Buying Mobile Phones in China

From ChinaExpat.Wiki

If you want to buy a phone that works well in China, the best place to buy it is in Hong Kong. Phones bought in the region usually come standard with the appropriate bands for use in Mainland China, but it is best to double-check on the particular model you are buying prior to purchasing.

Popular phones bought in Mainland China have restrictions placed on them that often severely limit their functionality. Even when you leave China, you may end up with a severely handicapped phone if you are forced to buy one in China.

iPhones[edit | edit source]

At present, iPhones sold in China do not support FaceTime audio or FaceTime group chat. These are blocked at the hardware level and will not work even when you take the phone out of China. iPhones bought out of China will not function completely as they do outside of China. To achieve a service closer to international service, users need to use a non-Chinese Apple account. This results in more options for usage but comes at the cost of higher fees as many Apple services and apps are cheaper in the China App Store.

Android[edit | edit source]

Because Google, Facebook, and a host of other services are blocked in China, Chinese Android phones usually do not have any of the services that link these. It is also difficult to impossible to install the functionality on a China-bought phone, even when you travel back to a place with unrestricted internet. For people after the full functionality of an Android phone, it is best to buy outside of China.