Foreigners may apply for a SIM card at a telecom provider store using their passport or a foreigner's permanent residence ID card.
The three main telecom operators in China are China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom. All three provide landline, mobile phone, and broadband Internet services.
Foreigner-friendly telecoms services
China Telecom offers foreigner-friendly telecoms services for foreigners in Shanghai. The company's customer hotline offers services in both Chinese and English, as well as express online services that allow customers to make quick online enquiries. Customers can also complete real-name authentication and apply for services offline at China Telecom stores.
In Shanghai, all of China Telecom's tier 1-3 stores are able to handle business for foreigners, who should use their passport for identification.
Online express services in Chinese and English
Step 1: Scan the QR code below with WeChat and add the online service agent to your contacts;
Step 2: Send the required personal information to the service agent and specify which tariff you want to purchase;
Step 3: Make an appointment to complete real-name authentication and finalize your purchase in store.
Recommended business halls for offline services
WeChat is China's most frequently-used, free chat app. It offers video and voice calls, social media sharing features, electronic payments, and much more.
1. Download: Users can download and install WeChat from www.wechat.com, or install it through an official app store.
2. Sign up: After downloading and installing WeChat on your mobile phone, you can sign up for WeChat using your mobile number:
Open the WeChat app and tap Sign Up > Sign up with mobile > choose your region code, enter your mobile number, and set a password.
Note: You can only register one WeChat account per mobile number.
For more information, refer to WeChat Help Center (English service): https://help.wechat.com/.
Source: Shanghai Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs