Hosting, Domain Registration, and CDN – Index
Foreigners who are serious about entering the Chinese market should carefully study what measures they can take to improve Baidu SEO. You see, Google has been blocked since 2009 and Baidu is by far the most popular search engine among the Chinese.
Three of the most important things that impact Baidu SEO are your:
- Domain Registration
- Servers / Hosting
- CDN (Content Delivery Network)
Even if many experts claim that a .cn domain doesn’t necessarily improve your rankings on Baidu.com there are some benefits of using a .cn domain.
First of all, by using a .cn domain, you indicate that you target the Chinese audience. As you don’t need a Chinese business license to register a .cn domain, for now, it can be worthwhile taking the opportunity while it’s possible.
Besides, Baidu is also known for giving priority based on your server location. The reason is that it’s primarily used in the Chinese market, giving benefits to practically anything Chinese.
Lastly, I also want to mention that it can be worth using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) if you want to rank high on Baidu. This is especially the case if you have trouble with slow site speeds in China. A CDN will help you, not only to improve the site speeds but add security.
In this article, we will review different service providers who can help you with domain registrations, hosting, and CDN services in China.
Have you ever wondered which are the best Chinese apps to use on your smartphone or tablet, to listen to music, watch movies or streaming TV series, and practice your Chinese between one work break and another or while you’re on the subway?
In this article I will propose a list of apps to you that I usually use during my daily life, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of each.
NB: All these apps, once you’ve paid for the first month’s subscription, follow the zidong xufei 自动续费 (automatic renewal) formula, which you can easily deactivate by clicking on the app’s settings, otherwise the preestablished charges will be withdrawn from your account each month with one day’s notice via WeChat Pay or Alipay. [Read more…]
How to Get a UnionPay Card – Index
Along with the digitization and the ongoing process of making China into a cashless society, foreign travelers find it more difficult to manage payments there. Nowadays, most Chinese use online applications such as AliPay and WeChat, or pay by UnionPay credit and debit cards.
Previously, it was impossible for foreigners to apply for UnionPay cards as this requires that you have a Chinese bank account. However, several foreign payment service providers have started to offer prepaid UnionPay cards to foreigners recently. We will review each one of them in greater detail in this article.
First, let’s start and review what UnionPay is and why it’s become so important in the past years.
Travel Apps for Hong Kong – Index
Will you travel to Hong Kong and want to download some of the most useful applications beforehand?
Even if many young and middle-aged people speak English in Hong Kong, you’ll come across areas where speaking Cantonese is the only mean of communication. Downloading a handful of applications can help you to avoid getting lost and to save time and money.
In this article, we list some of the most popular and widely used apps in Hong Kong, not only among travelers but also locals. If you have any recommendations of useful apps not listed below, feel free to drop a comment after the article!
Apps for Traveling in Taiwan – Index
Do you plan to travel to Taiwan and want to download a handful of useful applications? In this article, we list some of the best applications that are widely used among locals and travelers alike.
You can save a great deal of time, energy, and money if you download a handful of these applications and start using them from day one.
The applications listed are available both for the Android operating system (on Google Play) and iOS (the Apple Store). If you have any other recommendations of applications that should be of interest to travelers, feel free to write a comment below.
Let’s start with probably the most important application.
A well-parked Mobike Light
They invaded China, and now they’re invading the world, nation after nation. In Europe they have already arrived. They are yellow or orange, green or blue, and have pedals and two wheels: bike sharing, is the green answer that has arrived directly from China for getting around the city. Specifically, in Italy the first to arrive are Ofo and Mobike, but they’re not the only ones made in China.
In fact, since they do things big in China, they’ve moved on from taking advantage of carbon mines to a wild bicycle movement with unfair competition at times, to the last seat.
The idea, although it has been realized with exponential numbers that have grossly crowded up the sidewalks of their respective cities, was to bridge the gap in the lack of public transportation in an ecological way: which it does, in fact, in those cases where your destination is too far away to walk, but not so far as to call a taxi and then have to wait for it.
It is for that last mile to cross, from your door to the metro, from the office to the bus station, that Mobike, Ofo, Hellobike, Bluegogo, Yongxiang, Xiaoming, Yubike and many, many others have come.
The situation, it must be said, is a little complex and rapidly evolving: in fact the dominance of Ofo and Mobike, the respective properties of Alibaba and Tencent, has made it so that smaller private companies are slowly disappearing from circulation. So I will limit this to describing in detail the two leading companies.
Starting around a decade ago, China has blocked numerous foreign websites and applications to assure ‘national stability’. Things turned for the worse in 2017 when the cybersecurity law was issued.
In short, the government required network operators to store data in China, at the same time as Chinese authorities can do spot-checks on companies’ network operations. Over the years, increasingly more people use VPNs, which is the most common and effective way to bypass the Great Wall.
However, we’ve also seen that many popular VPNs have suffered from disruptions recently and there are even rumors that VPNs will be blocked entirely in China. Therefore, I’ve written this article and where I present alternative options to VPNs in China.
Alternatives to VPN in China
There aren’t that many options available that can replace VPNs. The Great Firewall gets smarter each year and the Chinese government introduces new laws that make it more difficult to surf the net without restrictions.
Having said that, two options help foreigners to freely surf the internet, namely:
Let’s start and review how it works when using a Hong Kong SIM card in Mainland China. [Read more…]
Renting a Phone in China – Index
- Why should I rent a phone before going to China?
- Which service provider should I use?
- Step-by-step process to rent a phone in China
- How much does it cost to rent a phone for China?
- What happens if I lose my rental phone while in China?
- Can I add a US number to the rental-phone?
- Can I use all my applications with the rental phone?
- Final notes + Discount code
As strange as it may sound, renting a phone in China brings many benefits and is an excellent option to avoid unexpected problems. Travelers and business people alike sometimes come across issues that make their phones useless in China.
In this article, I explain why you should consider renting a phone in China, which service provider we recommend, how the process is when renting a phone, how much it costs, and more. Let’s start and review what the benefits are of renting a phone.
Paying by smartphone in China – Index
- WeChat Pay and Alipay: what are they?
- Initial settings
- How to make payments with Wechat
- How to make payments with Alipay
- Receiving and sending money with WeChat
- Receiving and sending money with Alipay
- Sending red envelopes (hongbao 红包) with WeChat
- Sending red envelopes (hongbao 红包) with Alipay
- Can foreigners use WeChat Pay and Alipay?
Technology today offers users numerous advantages and conveniences that make our daily life simpler and saves us precious time.
In this context, China has already for many years offered its citizens and others the chance to witness and be protagonists in an actual payment revolution thanks to mobile apps like WeChat (Weixin 微信) and Alipay (Zhifubao 支付宝).
These include the most widespread method of payment in China for any type of commercial activity: restaurants, taxis, supermarkets, cinemas, shopping, waimai (home food delivery), trains, planes, hotel, bike rentals, bills, telephone recharging, etc.
The convenience of the revolution brought about by these applications allows users to make less cash or credit/debit card payments, and as a result accelerate the buying process in a totally safe and quick way.
In this guide I will show you the characteristics of payments made through WeChat and Alipay; in particular, we’ll see how to choose the initial settings, what are the ways to make payments, how to send and receive money, how the famous hongbao (红包 or “red envelopes”) work, and how it’s possible to use these Apps with foreign credit cards (not issued by Chinese banks).
Chinese Social Media – Index
WeChat was launched by Tencent in 2011, one of China’s biggest IT companies. It initially started as a messaging app but has added many functions since and is now referred to as a “multi-purpose” app.
Being used by more than 1 billion people, it’s the third most downloaded application in the world, just behind Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. It’s kind of self-explanatory why this application deserves a spot on this list. [Read more…]
This article is aimed at analyzing the internet in Thailand and comparing the best VPNs that you can use to improve security as well as to avoid geographic restrictions and censorship.
Best VPNs for Thailand – Index
Why do I need a VPN in Thailand?
There are multiple reasons to get a VPN when you are living or traveling in Thailand. Below are the most common reasons.
- To browse securely: Access to the internet in Thailand, just like in many Asian countries, is not exactly secure. A good VPN increases internet security and greatly reduces the possible risks involved in connecting to public networks in this country (such as having your credit card cloned or your email hacked).
- To avoid censorship: Censorship exists in Thailand, and if you want free access to the internet, the best way is to get a VPN
- To unblock restricted content: To access the content of websites like Netflix, Hulu or restricted audiovisual content and TV channels in your country, your best option is always get a good quality VPN.
Best VPNs for Vietnam – Index
Security online is one of the things that we should start to keep in mind, especially when we are traveling or moving to another country. Another thing that we should keep in mind is whether access to the Internet is restricted or not.
In Vietnam, there exist multiple cybernetic laws which are theoretically aimed at preventing information leaks, promoting security in the interchange of information, and permitting secure transactions. However, these laws have mainly been used to block, filter or monitor the use of the Internet in the country. Many websites in Vietnam are blocked or have restricted use, including sites as popular as Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, the BBC, and WordPress, following the lead of countries such as China.
Despite this, recent reports indicate that Vietnam is among the countries with the highest risk in the world for cybernetic attacks along with Thailand.
How can I access Facebook, Twitter, Blogger and other blocked websites in Vietnam?
To improve security online and to avoid potential restrictions on access to certain websites, one of the most useful tools is the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), as you will see in the following sections.
Since 2012, Google and all of its services (such as Gmail, Google Drive, Google Maps and Google Play) have been blocked and are not accessible to users located in Mainland China. However, is it possible to access Google from China?
Accessing Google from China is possible and even easy. In this article, we will give a step-by-step explanation of how to access Google and any other Internet service that is blocked in China.
What Google services are blocked in China?
Here a non-exhaustive list of Google services and products that are blocked in China:
- Google search engine (text and voice)
- Google Images
- Google Maps
- G Suite (including Google Docs and Google Sheets)
- Google Drive
There are however some exceptions, that is Google services that still work in China, such a Google Chrome, and Android operative system, even if with some severe limitations (for instance Google Play is blocked).
What do you need to access Google in China?
To access Google and all of its services, basically you will need two things:
A standard Internet connection
It’s obvious that to access Google or any other website, you will first need to connect to the Internet, either through a data connection from your cell phone or by connecting to a Wi-Fi network. Keep on reading to find out how to connect to the Internet in China.
A system to get around the Great Firewall of China
The so-called Great Firewall of China is a series of measures applied by the Chinese authorities to prevent access to a variety of foreign websites. Even so, there are multiple ways of getting around this blockage. Virtual Private Networks or VPNs are the most popular and effective system for getting around Internet use restrictions in China.
How to use the DiDi app – Index
- How DiDi works
- What you need to install Didi (cell phone number, payment method, etc)
- How to install DiDi on your cell phone
- The type of rides that DiDi offers
- What is the difference between Taxi and Express
- How to reserve a car with DiDi
- Quick guide on how to take a trip in ten steps
- Frequently asked questions
If you don’t use DiDi you could have some problems in China. Sure you could always wave your hand at the side of the road and a taxi will still stop. But if it’s bad weather or rush hour, there’s no longer any hope of finding a taxi without this new app.
DiDi dache or DiDi chuxing (滴滴打车 or 滴滴出行) is the name of a cell phone app which makes it possible to contact both taxis and private cars with professional drivers.
In other words it’s like a local Uber. DiDi is not the only one on the market, but it’s certainly the most widespread and above all it has a convenient version in English.
There are two ways to use DiDi: [Read more…]
One of the common questions that people going to China will ask themselves is how they can communicate with people outside of the country. The purpose of this article is to present and analyze each of the possibilities for making calls and video calls from China.
As you should already know, a large number of apps and websites can’t be accessed freely in China, and you are going to need a VPN or an alternative system to get around the Great Firewall of China.
Calling from China – Table of contents
Using Skype in China
Despite the fact that some inaccurate news is still circulating online, Skype is NOT blocked in China.
However, if you try to download the Skype app on the iOS app market or one of the Android markets (Google Play is blocked) once you’re in China, you won’t find it. In addition, if you want to access the Skype webpage, you will be redirected to a Chinese webpage (skype.gmw.cn) where you will download a modified version of Skype that complies with Chinese regulations. Complying with Chinese regulations means that communications are redirected (and monitored) via a Skype partner in China.
Before getting started
Many platforms for live streaming television, films, or series have geographic restrictions and don’t offer all of their content in every country, especially in China. This is the case with Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Sky Go and BBC iPlayer, among many more.
Using a VPN is usually the best solution to be able to enjoy these platforms without restrictions.
However, many of these platforms have started to detect and block users using proxies and VPNs.
In this article, we will explain how you can easily access geographically restricted content and which VPNs still work to access Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Sky Go, and BBC iPlayer.
Table of Contents
- How to access Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Sky Go, and BBC iPlayer
- How to use a VPN to access a streaming website
- What are the best VPNs and those that still work
- What VPNs no longer work to unblock streaming platforms
- Are there any free options?
- How to configure your VPN to access streaming platforms
- Is a VPN useful when I’m in my country?
- Is it illegal to use a VPN to access geographically restricted content?
- Frequently asked questions
How to access geographically restricted content
This article aims to explain in a simple and clear way what VPNs, proxies and Tor are, as well as the differences between them. The article is intended to be understandable for any person, and because of this, it may contain oversimplifications and opinions.
Currently, these three systems have three main uses:
- To avoid internet censorship: As you already know, there exist certain countries with restrictions on internet use. The most famous of them are China and Iran, although internet restrictions are present in many other countries, such as Thailand, Vietnam and Russia. For example, YouTube is blocked in at least 10 countries. While these three systems may allow you to avoid restrictions on certain web sites (such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube), in practice, VPNs are the most reliable system for getting around restrictions to date.
- To unblock websites with geographic restrictions: Another common use for these systems is to unblock content which is geographically restricted, and mainly video content (such as television programs, series or podcasts). For example, they are used to watch series and movies on Netflix when you are in a country in which it does not exist or if you prefer to use the Netflix from another country. While a VPN, proxy or Tor can be used to unblock this content, currently only good VPN providers and certain proxies are able to offer browsing speeds compatible with streaming.
- To improve internet security: A lot of people use these systems to avoid having their banking or personal information robbed by third parties, especially when they connect via public networks (a risk that is getting exponentially larger). However, despite what people think, proxies and Tor do not improve internet security whatsoever (sometimes even the opposite). Only VPNs with good encryption protocols improve the security of your connection.
Important: Not all VPN services are the same. If you want to know what the best three VPN providers are in our opinion, click here.
Is it possible to access WhatsApp in China? Despite the fact that since September 2017, China has been blocking video calls, messages, and file transfers on the app, it’s still possible to access WhatsApp in China if you know how.
In this article, we will give you a step-by-step explanation of how to use WhatsApp in China.
What do you need to use WhatsApp in China?
Using WhatsApp in China is relatively simple and you will only need two things:
1. An Internet connection
It’s obvious that to be able to use WhatsApp, you will need to be connected to the Internet. As I explain below, connecting to the Internet in China is relatively easy.
2. An app to get around the Great Firewall
The Great Firewall of China is the reason why many websites and apps aren’t accessible in the country.
To get around the Great Firewall, you don’t need to be an expert. You can simply download an app onto your phone that lets you access a Virtual Private Network or VPN.
Currently, VPNs are the easiest and most efficient way to get around the Great Firewall.
Born in 2012 as a modest project, NordVPN has become one of the most complete and popular VPNs on the market. Currently, this VPN provider (whether fortunately or unfortunately) is competing to be one of the leading VPNs in China, which is quite possibly the hardest test of the reliability of any VPN service.
Below you will find a complete review of NordVPN.
- Encryption protocols: OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPsec and IKEv2/IPsec
- Simultaneous connections: 6 simultaneous connections.
- Number of countries with servers and server count: 5,118 servers in 62 countries, including 2,314 in the USA, 2,319 in Europe, 461 servers in Asia and the Pacific and 50 servers in Africa, the Middle East and India.
- Server changes: Unlimited.
- Applications: Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS.