking spaces in China include:
- WeWork: WeWork has multiple locations in major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. They offer flexible membership options and a vibrant community of professionals.
- URWork: URWork is another prominent coworking space provider in China, with branches in various cities. They offer a range of amenities, including meeting rooms and networking events.
- Naked Hub: Naked Hub provides stylish coworking spaces with a focus on collaboration and community. They have locations in Shanghai, Beijing, and other cities.
Reliable internet connectivity is crucial for digital nomads. In China, you can expect good internet speeds in most urban areas. However, it’s important to note that certain websites and online services may be restricted due to internet censorship. To ensure a stable and secure connection, consider the following options:
- Local SIM Cards: Purchasing a local SIM card with a data plan from providers like China Mobile, China Unicom, or China Telecom will give you access to mobile internet.
- VPN: Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help bypass internet censorship and ensure secure browsing. Popular VPN services like ExpressVPN and NordVPN are commonly used by digital nomads in China.
- Cafes and Coworking Spaces: Many cafes and coworking spaces in China offer free Wi-Fi for customers. This can be a convenient option for remote work, especially if you’re on the move.
Getting around China efficiently is essential for digital nomads. Here are some transportation options to consider:
- Taxi Services: Taxis are readily available in most cities and can be hailed from the street or through ride-hailing apps like Didi Chuxing.
- Rideshares: Apps like Didi Chuxing and Meituan Dache offer rideshare services similar to Uber. They are a convenient and affordable way to travel within cities.
- Public Transportation: China has an extensive public transportation network, including buses, subways, and trains. Public transportation is generally affordable and efficient.
Exploring the Culture
China’s rich cultural heritage offers endless opportunities for digital nomads to immerse themselves in unique experiences. Here are some cultural highlights to explore:
- Museums: Visit world-class museums like the National Museum of China in Beijing or the Shanghai Museum to delve into China’s history and art.
- Historical Sites: Explore iconic landmarks such as the Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Army in Xi’an, or the Forbidden City in Beijing.
- Traditional Markets: Experience the vibrant atmosphere of traditional markets, such as the Yuyuan Bazaar in Shanghai or the Silk Market in Beijing, where you can shop for local handicrafts and souvenirs.
China’s diverse landscapes offer numerous opportunities for outdoor adventures. Here are some natural gems to discover:
- The Yellow Mountains: Explore the breathtaking scenery of the Yellow Mountains in Anhui Province, known for its granite peaks, hot springs, and ancient pine trees.
- Zhangjiajie National Forest Park: Discover the stunning sandstone pillars and lush vegetation of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, which served as inspiration for the floating mountains in the movie “Avatar.”
- Li River: Cruise along the picturesque Li River in Guilin, surrounded by karst mountains and picturesque countryside.
Shopping and Entertainment
China offers a plethora of shopping and entertainment options. Here are some popular destinations:
- Shopping Malls: Explore modern shopping malls like the Oriental Plaza in Beijing or the IFC Mall in Shanghai, where you can find international brands and local boutiques.
- Street Markets: Wander through bustling street markets like the Nanjing Road in Shanghai or the Wangfujing Street in Beijing, known for their vibrant atmosphere and street food.
- Acrobatics Shows: Enjoy mesmerizing acrobatics performances at renowned venues like the Shanghai Circus World or the Chaoyang Theatre in Beijing.
China’s diverse regional cuisines offer a gastronomic adventure for food-loving digital nomads. Here are some must-try dishes:
- Peking Duck: Indulge in the famous Peking Duck, a roasted duck dish served with pancakes, scallions, and hoisin sauce.
- Xiaolongbao: Sample the delicate steamed soup dumplings, filled with juicy meat and savory broth.
- Sichuan Hot Pot: Brave the fiery flavors of Sichuan cuisine with a hot pot experience, where you can cook a variety of ingredients in a spicy broth.
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China offers a range of living costs depending on the city and lifestyle. Here are some approximate monthly expenses:
- Accommodation: Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in major cities can range from $500 to $1,500.
- Food: Eating out at local restaurants can cost around $3 to $10 per meal, while groceries for cooking at home can cost approximately $100 to $300 per month.
- Transportation: Public transportation costs are relatively affordable, with subway rides starting at around $0.30.
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Before traveling to China, it’s important to understand the visa requirements. Here are the most common visa types for digital nomads:
- Tourist Visa (L Visa): Allows for short-term stays of up to 90 days for tourism purposes. This visa does not permit employment or business activities.
- Business Visa (M Visa): Suitable for those engaging in business activities or attending conferences. It allows for longer stays and multiple entries.
- Work Visa (Z Visa): Required for those planning to work in China. It is necessary to obtain a job offer and sponsorship from a Chinese employer.
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Setting up shop as a digital nomad in China offers a unique blend of work and cultural experiences. From finding suitable accommodation and coworking spaces to exploring the rich history and natural wonders, China has much to offer remote workers. Remember to check visa requirements, ensure reliable internet connectivity, and embrace the culinary delights and diverse landscapes that make China an exciting destination for digital nomads.
- Airbnb – www.airbnb.com
- Ziroom – www.ziroom.com
- 58.com – www.58.com
- Marriott – www.marriott.com
- Hilton – www.hilton.com
- InterContinental – www.ihg.com
- Hostelworld – www.hostelworld.com
- Booking.com – www.booking.com
- WeWork – www.wework.com
- URWork – www.urwork.cn
- Naked Hub – www.nakedhub.com
- China Mobile – www.chinamobileltd.com
- China Unicom – www.chinaunicom.com
- China Telecom – www.chinatelecom-h.com
- ExpressVPN – www.expressvpn.com
- NordVPN – www.nordvpn.com
- Didi Chuxing – www.xiaojukeji.com
- Meituan Dache – www.meituan.com
- National Museum of China – www.chnmuseum.cn
- Shanghai Museum – www.shanghaimuseum.net
- Great Wall of China – www.chinagreatwall.co
- Terracotta Army – www.bmy.com.cn
- Forbidden City – www.dpm.org.cn
- Yuyuan Bazaar – www.yuyuantm.com
- Silk Market – www.silkmarket.cn
- Yellow Mountains – www.huangshan.com
- Zhangjiajie National Forest Park – www.zhangjiajienationalforestpark.com
- Li River – www.lirivercruise.com
- Oriental Plaza – www.orientalplaza.com.cn
- IFC Mall – www.ifc.com.cn
- Shanghai Circus World – www.circusworld.sh.cn
- Chaoyang Theatre – www.chaoyangtheatre.com