How to Watch Netflix in China in 2024 (Quick Guide)

Abeerah Hashim  - Security Expert
Last updated: February 11, 2024
Read time: 13 minutes

Fearing to miss out on your favorite Netflix library content because you'll be traveling to China? You should not. This article explains how you can watch your favorite Netflix movies and shows in China without hassle.


Netflix hosts an array of interesting Chinese movies and TV shows. However, streaming your favorite Chinese content is often difficult due to the platform’s licensing issues. Although you can stream iQiyi as an alternative, its limited content choice and loads of ads make it a poor substitute for Netflix. But don’t be disappointed, as this guide explains how you can unblock your favorite Netflix content in China with a VPN.

Streaming Netflix in China without interruptions is a dream come true for every streaming enthusiast traveling to that region.

That’s because the conflicting practices of Netflix services and China’s authorities have made it difficult for avid streamers to stay connected to their favorite media.

This guide summarizes the steps to unblock the streaming service in China without hassle.

A quick guide to watching Netflix in China

In a rush and can’t give the entire article a read? No problem. Follow the steps below to enjoy your favorite content:

  1. Choose a robust VPN. Some service providers, like ExpressVPN (our #1 recommendation here), seamlessly work in China.
  2. Connect to an appropriate server. For example, if you want to watch USA Netflix content in China, you should connect to a US server.
  3. Start streaming Netflix. You can use the Netflix app or website to watch your favorite content.

Why can’t I watch Netflix from China?

Legally, you can’t find anything against Netflix services in China. Yet, you can’t continuously stream what you want whenever you travel to China. It doesn’t happen because of any regional restrictions by Chinese authorities. Instead, the main reason here is content licensing.

Precisely, Netflix has permitted certain countries to stream its content. The service has entered into various licensing agreements with those nations. (That’s how you can easily access Netflix in most countries and watch all media permitted for streaming there – what you consider the Netflix media libraries for those countries.)

Unfortunately, China isn’t listed among the regions where Netflix holds a license for streaming.

In simple words, the service isn’t blocked there. Nor is the website. Yet, you can’t stream anything because of no license for the content.

So, it’s an indirect ban, for which Chinese users need not worry because they have their alternative streaming platform, “iQIYI” – the Chinese version of Netflix.

However, this is quite frustrating for travelers, tourists, and others in that region. Despite being a valid subscriber to Netflix, you’ll remain disconnected from the platform for all your days in China.

Nonetheless, you can eliminate this frustration if you follow this guide to bypass Netflix geo-restrictions in China.

Netflix vs. iQiyi

iQiyi is a Chinese streaming platform serving Netflix freaks in China. It is one of the largest streaming services of today, boasting around 500 million active users a month.

In China, iQiyi serves as a Netflix alternative for content consumers. However, while free (its biggest plus), the platform is riddled with ads and offers limited content to users. These downsides make iQiyi a poor substitute for the streaming giant Netflix, which serves customers a colossal content library without ads.

Comparing Netflix vs. iQiyi clearly shows the former as the winner. Especially considering the revenues of the two platforms during the past year, where iQiyi suffered a loss and Netflix’s revenues skyrocketed, Netflix takes the lead. Of course, iQiyi serves as fresh air for content consumers in China, but it still has to exert much more effort to compete with Netflix.

How to watch Netflix China – An easy four-step detailed guide

Netflix in China

Now that you know you can continue to watch your Netflix movies and shows even in Mainland China, the question is, how exactly to do that?

The answer is simple: by using a VPN.

We previously shared a detailed guide to unblocking Netflix anywhere, which will help you stream easily.

Yet, to make things easy, here’s a quick review of all the steps required to access Netflix without geo-restrictions.

1. Subscribe to a robust VPN service

Though the market is flooded with countless VPNs, not all are robust enough to bypass the Great Firewall of China.

Many VPNs, otherwise claiming premium quality, are not working in China. And they also admit it openly. (Good for them.)

So, before you subscribe to any VPN randomly, be sure about two things;

#1. That it works in China

#2. That it unblocks Netflix without showing errors (at least, not frequently).

You can cross-check these things by going through the VPN customer reviews.

Whereas, if you’re running short on time, you can find a few good China VPNs later in this guide.

2. Download and install the VPN on your device

Once you subscribe to a VPN, download the VPN client for your device. It’ll only take a few minutes, and you’ll have the setup file you can install.

Doing so neither requires you to be tech-savvy nor needs input from you. Instead, all you should do is enter your account credentials when prompted.

3. Configure the VPN

After signing in, you need to connect to the correct VPN server.

Ideally, connect to a server that offers fast speed, has less load, exhibits low latency, and corresponds with the Netflix library you need to stream.

For example, if you want to watch US Netflix in China, connect to a fast-speed USA server.

Also, you may need to turn on additional features (if available) to make your VPN run in China, such as stealth browsing. If you can’t find such options, you may contact the VPN support team to help you.

Note: make sure you make all of this effort before arriving in China. Ideally, you should have your VPN activated and well-configured on your device when you land in that region.

4. Start streaming Netflix – but don’t lose patience

Once your connection establishes, check for possible IP leaks. When you’re all set, head to the Netflix website or app and start streaming.

Ideally, consider streaming via the Netflix website, as bypassing geo-restrictions with the app is tricky.

While you should technically get access to your favorite media after all this effort, you might still face errors, such as proxy errors. As evident, you can’t easily use a VPN in China – that too with Netflix. So, you may have to switch the servers a few times before eventually landing at the right one.

Best VPNs to watch Netflix in China

As you know, VPNs are a great resource for bypassing regional and content limitations worldwide.

However, using a VPN in China isn’t easy because of the repressive practices of the authorities. Yet, since VPNs are not precisely illegal in China, some services still work there effectively.

So, you must subscribe to one such VPN with a profitable operation in China. Also, you should ensure that whichever service you choose supports unblocking Netflix. (As you might already know, most VPNs and proxies show that annoying Netflix proxy error to you only and nothing else.)

After selecting the right provider, you can stream Netflix how you like.

If you’re wondering where to find such a service, check out this list of the best VPNs for China. Most of these VPNs work with Netflix as well. Thus, you can go through the guides and choose one that best meets your browsing requirements.

Yet, if you want to quickly know the most resilient VPNs that unblock Netflix even in China, here are some recommendations based on our thorough research and tests.

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN new features block logo 120 by 120 now

With a massive server network spread across 90+ countries, strict no-logs policy, and stealth browsing technology, it’s an excellent VPN for streaming Netflix in regions like China effortlessly.

servers 3,000+ servers in 105 countries
encryption AES-256-bit encryption
protection DNS/IPv6 leak protection
P2P optimized servers P2P servers
network lock feature Network-lock feature
Trusted servers nord TrustedServer technology
Split tunneling feature Split tunneling
tor compatible Tor compatibility
simultaneous connections Allows up to 5 connections simultaneously
money-back guarantee 30-day money back guarantee
  • Easy to install and use
  • It does not limit bandwidth and speeds
  • Unblocks Facebook
  • Slightly costly

Our first recommendation for watching Netflix anywhere without interruptions is ExpressVPN. It’s because these guys have resiliently fought for the freedom of the internet over the years. Despite the extensive crackdown against VPNs by countries like China, ExpressVPN definitely serves privacy-savvy users.

Also, this VPN service has endured attempts to detect and block VPNs and proxies by services like Netflix. That’s why, when using ExpressVPN, you observe minor errors during streaming.

Of course, with a network of 3000+ servers spread across 94 countries, you should expect this VPN to exhibit robust performance.

Besides, it also employs server obfuscation technology that makes your internet traffic similar to the regular data packets. That’s how it bypasses all VPN checks by the government and the Netflix service. Hence, what you get is a smooth streaming experience.

You can try this VPN now to assess its feasibility. Also, don’t worry about the money. ExpressVPN offers a no-risk 30-day money-back guarantee. So, if you don’t like their service, contact their support for a refund.

2. Surfshark


A new kid on the block with excellent speed and unblocking abilities. You can stream your favorite Netflix show even in China using the VPN’s Camouflage Mode and NoBorders Mode smartly.

servers 3,200+ servers in 100 countries
encryption AES-256-bit encryption
P2P optimized servers P2P servers
MultiHop mode MultiHop mode
protection DNS/IPv6 leak protection
Kill switch Automatic kill switch
Zero-logs policy Zero-logs policy
Camouflage mode Camouflage Mode
simultaneous connections Allows unlimited simultaneous devices
money-back guarantee 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Unlimited connections
  • Support anonymous payments
  • 24/7 live chat
  • Some slow servers

Another VPN that has now joined the list of our favorite VPNs is Surfshark.

Within a few years, this service provider has significantly improved its service. Today, it has established a massive network of over 3200 servers in 100 countries. That gives you a vast number of server locations to connect.

Besides, the service provider also offers loads of premium features to the users, such as CleanWeb (malware and ad blocker), Camouflage Mode (stealth browsing), MultiHop (double VPN feature), and the NoBorders Mode (browsing mode typically aimed at using the internet in repressive regions like China). 

Indeed, with all these features, you can imagine the level of privacy you get when using Surfshark. And, of course, you can expect this VPN to unblock Netflix in China.

Yet, if you’re skeptical about its claims, test this VPN for a month. If it fails to impress you, contact its 24/7 available support team to request a refund. Thanks to their 30-day risk-free money-back guarantee, your money remains safe with Surfshark.

3. NordVPN

NordVPN for Streaming

A resilient VPN offering optimized servers, a gigantic network of over 5K servers, and obfuscation feature to evade VPN detection – just perfect to unblock Netflix in countries like China.

servers 6,000+ servers in over 60 countries
P2P optimized servers Supports P2P sharing
encryption AES-256-bit encryption
Zero-logs policy Zero-logs policy
Kill switch Built-in ad-blocker
protection Kill switch feature
simultaneous connections Allows up to 6 simultaneous devices
money-back guarantee 30 days money-back guarantee
  • Unblocks Netflix and many other streaming sites
  • Excellent speed
  • Reliable customer support
  • Double VPN slows the servers

The next recommendation for you to use as your primary VPN in China is NordVPN.

These guys have survived the harsh anti-VPN policies for years without impacting the VPN performance. That’s how they have set up a network of over 5400 servers in 60 countries globally.

While you may notice a relatively lesser choice of VPN with this service, you get a more significant number of servers for the exact location instead. This colossal choice makes the VPN robust enough to bypass all VPN-banning attempts by services like Netflix.

For example, NordVPN offers more than 1970 servers in 16 different cities within the USA. That means if one of the VPN servers gets blocked, you can continue to stream since the VPN will quickly replace it with another active server.

Plus, NordVPN employs server obfuscation technology for users in repressive regions. It makes the VPN data packets similar to the regular traffic, thus evading all VPN detection attempts by authorities.

These two excellent features make NordVPN the best to stream your favorite Netflix library anywhere.

Want to test it yourself? Subscribe now and get your hands on this VPN by availing yourself of their no-risk 30-day money-back guarantee.

Methodology of choosing the best VPNs for Netflix in China

Given the number of VPNs today, choosing the best Netflix VPN in China can be challenging. All the VPNs in this article have undergone rigorous testing to ensure the best security, privacy, and streaming features. For testing, we considered the following factors.

  • A zero-logs policy: The best VPN should not store your data. This means they cannot sell it to third parties or even hand it over to authorities during investigations. We also recommend VPNs with an independently audited logs policy.
  • Extensive server network around the globe: A large server network gives you many options because Netflix is blocked in some countries. You can also unlock various Netflix libraries depending on countries and regions.
  • Robust encryption: The key function of a VPN is to give you privacy and security when browsing. The level of security depends on the encryption algorithm a VPN provider uses. We recommend VPNs that offer the AES-256 encryption algorithm because it is unbreakable. Poor encryption leaves your data vulnerable to interception during transmission.
  • Speed: Streaming quality Netflix videos from China requires fast connection speeds. A slow connection loads poor-quality videos with constant buffering and freezing. Therefore, you should choose a VPN with fast connection speeds, like ExpressVPN.
  • Customer support: A VPN’s customer support team should be readily available and reachable 24/7, especially when you are in a heavily censored country like China. We recommend VPNs with 24/7 live chat, email, or ticketing support.

Using SmartDNS – an alternate option to tackle Netflix’s China strategy

Aside from VPNs, another viable option to stream your favorite movies and shows in China is using SmartDNS.

Although, it isn’t an alternative to a VPN since it doesn’t hide your IP address. Nor does it encrypt your data.

But that’s not what you want when browsing from China. Instead, you need something to help you bypass geo-restrictions without getting caught by the Chinese authorities for using a VPN.

A SmartDNS does help you with that as it reroutes your DNS traffic through its own DNS servers. Thus, what Netflix detects is a location different from the existing one – China.

Another benefit of using SmartDNS is that you experience speedy connectivity as the traffic flows regularly without encryption.

However, a SmartDNS can’t help you access other restricted services like Facebook, Google, Gmail, or YouTube. That’s where a VPN gets an edge over SmartDNS.

Can you access the streaming platform in China with a free VPN?

Yes, watching Netflix with a free VPN is possible, but they are unreliable. Most free VPNs have data, servers, and feature limitations. Also, they cannot load and maintain quality video streams, which can be frustrating.

Generally, we do not recommend free VPNs because of their potential risks. Some free VPNs collect and sell your personal information to third parties, while others lack secure encryption and leak your real IP address when making requests.

To avoid any privacy or security breaches associated with free VPNs, subscribe to a premium VPN like NordVPN. You can also take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee of a premium VPN and use it for 30 days for free.

Best Chinese dramas on Netflix

Now that you have accessed the Chinese Netflix library, here are a few dramas you must include on your watch list.

  • A Love So Beautiful
  • Day and Night
  • Eternal Love
  • Love O2O
  • Nirvana in Fire
  • The Rise of Phoenixes

Best Chinese movies on Netflix

  • Animal World
  • A Beautiful Life
  • Sword of Destiny
  • Cities of Last Things
  • Double World
  • Drunken Master
  • The Ying Yang Master: Dream of Eternity
  • The Wandering Earth
  • Us and Them
  • Kingdom: Ashin of the North

Can’t access Netflix in China with a VPN: Troubleshooting tips

If you are having trouble accessing the streaming giant in China, don’t panic. It’s probably something you can solve with a few tweaks. Sometimes, even the best VPNs have connection issues. Let’s look at the most common Netflix connection issues and how they can be fixed.

  • You have some locally stored browser data giving out your location. Consider clearing your browser’s cache and cookies.
  • The VPN may be leaking your real IP address. Use an up-to-date VPN client
  • The VPN server you are using is in a Netflix-blocked country. Check whether the VPN server you are connected to is located in a country where Netflix is licensed
  • You may be using a weak VPN incapable of bypassing firewalls and geo-blocks. Change the VPN and use a more reliable provider, like ExpressVPN.

If the connection problems persist, contact your customer support team and ask for assistance.


That was all about how you can watch Netflix in China.

As you can see, it’s nothing complicated if you remain careful with the VPN selection.

While an average VPN would ruin your browsing experience in China, having a robust one such as ExpressVPN, Surfshark, or NordVPN rejuvenates it at once.

Yet, be patient and determined. Don’t expect things to work out for you in one go. Instead, test different VPN servers; you’ll eventually connect to the right one supporting Netflix streaming.

And once you do, your worries end right there!


Legally it is. However, it is not easily accessible in China due to the restrictive content policies within the country.

Netflix hasn’t listed China among the countries it has licensed for its content. Therefore, you can’t easily watch your favorite Netflix media in China despite being a subscriber.

Use a robust VPN that works in China. ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN work out of the box there to bypass geo-blocking. You can easily subscribe to one of them before entering the region.

Besides China, Netflix is also unavailable in North Korea, Syria, and Crimea. However, the reason for the latter countries is different – that is, the US sanctions and not any licensing issues.

Don’t ever try this stunt in China. You will not only face errors with Netflix but will likely get caught by the authorities for using VPNs. While VPNs aren’t illegal there, you would still appear on their radar for suspicious activities.

If you had previously streamed Netflix with the same VPN, chances are Netflix might have blocked the server you had once used. So, connect to another server, let the VPN client establish the connection, and head to Netflix. If it still doesn’t work, follow the troubleshooting steps to avoid Netflix errors in our detailed guide linked earlier in this article. Yet, if everything fails, contact the VPN support team for assistance.

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About the Author

Abeerah Hashim

Abeerah Hashim

Security Expert
166 Posts

Abeerah is a passionate technology blogger and cybersecurity enthusiast. She yearns to know everything about the latest technology developments. Specifically, she’s crazy about the three C’s; computing, cybersecurity, and communication. When she is not writing, she’s reading about the tech world.

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