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How to Watch Netflix in China with a VPN in 2024

Last updated: June 14, 2021

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The Great Wall of China was built with cement, rocks, bricks, and dirt with the purpose of protecting the northern border of China from intruders.

The Great Firewall of China serves as a defense against a different kind of intruder — the Internet. This wall isn’t made of bricks, but of virtual blocks that prevent access to foreign websites — Netflix, YouTube, Facebook, among others — and their entry into Chinese territory.

So, how do you get through this virtual fortification to access blocked content, like Netflix, in China?

With a virtual battering ram, of course — a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

In a Hurry? Here's How to Watch Netflix in China

How to Watch Netflix in China Using a VPN or SmartDNS

Watching Netflix in China is nearly impossible because of its strict geo-blocking policies. Any attempt to access the Netflix library with a Chinese IP address will be rejected and met with a really annoying error message.

But almost nothing is truly impossible these days if you have a good enough hack. Using Smart DNS or a reliable VPN service in China can help you circumvent Netflix’s tight restrictions.

SmartDNS bypasses geo-blocks by tricking Netflix into thinking you are watching their media from another country other than China.

A good VPN not only disguises your foreign IP address, but sends all of your traffic through an encrypted tunnel, so you, your information, and your activity will all be safe and secure from hackers, the government, or attacks. SmartDNS does not offer the same level of security and privacy as using a VPN.

Why Does Netflix Put Geo Censorship on Some Content?

The main reason that Netflix puts geo-censorship on their content is $.

Music, movies, TV series and other entertainment are subject to licensing agreements. Netflix works with content providers to make licensing deals that help you access the content you want to watch.

Licensing deals are meant to protect both the content and the content producer. All licensing deals contain royalty arrangements that earn the content producer a percentage of the earnings.

Netflix Has No Licensing Deal in China

Netflix has established different licensing deals with different countries around the world, which explains why changing Netflix regions gives you access to different content.

China, however, is an outlier. Netflix has no licensing deal with China, so no money can be made from streaming entertainment in its country.

Few other countries (I’m looking at you, North Korea and Syria) are as selective about what is allowed on their internet.

So, heres the thing: Netflix attempts to block the use of VPNs in China so it can protect its licensing agreement with production companies — but you can outsmart the system if you use a VPN.

How to Decide which VPN to Use for Streaming Netflix in China?

Not every VPN will have the ability to evade the Netflix streaming platform’s detection measures. Even fewer can plow through the Great Firewall of China.

Because a VPN can be used to access censored materials, China actively blocks most connections. However, there are some VPNs that are sly enough to slip through the cracks in the Great Wall.

Aside from looking for a VPN that can find its way around the Netflix and China restrictions, it is important to make sure any VPN you choose meets the following criteria:

☑️ Does it bypass Netflix and other streaming sites’ restrictions?
☑️ Does it work effectively and reliably in China?
☑️ Does it provide fast connections suitable for streaming in HD
☑️ Does it have a large network of server locations (in the country you want to access)?
☑️ Does it have strong encryption and security features?
☑️ Does it have a no-logs policy?
☑️ Does it have readily available and knowledgeable customer support?

ExpressVPN checks all these boxes, and more, which is why it is the VPN we recommend for unblocking Netflix in China, and for general use.

Can I Use a Free VPN to Stream Netflix in China?

Finding a free VPN that can unblock Netflix alone is unlikely. But finding one that can give you access to Netflix, and unblock restrictions in China is near impossible.

It takes a lot of time and resources to find ways to outsmart Netflix’s offensive on VPNs. Free VPNs have less budget to continually find new ways around these blocks and ways to get through China’s Great Firewall.

If by some miracle, you find a VPN that is free and able to get past Netflix and China, there will likely be other issues that you will face. Free VPNs often have slower, unreliable connections, and, because they are not making money from a subscription fee, they often sell customer data to third parties, compromising user privacy and security.

Even though there some good free VPNs for China, the best option is to find a VPN that is affordable, but still proven effective at unblocking these geo-restrictions.

3 Best VPNs to Unblock Netflix in China 

Want to watch Netflix on your next business trip to China? Here are the 3 Netflix VPNs that we found most successful at unblocking Netflix in China:

Devices compatible with ExpressVPN

No matter how much research I do, ExpressVPN always comes out on top as the best VPN server around. With over 3,000 servers, Express is a streaming giant with rocket-fast speeds and unparalleled reliability when it comes to unblocking tv shows and movies.

With any movies I streamed, the image was always clear and I never experienced any buffering or lag.

Of the many US servers that I tried, none gave me trouble to watch Netflix with ExpressVPN, and I was able to stream endlessly because of their unlimited bandwidth.

Privacy-wise, it is good to note that ExpressVPN’s headquarters is away from the 14 eyes countries, in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), where data protection laws are not binding.

You can try Express VPN with no strings attached with its 30-day money-back guarantee. If you need support, you can chat live with its customer support 24/7 for help or a full refund.


  1. Lightening-fast streaming
  2. Great for watching Netflix in China
  3. Strong security and privacy features
  4. Five simultaneous device connections
  5. 30-day cancellation period
  6. Unlimited bandwidth


  1. One of the most costly VPN providers

2. NordVPN

Devices compatible with NordVPN

While Express is consistently at the top, NordVPN is one of the best VPNs and is never far behind. Nord has a gigantic server network, with over 5,500 servers worldwide, ensuring that its streaming services are fast and always reliable. Its large number of US servers makes it less likely for your bandwidth to be throttled while streaming because there is less crowding on their servers.

You can connect up to 6 devices on a single NordVPN account, and you will still be able to watch any show with no buffering or lag, and super quick connectivity.

If you are worried that the Nord VPN services may not be right for you, its risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee gives you a way to try out the VPN service for free, no strings attached.


  1. Bypasses Netflix geo-restrictions
  2. Double VPN — advanced security
  3. 30-day money-back guarantee
  4. Great for watching Netflix in China
  5. Unlimited bandwidth
  6. Up to 6 device connections


  1. Not as fast as ExpressVPN
  2. No free trial

Devices compatible with Surfshark

Surfshark has over 1,700 servers around the world with more than 20 in the USA, each of which has been able to consistently break through Netflix’s geo-blocks (for example we were able to unblock Japanese Netflix outside Japan).

Surfshark also offers unlimited bandwidth which helps make sure that Netflix streaming is always clear and free of any buffering and lag.

Aside from being fast and reliable, Surfshark allows unlimited simultaneous connections to one user account. This is a huge asset that the other VPNs don’t offer.

You can test this VPN out for free with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you have any issues that arise, its 24/7 live-chat service has never let me down. And, Surfshark is the most affordable of these VPNs, so if you are looking to pay the least but still get good quality, this is your best bet.


  1. Unlimited simultaneous connections
  2. 30-day money-back guarantee
  3. Unlimited bandwidth
  4. Great for watching Netflix in China
  5. Most affordable VPN


  1. The slower of the top VPNs
  2. Smaller server network

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Is It Legal to Use a VPN in China?
China has no formal laws barring private individuals from using Virtual Private Networks. That being said, Chinese authorities make it hard to get a hold of a VPN service. VPN provider websites are blocked by the government. VPN apps have been removed from Apple and Android app stores. On top of this, many VPNs simply don’t function in China due to server blacklists and VPN detection technology.


Only the best VPNs can help break through China’s virtual wall to give you access to watch Netflix programs that are blocked in China.

So, if you are looking to watch Netflix in Hong Kong, throughout China, or really anywhere in the world, using a VPN with fast speeds, a large server network, and the ability to circumvent geo-blocking is a must.

The winner: Of all the choices, ExpressVPN is my top choice for watching Netflix in China because it always delivered amazing speeds for streaming with no buffering, and always let me stream shows that were initially blocked in China.

Check out our latest discounts and coupons to get the best deals for VPN services if you want to watch Netflix in China.

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