A tech tourist's guide to Beijing

Welcome to Beijing!

Commercial and free VPN software is widely available. OpenVPN works for both Linux and Windows, although the Linux version is easier to configure. StrongVPN offers VPN service for $US15 per month, although there are less expensive VPN solutions available. Note that most proxy and VPN software may slow Internet access in Beijing considerably, so it may work well for reading blocked sites, though not for watching video.

Wi-Fi hotspots and "Wireless Beijing": One area where Beijing outpaces many rival cities -- including in the U.S. -- is in the wide availability of free Wi-Fi hotspots. Many Starbucks Coffee locations, along with cafes and restaurants including The Bookworm, Sequoia Cafe and outlets of Pacific Coffee, a Hong Kong-based chain, offer Wi-Fi.

Operated by Chinacomm, "Wireless Beijing" is designed to offer free connectivity to visitors during the Olympic Games, later becoming a fee-based mobile Internet service. Coverage areas during the Olympics include Beijing's Central Business District (CBD, one of the Beijing municipal government's favorite acronyms), the Financial Street area of western Beijing, and Zhongguancun, the city's hi-tech area. Excluded is the Olympic Park -- Wireless Beijing wasn't given access to the park's light poles to hang transmitters and repeaters due to security concerns.

Results in using Wireless Beijing have been decidedly mixed. Staff from Azalea Networks, which is providing most of the hardware for the project, said that the signal would be most easily detected in Zhongguancun and Financial Street.

However, in Beijing's Chaoyang District in the CBD, IDG News Service only succeeded in accessing the service once in seven different spots, using a 2G Apple iPhone. Users must first register via the login page, although reading this from a mobile device is difficult. Efforts to access the site, to create an account before going mobile, from fixed line connections both in Beijing and outside the city failed.

Tech shopping: While Beijing isn't Tokyo for goods unavailable in other markets, it can offer good prices on parts especially. So many technology products are made in China, that they are sold within the country cheaply and reliably.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Steven Schwankert

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?