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Popular Websites Blocked in China by the Firewall

Popular Websites Blocked in China by the Great Firewall

 

As you may know, many popular foreign websites blocked in China bring troubles to frequent users of these sites.

The only way to access to these sites is with a proxy or with a VPN Service,

​This often causes a lot of inconvenience especially for foreign travelers, expats, staff working in foreign invested companies in China, and some small business owners dealing in foreign trade, who has got used to visit these websites.

What are these websites and why they are blocked in China?

Why Some Websites Are Blocked in China

If you don’t completely comply with the Chinese government’s regulations in censoring sensitive information, there’s a good chance the Great Firewall of China will shut you down.

Major reasons why some popular sites are blocked in China:

  • The website content violate Chinese law (including pornographic, gambling or terrorist content).
  • The site contains discordant elements, such as politically sensitive information.
  • Domestic DNS instability.
  • The IP of the website falls in the same IP segment of other blocked websites.

Be sure that you will not make these mistakes.

Websites in China: Blocked, Not Blocked?

 

Foreign Services / Websites Blocked in China

Google Maps, Best Maps App in China

We list these overseas popular websites/services which are blocked in China at the moment.

The list might be changing and it is just for reference.​

 

Foreign Services / Websites Working in China

Not all foreign websites/services are blocked, here are some typical popular foreign websites which are working fine in China. Some services can work in China with a local partner running a fully localized China business, like Skype.

China Local Websites/Services

The absence of most foreign popular websites leaves the opportunity for many internet startups in China.

Popular Websites Blocked in China

 

Social Media Platforms Blocked

 

Most major social networking platforms, blog platforms, Image sharing platforms and it is the biggest category of websites blocked in China.

  • Facebook: since July 2009
  • Twitter: from 2009 to present
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Google+: since July 2011
  • Tumblr
  • Snapchat
  • Picasa: from July 2009 to present
  • Plurk: from April 2009 to present
  • WordPress.com: from October 2011 to present
  • Blogspot: since May 2009, to present
  • Blogger
  • Flickr
  • SoundCloud
  • Hootsuite
  • Kakao Talk
  • Line
  • WhatsApp (partially from Jul. 2017)
  • Xing

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Social Media Platforms Working in China

 

  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • Wechat
  • Weibo
  • QQ

We only list some typical ones working in China.

 

Search Engines Blocked

 

  • Google
  • Duck Duck Go
  • Technorati: from July 2008 to present

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Search Engines Working

 

  • Baidu
  • 360
  • Sougou
  • Bing

 

Newspaper, News Agency Websites Blocked

  • The New York Times
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • The Economist
  • Bloomberg
  • Reuters
  • LeMonde
  • L’Equipe
  • Google News

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News Websites Working

  • CNN
  • BBC

 

Video Websites Blocked

 

  • Netflix
  • Youtube: from March 2009 to present
  • Vimeo
  • Hulu
  • DailyMotion

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Video Sharing Websites Working

  • Youku TuDou
  • Tencent Video
  • iQiyi
  • Sohu Video

 

Wiki / Knowledge Sharing Websites Blocked

 

  • Wikipedia
  • Wikileaks: since Nov 2010

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Wiki / Knowledge Sharing Websites Working

 

  • Quora
  • Zhihu
  • Baidu Baike
  • Hudong Baike

 

Work Tools/Services Blocked

Generally all Google services and many very nice web services are blocked.

Google Maps, Best Maps App in China

  • Gmail
  • Google Maps
  • Google Drive
  • Google Docs
  • Google Calendar
  • Dropbox: from May 2010
  • ShutterStock
  • iStockPhotos
  • WayBackMachine
  • many Proxy, and VPN sites.

Get ExpressVPN to Visit

Work Tools/Services Working

  • Google Translate
  • Evernote
  • Skype
  • Trello

 

Porn / Gambling / Illegal

All web sites with pornographic, gambling, terrorist & political sensitive content have been blocked.

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Apps Blocked

Without Google Play working in China, promoting Android apps in China is interesting and challenging since there are hundreds of Android app markets to choose from. Without a VPN you won’t be able to download any apps from Google Play.

 

  • Google Play
  • Apps for all the relevant websites and services mentioned to be blocked in this page.

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36 Things to Check Before Launching a Website in China

Launching a website in ChinaYou are probably quite stressful when launching a website in China, typically when it is your first time. Building a website that can sell in China requires a fully localized Chinese web design. A couple of things could go very, very wrong if you are not aware of the basic rules. Well, today you’re in for a […]
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Best VPNs for China

The Best VPNs for China

Some apps don’t work in China since they are blocked by the GFW.

It is a must to use a VPN service to access your Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, etc.

Consider buying a plan with Express VPN.

Continue Reading
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When Would a Chinese Consumer Buy from Your Web Store?

Attract Chinese Buyers to Your Online Shop

Now You can enter China market at a much lower cost with a significant number of potential Chinese cross-border online shoppers out there.

And it is pretty efficient.

It is true that China sells various types of goods around the world.

In the mean time, Chinese buers love western brands, esp. luxury goods, infant formulas, healthcare products, cosmetics, etc.

Chinese buyers want to access to more foreign brands in an easier way, and they are ready to pay a premium for high-end products.

It is the good timing to get more Chinese buyers.

You can fully localize your web store, you can provide direct shipping to China, you can support Chinese customer service.

When Would a Chinese Consumer Buy from Your Web Store?
When Would a Chinese Consumer Buy from Your Web Store?(Photo by Chao: In Southern Georgia, USA, Oct. 2016, I love the bales of the three little pigs)

When Would a Chinese Consumer Buy from Your Web Store?

Before expecting more orders from Chinese consumers, you need to ensure several things have been done on your web store.

Product

Is your product special or better than those already existing in the China market?

Price

Would the overall price be lower after the shipping, customs duty and foreign exchange losses?

Be clear and transparent in this.

Discount & Coupons

Chinese customers loves discounts and promotions.

Look at the amazing results of the past Singles’ day. See 2016 Singles’ Day: World’s Biggest Shopping Event

Experience

Would my shopping experience be as good as shopping with a Chinese merchants?

  • product display,
  • product description,
  • purchase process,
  • reviews etc

Language

Do you speak Chinese?

If you do not have a Chinese version, it is not a localized website from the very beginning.

Also, do you provide Chinese customer service?

A Working Chinese Website

Could I finish the registration and use the shopping cart without any troubles?

I could not even finish my registration in Delta Airline’s Chinese website. See Flying experience in My US Travel.

If customers can not use your website, how coule they buy?

You need to do the test all the time to correct the mistakes and improve the user experience.

Online Customer Service

Could I ask questions about products interactively while shopping?

It is common that Chinese merchants provide live chat around 16 hours per day.

Also, Could I talk to your representative in Chinese?

Currency Conversion

Could I know how much it is in Chinese Renminbi (Chinese local currency)?

Payment

Could I pay with my most convenient payment tool?

Typical popular payment options in China:

  • UnionPay
  • Alipay
  • WePay

Delivery

Would the fulfillment/delivery be hassle free and quick?

Do you support direct shipping?

The only reason I did not buy the boostapak car seat from Trunki official store is that they do not support direct shipping to China. See Finally, I Got A Trunki Hello Kitty Boostapak.

Do you support shipping if I am in a third tier city in China?

Guaranteed Genuine

How do you tell real from the fake ones?

It is the major reason why they buy from you.

Returns and After Sales Service

Could I return or replace my product?

Ensure you will be responsible even when you ship directly from your country of origin.

A good example is Emily’s New 3Doodler Start Pen , I got the replacement from their Hongkong branch after reporting the issue when there was some issue with the one I bought.

Though I bought the start kit from offline store at Brookstone in Boston, I definitely would love to buy the plastic strands and other new products from their official web store in the future.

Website Speed

Can I open your website?

Some foreign websites are loading very slow in China.

Be sure to test your website and you might consider change your hosting if it does not work well.

 

Chinese Localization Strategy

There seems a lot of work to do, and it is.

Some New Game Players in China Import eCommerce have done a good job, while many still need a lot of improvements.

Do your research and prepare a localization strategy if you don’t have a good one.

I help foreign business owners make a right China market entry strategy, it is mainly about localization, either for marketing or for operations.

I will diaganoze your website store to see how to improve the Chinese version.

We will spend some time in the research and analysis, together with some tests.

A good localization strategy is worth your investment before spending huge money in the marketing.

Let’s Chat if you need any help.

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Flying experience in My US Travel

My Flight to LA was Cancelled

On my flight from Shanghai to Los Angeles

Qunar

I booked my flight from PVG to LAX on Qunar and it was scheduled to departure in the evening on Oct. 17. 2016.

The airline is United Airlines. I went to their official website and booked the seats. Everything was perfect.

In the morning of Oct. 17, about 9 oclock in the morning, I got a call from a Qunar customer service representative, telling me my flight UA199 was cancelled, without knowing the reason as he claimed.

This guy does not sound like a professional customer service representative, and he spoke in a very strong accent which is quite rare in decent companies.

Because there were so many scamming stories about air tickets and poor experiences on online OTAs, I decided to verify this with the airline.

The flight status of UA199 was shown cancelled on United Airlines official website united.com, what to do next? No one tells me what to do.

The funny thing is, UA199 tickets could still be bought in several online travel agencies. And this lasted till its scheduled departure time.

I called the Qunar representative and they tell me they will handle it and come to me ASAP. ASAP sounds quite silly in this situation.

I did not even finish my packing for the travel, and all the appointments had been arranged in the States.

There was no response within 30 mins, so I called them again to another agent. repeating my story again, and again. And the response was still very slow.

Actually they came back to me later after I called UA, and it was funny that Qunar told me that they can not solve it and I should call UA to change my flight.

Refund from Qunar
Refund from Qunar

20 days later, I got the refund for the ticket from Qunar. This is really not good.

 

United Airlines

UA website: flght status
UA website: flght status

The customer service representative is a lady with a sweet voice, in Cantonese accent, but good mandarin.

She was quite polite and professional, making an apology and help me check the possible flight I can change to.

The problem is that there are not many choices, they can not change to other airliners like America Airlines or Delta but only their own, which means I should put off my schedule to fly the next day or take a longer tranfer flight, either way I would miss one day.

I prefer checking other airliners for the same day flights.

United Airlines promised to provide full refund if I decide to buy tickets from else where, but there will be no extra remedy, which sounds not reasonable and I really didn’t have time to argue on this.

 

New Flight, Not 787, No Free Seat

I didn’t want to buy tickets from Qunar anymore,

But, new problems came too 🙂

 

America Airlines

There is an earlier flight for me to book on AA.

American Airlines Chinese website loading all the time.
American Airlines Chinese website loading all the time.

I tried many times, but the website was just loading and loading.

I tried to load it on mobile phone, it was the same.

Forget it!

I checked the site today when I am writing this blog, the site is working.

 

Delta Airlines

It seems like a lesson for me to learn how to use the websites of all US airlines.

Now I was on the website of Delta Airlines.

Everything seemed fine, and it supports Chinese, too.

But (Again!), I could not finish the registration after at least 10 times trials, and I could not figure out the reason why.

Tried many times but failed with the registration on Delta Airlines Chinese website.
Tried many times but failed with the registration on Delta Airlines Chinese website.

They system told me either wrong address, or wrong phone number, or something else, just can not continue to the next step.

Who will use this website? I changed my strategy and set the website language to be English.

Tadaa, It worked

It just took me 20 seconds to complete the registration. I just could not imagine who did the Chinese website localization for them and who had successfully registered in the Chinese interface.

I bought tickets, but I have to pay extra for the seats so Leo and I can sit together.

Now we could follow my previous schedule, the departure time was slightly earlier than UA199.

Insurance Company

I bought the travel insurance from Starr Insurance. The policy covers a lot of things including delays and cancellations, but not the situation like mine.

 

Flying over the Pacific Ocean

The best flying experience for me is that I can keep my mobile phone on all the time.

The best flying experience for me is that I can keep my mobile phone on all the time.
The best flying experience for me is that I can keep my mobile phone on all the time.

It is interesting to feel the diversities in the international flights.

Most flight attendants here at Delta are aunties and grandmas, which is quite different than in other airliners in Asian countries.

The planes flew really fast and it took only a little bit more than 9 hours to arrive at LAX.

In the Delta plane from PVG to LAX
In the Delta plane from PVG to LAX

Domestic flights in US

SouthWest

We flew twice with Southwest during this travel.

Southwest is so popular in the States and taking its flight seems really like taking a bus in the air.

I was quite surprised by its open seat policy and a late check-in means you would not have much choice in finding a good seat.

It is easy to find some movies, dramas or live TV and you can watch just on your phone.

Southwest Airline plane
Southwest Airline plane
Southwest Airlines: open seat policy
Southwest Airlines: open seat policy

From Los Angeles to El Paso

Several American uncles are working as flight attendents.

They always simile, telling jokes all the time, making the short fly full of fun.

It seems there were only two asian faces in this flight.

One uncle asked me for a favor to help switch the language setting from Chinese to English for the new ipad the company gave him, it had been a week and he could not find someone to fix this.

I found it actually was Japanese but I managed to do it. When I told him it was Japanese, the uncle was really surprised how I can solve the problem.

Flying above the desert, we can see clearly what it is in the ground. Route No. 10 is there, We’d spent quite a long time on it in the next few days.

Flying above the desert, and Route No. 10
Flying above the desert, and Route No. 10
El Paso
El Paso

From Atlanta to New York

The best time for this journey is that I have got the best view of Philadelphia and New York City from above the sky. I have a bird’s view on the whole Manhatton, it is so real and so close. I can even the statue of Liberty.

heading for New York
heading for New York
bird's view on Manhatton
bird’s view on Manhatton
bird's view on Manhatton
bird’s view on Manhatton

Fly Over Canada, Russia

China Southern Airlines: Boston to Shanghai

It felt like being back China when you passed the hatch door.

It is a Chinese Arline and almost all of the passengers are Chinese.

The whole return journey was in the night, and took 15 hours, much longer than the flight we came to the States.

We don’t have WIFI, and I can not use my mobile phone.

There are not much choice in the movies. However, many people like them since there are Chinese subtitles.

China Southern Airlines from Boston to Shanghai
China Southern Airlines from Boston to Shanghai
Flying across Canada and Russia
Flying across Canada and Russia

 

Jet Leg

I felt nothing when I came to the US after the long distance fly.

But it was totally a different experience to be back.

I got up at around 3 or 4 oclock every morning in the first week.

 

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New Game Players in China Import eCommerce

A lot of foreign brands cost more in China, and Chinese shoppers tend to buy many products from overseas.

With the attractive potential ahead, new players joined this game without hesitate.

This May, I attended the 5th Cross-border eCommerce conference China 2016 in Shanghai. The meeting lasted two days, the first day focusing on import and the 2nd day focusing on export.

The one sitting left to me is a senior director from a top newspaper in China,  they are also working on a cross-border eCommerce program. A big challenge for them is the difficulty in recruiting qualified talents with experience in this field.

Actually I’d been in the same event twice last year. We can see obvious changes in a short time, and more new faces in the market.

 

 the 5th Cross-border eCommerce conference China 2016 in Shanghai
the 5th Cross-border eCommerce conference China 2016 in Shanghai

Continue reading New Game Players in China Import eCommerce

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Please Help Build My Profile in China

Build my profile in China In China, football is on it’s way up and many overseas independent contractors want to be a part of it. Pedro, A previous professional football player in England come to me for a proper China market entry strategy and some advice. Pedro wants to build his own profile and expand […]
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Finally, I Got A Trunki Hello Kitty Boostapak

Emily, my daughter dislikes her car seat since it becomes uncomfortable when she grows up. We also found it quite difficult to adjust and occupies too much space. So we decided to change a lite one which is easy to carry and set up. But all car seats in China physical store are quite traditional like our existing one.

4 weeks ago, Vicky sent me a shopping list before my travel in North America and stressed that Trunki Hello Kitty Boostapak is priority No. 1.

A Challenge But I Made It

Trunki is quite popular in UK and Hongkong. There are many fake ones in the China market too.

For this type of car seat, Trunki is not available in most American physical stores.

Though we can find standard pink and green version in many web stores, Hello kitty is quite difficult to find.

I failed to complete the mission in the United States and finally got the car seat from Taobao back home in China. Yesterday it arrived and Emily loved it.

Most important thing is, It took me less than 48 hours to get it.

Finally, I Got A Trunki Hello Kitty Boostapak
Finally, I Got A Trunki Hello Kitty Boostapak

In the Southern US

It was quite a busy business travel and I planned to go shopping in big cities like New York, and Boston, the last stops before going back home.

For the first two weeks, I’d been across all nine southern states of US and two states in north Mexico. We were driving all the way and it was quite convenient to be anywhere.

In Tuscon, Arizona, We stepped into a Walmart 24 hour store, I found many types of folded car seats. and they are not expensive at all. Actually, I thought I can buy any of them to finish my shopping task though I could not find Trunki products. However, I was not sure whether Emily will like it and I had plenty of time to find the one in the list.

Continue reading Finally, I Got A Trunki Hello Kitty Boostapak

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How Do Chinese Online Shoppers Buy From Overseas?

How Do Chinese Online Shoppers Buy From Overseas?

 

Chinese shoppers have been engaged in cross-border import trade over recent years.

Buying overseas products is generally referred to as “HaiTao” in Chinese.

“Hai” (Sea) means overseas, “Tao” (Search) means find and purchase.

 

How Do Chinese Online Shoppers Buy From Overseas?
How Do Chinese Online Shoppers Buy From Overseas?

Official Brand Web Store

It is the most reliable way for Chinese consumers to buy if they know your brand.

In the beginning, most foreign e-Commerce sites don’t offer the direct shipping service to China. Chinese consumers bought through overseas e-commerce sites, and ship the purchased products back to China through intermediary shipping companies.

Language barriers, different payment, customer service and after-sales service are also obstacles for average Chinese consumers.

Customer service is critical for international buyers, I am sharing my story about Emily’s New 3Doodler Start Pen .

 

Continue reading How Do Chinese Online Shoppers Buy From Overseas?

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Develop Your China Online Payment Strategy

Develop Your China Online Payment Strategy

You need to have a payment strategy when you step further to eCommerce in China.

The decline rate for Chinese merchants is quite high in online credit card payment, and some websites do not even accept Chinese credit cards. This made Chinese consumers impossible to shop buy themselves in many situations.

 

develop you China online payment strategy
develop you China online payment strategy

Now an increasing number of foreign retailers allow Chinese consumers to pay through Alipay, Union Pay which are quite comfortable for them. Continue reading Develop Your China Online Payment Strategy