Anyone Else in China?

Hi Team,

I’m totally new here so forgive me if I’ve made some horrible faux pas by asking a question so soon :slight_smile:

I’m a kiwi but have been a digital nomad for over three years now, and have spent the last year or so in China, currently in Shanghai.

Are there many other digital nomads in this part of the world? Most of the international friends I’ve made locally are students or corpo expats, I’ve not come across that many entrepreneurial / nomadic types here - the visa and internet issues certainly make this understandable, though the country very much rewards long term travel.

Would be curious to see if there are many other like minded folk here?


Hey Nathan!

My wife and I aren’t currently in China but we’ve spent about 6 months in Beijing on-and-off over the last couple years.

Would love to check out Shanghai, just haven’t gotten around to it yet! Hear there’s a decent co-working scene there and it looks like a sweet city for daily life.

Might try to come scope it out for a couple weeks later this year!

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Thanks for the reply Nick! How did you find Beijing as base?
Almost every foreigner I know who lives there seems to love the place, but again that’s mostly expats / students instead of ‘nomads.’

Daily life here is pretty good for ‘digital nomad’ style work compared to other Chinese cities I’ve visited, great cafes (and let’s be honest, bars) to work and write from, and finding a tolerable wifi connection is normally possible. Certainly an expensive place though, so my next destination will probably be somewhere cheaper :slight_smile:

Hi Nathan!

I’m Chinese and I grew up in a city near Shanghai. I recently left the US after living there for 5 years. I’m back visiting my family for a couple of months. I’m a newbie digital nomad, still exploring different options. I’m curious to know if there are other DNs in the area as well :slight_smile:


你好 Meiyi!

Great to hear from you and welcome back to China.

Although Shanghai is a thriving expat city, I haven’t gotten a sense of it as much of a digital nomad hub. Cost of living is pretty high compared to other Asian cities, internet is not great and the visa issues can be complex… despite this though I’ve found it more than worth it! As @nickdanforth mentioned above I feel that there are more DN types around Beijing, certainly most other freelance writers I know in the country are based there.

You must have an interesting perspective on this as a local, having grown up here but spent many years in the US.


One good web resource for foreigners in China is Raoul’s China Expat Saloon. Nothing specifically for nomads, but lots of long-term residents & some good advice. I’ve left China and am no longer a regular, but you may see the odd post from me, user name ‘Pashley’.

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Thanks Pashley, I’ll check it out

你好 Nathan!

I’m glad you’ve found the DN experience in Shanghai rewarding despite all the challenges! It’s interesting to hear that there are more DNs in Beijing. I wonder if it’s mainly because they’re drawn to the long history of the city?

Indeed, coming back to China has been an interesting experience. Over the years my Chinese got a bit rusty, now it’s coming back quickly, but after having lived here for 2 months, English is still my primary language, it’s still the language that will jump out of my mouth if I react to things subconsciously. I have experienced quite some counter-cultural shocks but I’m finding the balance between cultures now. Jumping the line, fine; lack of personal space, fine; chaos, that’s fine too. I am awestruck by the progress this country has made in infrastructure and technology, but I’m also deeply concerned about its rising nationalism and racism and its lack of diversity. It’s been an interesting experience :slight_smile:


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I’m a DN in Beijing, though I run an all-remote startup rather than lifestyle business. I do like the city life here, and I’m just starting to connect with the local startup scene. I haven’t run into other DNs, but I don’t use coworking places. I just know students (since I studied Chinese for a semester here). I’m aware of the corpo-expat types, but don’t know any.

If it exists, there’s a wechat group for it! So keep asking around :smile:

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Hi Natahan,

I was such a corpo expat in Shanghai for two years before leaving to South East Asia and becoming a DN a year ago. I must say I found the (international) internet too weak to stay there and work online. Besides that, I also wasn’t that happy there (air pollution was one of the biggest issues for me). But that wasn’t your question. Just wanted to suggest checking related groups on I found some entrepreneur meetups and attended one or two. Was quite interesting, although not many of the members were nomads as such (there might be some though and it comes the closest to the nomad scene that I find in SEA).

Good luck,


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Thanks Phil! I definitely agree with your comments on Shanghai and actually have the same plan re moving to South East Asia next year and getting a bit more nomadic (ie changing home every couple of months rather than every year). Thanks for the tip re meetup!

I was in China - Shanghai and Shenzhen this year just for a few weeks for a business thing. I’m not aware of any specific DN scene in China. However, in Shanghai there are many expats so I would suggest looking up expat groups and teachers. I met up with a friend whilst there who’s a teacher and she gave me the lowdown on expat scene there. I think it would be easy enough to integrate so long as you were planning to stay a few months as opposed to a few weeks.

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Hi Nathan,

From experience, Shenzhen and Guangzhou have a lot of expat/DN entrepreneurs manufacturing or sourcing locally. I’ve met a lot of people through Enter China.

I’ve visited both cities a fair amount over the past few years. Shenzhen seems more livable and diverse. If I had to pick one for a longer-term stay, I’d go with Shenzhen.

Hope that helps. I’ll be back in China in mid-November.