Nearly every traveller or business person has heard of the Great Firewall of China; however, not all are familiar with how far the internet restrictions reach.
Not only do they wish to stop anyone from talking about the Chinese Government in bad ways, but they also go farther and put blocks on many day-to-day applications we take for granted.
Trying to stay in touch with friends and family can be a challenge, but luckily, it isn’t impossible.
In the rest of this guide, you can find out how does WhatsApp work in China. You can also find what other apps you may have issues with, along with how to bypass the ones blocked in China.
Do all this, and you have no reason to put a Chinese sim card in your phone.
Why China Doesn’t Use WhatsApp?
If you think you can use Whats App in China, you may be shocked to find it has been blocked since 2017. It was all a part of stopping any talk of riots and oppression leaking to the West.
Aside from this, they also banned a large number of Western apps as they thought they were a bad influence on Chinese citizens.
Because of this, you can find trying to use a network connection, a Wi-Fi connection, or if you have a Chinese sim, WhatsApp does not work.
Which Apps Are Banned in China?
China has been blocking thousands of websites, and the figures are well more than 8,000. The filtering system is known as “The Great Firewall” is to enforce Chinese censorship on internet use. App use is also affected. (Read Does Gmail Work In China)
They are doing this to allegedly protect Chinese citizens from outside influences and misinformation, which may be detrimental to the Chinese Government in Beijing or the country.
You can find some top-rated internet companies you can use for your work or leisure, and that may be absent and blocked by the Chinese if you travel to China.
If you want to conduct business in China, you may struggle to find services you can use.
- Gmail e-mail, Google Services (Drive, Docs, Maps, etc.), Google Play Store, and more
- Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive
- Slack, Hootsuite, and more.
News and Media
Nearly every news or media outlet is banned in China. Here’s a few of the major names.
- New York Times, BBC, Financial Times
- Wall Street Journal, Reuters, CNN
- TIME Magazine
Internet Search Engines
It is possible to use Bing, although your search results are heavily censored.
- Google, Amazon
- Wikipedia, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo
Most social media platforms and messaging are blocked in China, and many new ones are added every year.
- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
- Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest
- Quora, Tumblr, Reddit
Streaming or uploading with any of the popular services can be a struggle.
- YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion
- Twitch, Spotify, Pandora, and Soundcloud
Miscellaneous Blocked Services
WordPress.com, Blogspot, Medium along with VOIP services are also blocked. Skype can work, yet connections suffer, and the call quality can’t deteriorate. Viber and Google Hangouts are not so lucky. (Read Does Instagram Work In China)
What Messaging Apps Work in China?
Messaging apps overtake the use of a phone call to stay in touch. Like Facebook Messenger, many use that and never use the phone to make a voice call.
However, just like social media, Messenger from Facebook in China is also blocked and can only be used outside China.
Inside China, you will find most people using WeChat, while similar in a certain way to WhatsApp, you may still struggle to use WeChat to communicate with friends back home as you may face censorship through the Great Firewall.
It is much easier to say which message apps let you access another country, and there are not many. The regular ones here are all blocked.
- WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger
- Telegram, Line, KaKao Talk, and Signal
Can Foreigners Use WhatsApp in China?
So far, we have found the answer to does Instagram work in China (No), and it is the same for WhatsApp in China. It may sound like a contradiction, but you can use WhatsApp in China to follow some basic principles. (Read Watch CNN Live)
How to Unblock WhatsApp in China
The secret to using WhatsApp in China is, you need a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service, provider. While many VPN’s can’t bypass the Firewall, there is a handful that does this reliably.
You also need to make sure you obtain your VPN outside of China, because as soon as you get inside, you may not be able to download and sign up for a VPN.
A VPN will change your IP address to that of one from the server you select. Besides, they use military grade end to end encryption. Thus, if you had this on your phone with a China mobile sim, even they couldn’t see what you were using.
In the same way, you could be using WeChat and connect to anyone not in China if you so wished.
The best VPNs such as Express VPN have servers in close vicinity to China, such as Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. It is these that enable access to mainland China.
Using an easy to use VPN is the best way when planning a trip as long as you have internet access. All you need to do is connect to one of the servers in the three locations, and WhatsApp works as if you were back home.
Using this method, you have even more security, and the China systems won’t see what you are using to communicate.
The best VPN here tops most reviews and has the best app for a wide range of devices. It is easy to get, and you can do so in a few minutes.
Head to the website, pick your plan, and pay. All you add is your email address for confirmation, and you are good to go.
Here’s how to use WhatsApp using a VPN.
- Download a VPN
- Install a VPN on your devices
- Open to use a VPN on your device
- Select Hong Kong or one of the other VPN server locations
- Hit connect
- Once connected, open and start using WhatsApp, which is no longer blocked in China
Like others in the best VPNs category, you get a 30-day money-back guarantee to see how easy it is using a VPN. Once you head off, you will find it is the best way to unblock WhatsApp in China.