Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube are very popular around the world, but due to geo-location restrictions and blocks imposed in China, this country has created its own alternatives. Hulu is only available in the United States and Japan at the moment. Netflix and YouTube are blocked in China, although thanks to a recent licensing agreement some of the content from Netflix may be available through one of the major local streaming services in China. The list of Chinese video sites includes iQiyi, Baidu Video and Youku. What sets video streaming sites in China apart from options that are popular in other countries is the fact that most of the content is available for free.
Video sites in China can offer licensed content without a subscription because they get their revenue through advertisement. They compete to offer the best content for free in order to gain more viewers. Thanks to the business model used by these streaming websites, users can get access to a great selection of free content produced not only in China, but around the world. The main players in the market of online video streaming are iQiyi, Youku Tudou, QQ video, Baidu Video, PPTV, LeTV and Sohu. They have licensing agreements with different production companies so you can find popular content from well-known networks like HBO.
How to watch Chinese video streaming websites from anywhere in the world
Since streaming platforms in China offer a great variety of premium content, they are an appealing option even for users in other countries. In order to get access to these sites, you can use a VPN service. Generally, people in China need to unblock content that is restricted in their location and a VPN is an effective solution for this purpose. However, a VPN is also useful for international users who want to access content that is only available in China. Once you connect to a VPN server in China, you will get a Chinese IP address, which makes you appear as if you were in that country.
When you appear as if you were in China, the content that is limited to that country will become accessible to you. Then you can simply search for a movie or TV show using Baidu, which is China’s alternative to Google. You can also search directly on the streaming website of your choice. Searches can be performed in English, although searching in Chinese is usually a better way to find what you want. You can find the Chinese name of the TV show or movie you are looking for by simply typing the English name in Baidu. You are likely to see the Chinese version in the search results. Douban.com or Baidu Baike are also good sources to find the Chinese name of the content you are looking for. Once you have it, you can copy and paste it into the search bar on the streaming site.
It is possible that in the results you get some short clips and trailers so check the length of the videos. Select the long ones as they are more likely to be full episodes and movies. Keep in mind that since Chinese video sites rely on advertisement, ad blockers are not effective with them. You just need to be patient and watch the ads, which sometimes may be shown even in the middle of the video. The majority of content produced in English, is presented with the original audio and Chinese subtitles. You will find popular TV series and movies with high quality.
Unblocking geo-restricted content with a VPN
Although you may be able to access websites and some of the content even without a VPN, you will come across error messages eventually since some videos are likely subject to geographical restrictions. In order to bypass them, you will need a VPN that has servers in China and that offers good speeds for streaming. Below you will find a list of the best VPN solutions to unblock content that is only available in China.
PureVPN is based in Hong Kong and it is known for offering servers in a large number of countries. You can connect to servers in over 140 countries and China is one of them. PureVPN stands out thanks to its advanced technology that allows you to defeat restrictions and its high encryption, which ensures that your sensitive data is protected. With PureVPN you can also enjoy top speeds for streaming content from all the popular platforms available in China. PureVPN doesn’t keep logs of your online activities and it is also an effective solution for users in China who want to bypass the Great Firewall.
VPNArea is another great option for users who want to unblock content from Chinese streaming sites like Youku and iQiyi. They have servers in 68 countries at the moment (including China, of course) and they are constantly adding new options to their network of servers. VPNArea keeps your data secure with advanced features like kill switch, anti-DNS leak, anti-WebRTC, and protection against IPv6 leaks.
TorGuard is ideal for defeating geographical blocks and it is designed to help you to protect your privacy when you are streaming or downloading content. TorGuard has stealth servers that enable users in China to get around censorship. They also can help users in other countries to access content that is usually only available in China. When you get a plan with TorGuard, you get Viscosity software for free and your data is protected with high encryption.
HideMyAss is still very popular in the industry thanks to its extensive selection of servers and its good speeds. It is a well-established solution that has been around for quite a while and it offers servers in more than 190 countries. In China, they have options in Beijing, Shenzhen and Chengdu, as well as over 400 IPs to choose from. Their plans are reasonably priced and HideMyAss also offers good customer support.