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How to Watch American Netflix in China? 2020 Guide

China, officially the People’s Republic of China, is home to the Great Wall, iPhone manufacturing and one of the most powerful economies in the world – but not Netflix.

China is the world’s most populous country, with an estimated population of 1.404 billion citizens. In 2017, internet penetration in the country stood at 53.2%, but varied considerably depending on the province. The average internet speed in China stood at 9.3 Mbps in Q1 2017.

Netflix currently doesn’t offer video streaming service in China due to a challenging regulatory environment in the country. The Chinese government is sensitive when it comes to the content being made available to its citizens. However, in many cases, VPN users can access the service.

This lack of Netflix access can be disappointing to visitors to the country who are looking for a taste of their favorite movies and television shows from back home.

The easy way to access any Netflix library...

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Why American Netflix Can’t Be Accessed in China

Chinese residents and visitors are SOL (simply out of luck) when it comes to viewing Netflix content.

In addition to the streaming giant’s lack of a Chinese version of its service, licensing agreements with content providers force Netflix to ban out-of-country connections to country-specific content. More about that in the next section.

Why Is American Netflix Content Blocked in China?

Netflix licenses movies and television shows from a variety of content providers, including movie and television studios.

The licensing agreements they sign include restrictions about where the content can be viewed. The streaming provider signs a separate contract for each region.

Netflix is legally required to block attempts to access a country’s content from outside that country’s borders. If they don’t attempt to restrict such access, they face legal and financial penalties.

How Does Netflix Block Non-Residents From Viewing American Netflix Content?

When a computer or other connected device is connected to the internet, it’s given an IP address, which acts much like a street address does for a home. The address indicates where information is sent to and from.

What Happens When You Connect to Netflix

Each country is assigned a range of IP addresses for use by their citizens. Netflix uses your IP address to detect if you should be allowed to access their content. If an IP address doesn’t match the licensed country’s IP range, the streaming provider blocks access to the content.

How a VPN Gets Around Netflix’s Barriers

What Is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) offers a variety of great features to its users. One of those features is the ability to make it appear as if a user’s internet connection is originating from a country other than their actual location.

How Does a VPN Work

A VPN also keeps users’ online activities safe from prying eyes by applying a layer of encryption to their internet connection.

This acts much like a tunnel, preventing any third parties from detecting your online travels, and keeping your personal and business-related information safe from outsiders. This is particularly important in overly-restrictive countries like China.

How a VPN Enables Access to American Netflix Content

A VPN makes use of its ability to “spoof” a user’s location to open up access to Netflix content located in another country. This makes it simple for users to access Netflix content in the United States, even from China.

By selecting a VPN server in the United States, the user is routed through that stateside server, which has a U.S.-based IP address. This makes it appear that the user is located inside the U.S., despite their physical location in China.

Netflix sees the U.S. IP address and allows the user to binge their buns off.

But, unfortunately, Netflix has become particularly adept in the past few years at detecting VPN usage by users from outside licensed countries.

Due to the pressure from their content providers, the streaming service immediately blocks any IP address that they discover is being used by a VPN provider.

Netflix’s particular set of skills has frustrated a large number of VPN providers, to the point where they have given up on offering Netflix access to their users – even the providers that have not given up are almost always slow to react when Netflix blocks their IPs. This is particularly true of providers who have limited resources.

Luckily for VPN users, there are still providers who keep the tunnels to Netflix open and do an excellent job of responding promptly when Netflix blocks access. The best of these providers is ExpressVPN.

Best VPN to Use in China: ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Oct 2020

In my experience, ExpressVPN provides the most reliable access to Netflix of any provider I’ve tried. ExpressVPN directs its considerable resources toward maintaining its top-notch VPN services.

The provider offers superior customer support and privacy protections, as well as excellent bandwidth, wide-ranging device support and better-than-average global server coverage.

Plus, Netflix provides an ample amount of information on how to optimize your Netflix sessions, with a helpful FAQ, tips and tricks, and links to browser plugins, all meant to enhance your streaming experience.

Please note: China blocks access to many VPN providers’ websites, making it difficult to download and install a VPN app while inside Chinese borders. Be sure to sign up for your VPN subscription and install the provider’s app before stepping inside China proper.

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Connection Speeds

ExpressVPN’s average connection speeds, in my usage history, have always come within 20% as fast as my ISP-provided speeds. That’s more than enough to meet Netflix’s recommended connection speeds.

Connection speeds in China aren’t exactly blazingly fast, so it’s essential to use a VPN provider that doesn’t slow down your connection by much, such as ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN Speed Test

Users can also use the ExpressVPN app’s built-in speed test to find the fastest server for streaming.

Multi-Platform Support

Netflix is available on most connected platforms around today, making multi-platform support an important consideration when deciding on a VPN provider. ExpressVPN provides native app support for all popular device platforms.


ExpressVPN provides its services to its customers for the monthly fee of USD $8.32 per month (payable annually at $99.95). A month’s subscription to Netflix will cost you more than that.

Users can also opt for a $12.95 monthly payment plan. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.

Customer Support

Users who do have issues when using ExpressVPN, be they of the Netflix variety or other issues, can contact the provider’s customer support folk via their 24/7 support chat option. A trouble ticket tracking system and a searchable support library are also available.

ExpressVPN Customer Support Options

Global Server Coverage

Netflix aficionados will have handy access to Netflix content housed in the U.S. and any other country thanks to ExpressVPN’s over 1,500 servers, based in 94 countries around the globe.

ExpressVPN Server Locations


ExpressVPN makes its home in the British Virgin Islands, where privacy is king. The country doesn’t impose any intrusive data retention laws on VPN providers, meaning ExpressVPN can follow a strict “no logs” policy, keeping no records of their users’ online travels.

Users can extend privacy protection to their payment information by paying for their VPN subscription with the Bitcoin cryptocurrency.


Visitors to China who are missing their usual Netflix binge sessions can easily access their favorite U.S. Netflix content by using ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN offers fast connections, comprehensive global server coverage, optimal privacy protections, wide device support, responsive customer support and more.

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