Who is Noel Smith? Noel Smith is the brainchild of three Americans in a bar. Despite having met over a decade ago in a third-tier city in northern China, it was only recently during a summer of libation-fueled discussions that we discovered our common desire to share our China stories with the world. Even though we come from various backgrounds, races, generations, and geographical locations, in China, we are the same. We are Noel Smith—the quintessential laowai.