Communication & Using the Internet in Nanjing

Hopefully, by the time most read this, the concept of VPN will not be news. Without it, there shall be no Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Whatsapp. And may others as decreed by the Chinese government.

In their place, Microsoft has invested too much in China to not have good relations. Hence, their search engine, Bing, offers similar results to Google, minus the news element.

When out and about in Nanjing, you will of course be reliant on your phone’s connection to the 4G network. All well and good until your device’s mobile coverage runs out of money. What’s needed then is a nearby wireless network. A convenience store will do nicely.

The magic words you then need for this are simply “无线上网” (wu2 xian4 shang4 wang3; wireless internet access). Say this to most shopkeepers and they will let you use their wifi in order that you may put money in your phone to be connected to the 4G network.

As to 5G, just as in much of China, the super-high-speed net is also a little super unavailable. That said, Nanjing was the first city in China to make 5G coverage available at every Metro station, but only at platform level, i.e. just for ticket holders.

On to internet sensibilities. During your stay in Nanjing, you will undoubtedly strike up in-person conversations that will lead to the online equivalent. At any point therein, your conversation may start to send “stickers”; simplistic clipart intended to convey meaning, more than likely animated with Chinese characters.

It can be initially daunting, but think of them as a local equivalent to the western phenomenon of memes. But thanks to The Nanjing’s guide to the so-called “Biaoqing”, you will soon be handling them like a pro.

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