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Streaming Sites For Every Occasion

It can be hard to watch your favorite movies and TV shows behind the great firewall. We’re here to help.

One the greatest problems faced by foreigners coming to China is the lack of access to their streaming service of choice. Netflix, Hulu, Vimeo and Youtube are all either blocked by the Great Firewall or have geo-restrictions placed on them that ensure users cannot access their content. Of course, you could just resign yourself to native Chinese programming—but why should you?

One method to circumvent any restrictions in place is to employ the use of a VPN (virtual private network for those less tech-savvy). However, there is a much easier and convenient way to watch all your favorite shows and related content—use Chinese websites.

There are two main advantages to shifting your patronage to the native sites. Firstly, access speeds will be much faster and more reliable. Secondly, you can often find the content you want at a fraction of the price (what’s zero as a fraction?). The downside is that in China, unlike the Western world where there are only a couple big services for a specific niche, many different websites often fill the same gap in the market. This can make it hard to determine which site is most reliable for the content the user wants.

So to help, we’ve narrowed down some of the top video streaming sites in China and sorted them into categories for your browsing convenience.



Recommended services: Sohu, Tencent, iQiyi, LETV, PPTV

Mobile and Desktop? Yes

This category arguably has the most in terms of large, well-known platforms. Each of them have their own selection of shows that are available to stream for free and with a subscription. It may be hard to figure out which exact one you should use to find your favorite show, but luckily most of them have cross-platform search functions which will display results even if they are from a competing site.



Recommended services: Youku, Tudou, Miaopai (via Weibo)

Mobile and Desktop? Yes

One is widely regarded as a Youtube clone, another is named after the profession of “couch potato”, and the other only came about as a convenient warehouse for Weibo videos.



Recommended services: Douyu, Huya

Mobile and Desktop? Yes

Both are video/streaming platforms with a gaming and technology focus, so it may be difficult to choose which one to go with. Instead of trying out both, there is an easier way. Both use animals as their mascots, so simply decide whether you prefer tigers or sharks.



Recommended services: Yizhibo, Inke, Meipai

Mobile and Desktop? Yes

These ones are for those you who like to role play as amateur voyeurs in your spare time. When live streaming first took off, there were a multitude of apps and services to choose from. Deciding where to start involved much trial and error. Gratefully, survival of the fittest (thanks again, Darwin) has now left us with just the most popular. Usage is free, but if you want to “donate” to your favorite streamers, payments can be made via the purchase of digital gifts.



Recommended services: Bilibili, Acfun

Mobile and Desktop? Yes

Those will special interest in the Far East will be glad that these two sites are available. Most dramas, variety shows, and anime can be found, but a word of warning—content will only have Chinese subtitles (if any).


Ethan Yun is a contributing writer at The World of Chinese.

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