Longan is an economically important sub-tropical fruit tree native to southern China and southeast Asia. Its production has been affected significantly by climate change, but the underlying reasons remain unclear. Herein, the potential growing areas of longan were simulated by the Maxent model under current and future conditions. The results showed excellent prediction performance, with an area under curve of >0.9 for model training and validation. The key environmental variables identified were mean temperature of the coldest quarter, minimum temperature of the coldest month, annual mean temperature and mean temperature of the driest quarter. The optimum suitable areas of longan were found to be concentrated mainly in south-western, southern and eastern China, with a slight increase in optimum suitable areas under two different emission scenarios of three global climatic models. However, its future potential growing areas were predicted to differ among provinces or cities. Suitable growing areas in Sichuan, Jiangxi, Guangxi and Chongqing will first increase and then remain approximately unchanged between the 2050s and 2070s; those in Yunnan, Guangdong and Hainan will remain approximately unchanged from the present to the 2070s; those in Fujian and Guizhou will fluctuate slightly from the present to the 2050s and then increase to the 2070s; those in Taiwan will first decrease and then increase. In summary, the major future production areas of longan will be Guangdong, Hainan and Guangxi provinces, followed by Chongqing, Yunnan, Fujian and Taiwan. Thus, this study serves as a useful guide for the management of longan.