How to Use WhatsApp in China with a VPN [Updated 2022]

Last updated: September 29, 2022
William Sams

William Sams

WhatsApp remains banned in China like all other foreign services. Read this guide to understand how you can use it in the country, minus the hassles!

China has banned many popular social media apps and sites like Whatsapp. Find out how to use Whatsapp in China using the best VPN and outsmart the Great Firewall!

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With 169M downloads only from the Google Play Store, Whatsapp is one of the most popular online messaging and calling platforms globally. However, not the same applies to China because it has blocked Whatsapp since 2017.

If you’re visiting China, you must be asking yourself, why is Whatsapp blocked in China? Whatsapp owner has refused the Chinese government access to moderate and monitor messages, thus it is blocked in China. Users in China can only access the local alternatives to WhatsApp because of the tough geo-blocks and restrictions.

I tested 25+ VPNs to find the most reliable VPN for unblocking Whatsapp in China and using it freely. ExpressVPN has robust security features and military-grade encryption standards to keep your information protected. It’s advisable to opt for ExpressVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee!

How to Use WhatsApp in China [Easy Guide]

Here’s how to use Whatsapp in China following four easy steps:

1. Sign up for a premium VPN service (Recommended: ExpressVPN for its TrustedServer security feature).

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Subscribe to ExpressVPN by visiting its official website.

2. Download and install the VPN app.

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Get the relevant VPN app for your device.

3. Connect to a server in Japan (Recommended: Japan – Tokyo Server).

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You can select a server in any country, such as Japan.

4. Open Whatsapp to use in China without any restrictions!

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ExpressVPN works for unblocking Whatsapp in China.

Best VPNs to Use WhatsApp in China in 2022 [Quick Overview]

Here’s a quick rundown on the best VPNs to use Whatsapp in China:

  • ExpressVPN – Best VPN to Use Whatsapp in China Safely: Offers optimized servers based in the US, Japan, the UK, and France for use in China. TrustedServer security and a 30-day money-back guarantee for risk-free access to WhatsApp in China.
  • Surfshark – Pocket-Friendly VPN to Use Whatsapp in China Securely: Ensures impressive protection of sensitive user information at an affordable price point of $2.49/mo . Bypasser and CleanWeb features to safely access WhatsApp in China.
  • NordVPN – Largest Server Network to Use Whatsapp in China with Strong Obfuscation: Impressive obfsucation technology with the largest server network to use WhatsApp in China without any interruption. Comes at a subscription cost of $3.99/mo .

What are the Best VPNs to Use WhatsApp in China in 2022 [In-Depth Analysis]

Here’s an in-depth analysis of the best VPNs to use WhatsApp in China:

ExpressVPN: Best VPN to Use WhatsApp in China

Recommended Server Locations: Japan – Yokohama, Japan – Tokyo, UK – Wembley

ExpressVPN is the best VPN to use WhatsApp in China because of its impressive obfuscation technology and TrustedServer security that effectively minimize the risk of vulnerabilities and keep you properly secured from Chinese government surveillance.

TrustedServer is ExpressVPN’s network security setup wherein all servers run in RAM-disk and not on hard drives, minimizing data risk by ensuring all data is wiped on reboot. Through this, ExpressVPN effectively minimizes the risk of misconfiguration and dramatically improves VPN security. This ultimately keeps you protected when accessing the internet – especially in China.

With over 3000+ servers in 94+ countries, ExpressVPN offers its user the liberty to have the IP address of any region worldwide. ExpressVPN provides a range of servers in countries bordering China, including Japan, Pakistan, Vietnam, etc., for faster speed and reliable connection.

We checked the unblocking efficacy of ExpressVPN by connecting to different servers. As soon as we connected to its Japan – Tokyo server, Whatsapp started working instantly. The same results were observed after connecting to the other suggested servers.

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ExpressVPN gave me a useful link having server locations that reliably worked in China.

To ensure your security, ExpressVPN employs military-grade 256-bit AES encryption and protection from DNS and IPv6 leaks. An efficient kill switch helps keep the connection secure. If you lose your connection, this feature restricts all the traffic until you restore it.

The split tunneling feature lets you connect your Whatsapp to a server outside China while keeping all the other programs and applications on the original IP address. Safe to say, these advanced features ensure that ExpressVPN works in China!

I ran a quick test to check the speed of ExpresVPN. Over a 100 Mbps connection, I recorded an 89.42 Mbps download speed and 84.64 Mbps upload speed. The rigorous speed tests confirmed that ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs available in the market today.

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I got consistently fast connection speeds with ExpressVPN on Ookla.

Not only Whatsapp, but ExpressVPN is also one of the best streaming VPNs as it unblocked popular platforms like Hulu and Disney Plus.

ExpressVPN is compatible with all the major operating systems and devices, including Android and iOS devices, Windows, Mac, and Linux devices. You can even set up ExpressVPN on Fire Stick and router and enjoy maximum online protection.

You can subscribe to ExpressVPN for a price of $6.67/mo . If price is a concern, simply leverage its 30-day money-back guarantee and claim a refund within 30 days if the service does not satisfy you. This way, you get to use free ExpressVPN and make Whatsapp calls to your loved ones without paying anything.

You can also contact 24/7 customer support on live chat if you have any problems.


Pros

  • TrustedServer security (RAM-only servers)
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • DNS/IP leak protection
  • Audited no logs
  • Automatic kill switch
  • Super-fast speeds
  • Five simultaneous connections


Cons

  • Slightly expensive subscription plans


For more details, go through a detailed ExpressVPN review!

Surfshark: Pocket-Friendly VPN to Use WhatsApp in China Securely

Recommended Server Locations: Hong Kong and Japan

Surfshark is a pocket-friendly VPN to use Whatsapp in China securely because it comes at a cost of $2.49/mo and offers excellent security features like CleanWeb and Bypasser.

When using restricted apps like Whatsapp in China, you need to be extra secure. The CleanWeb feature lets you access the web without any harmful ads or malware. In addition to this, Bypasser efficiently allows specific apps and websites to bypass the VPN.

The Camouflage mode lets you have a more secure experience using a VPN. I tested these features several times and they worked exceptionally well.

I also contacted real-time support to know the recommended server locations for users in China, and got this reply from them:

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The support agent suggested connecting to the closest server location, ideally Hong Kong and Japan.

Upon testing Surfshark speed, I managed to record a 52.42 Mbps upload speed and an 86.48 Mbps download speed. The decent connection speed is one reason why Surfshark is considered one of the best cheap VPNs.

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Surfshark delivered sufficient speeds for messaging or making calls on Whatsapp.

Additionally, Surfshark works for unblocking many restricted sites and streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus.

Surfshark is compatible with a range of devices and operating platforms like iOS, Android, Windows, Linux, and even smart TVs. Above all, you get unlimited simultaneous device connections with Surfshark which means you can use Whatsapp in China on different devices at the same time.

The 30-day money-back guarantee is ideal for testing the service risk-free. If the VPN features do not align with your needs, simply cancel Surfshark and claim a refund.


Pros

  • Impressive security features
  • Unlimited simultaneous device connections
  • Strict no-logs policy


Cons

  • Occasional slow connection speeds


For more details, go through a detailed Surfshark review!

NordVPN: Largest Server Network to Use WhatsApp in China with Strong Obfuscation

Recommended Server Locations: United States, United Kingdom, and Japan

NordVPN boasts a large server network of 5600+ obfuscated servers in 59+ countries, making it an excellent option to bypass VPN restrictions and use Whatsapp in China. Multiple servers in countries close to China, including Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Vietnam are reliable for accessing the platform with good speed at all times.

There are many robust security features to protect NordVPN users from any information leak. It offers AES 256-bit encryption, an internet kill switch, and DNS/IP leak protection to protect you from the strict surveillance by the government of China.

When checked for Whatsapp unblocking efficiency, NordVPN instantly unblocked it as soon as we connected to Japan #2790 server.

NordVPN follows the WireGuard protocol, which is more secure and faster than the commonly used OpenVPN. The advanced multi-hop feature called double VPN helps you encrypt your data twice by routing your connection through two different servers.

I contacted customer support to get a list of recommended server locations to use Whatsapp in China. I got this response from them:

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The support agent recommended a list of working server locations in China.

After the NordVPN speed test, I recorded an 86.18 Mbps download speed and 42.13 Mbps upload speed over a 100 Mbps internet connection.

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These speeds were sufficient for making calls and messaging on Whatsapp in China without any hassle.

I also tested NordVPN’s streaming capabilities and could easily unblock Hulu.

NordVPN is compatible with Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android. Therefore, you can download it on almost all supportive devices, including PCs, mobile, Firestick, Smart TVs, and tablets. Moreover, you can also configure NordVPN on Kodi and some router models.

NordVPN is comparatively more economical than ExpressVPN as it costs $3.99/mo . You also get a 30-day money-back guarantee so, you can always ask for a full refund if you do not find it suitable. Moreover, it offers a 7-day free trial on Google Play Store. This helps you gauge the application features much better before making a longer commitment.

Also, you can contact customer support 24/7 on live chat if you face any difficulty while using.


Pros

  • Compatible with all OS
  • Efficiently unblocks Whatsapp
  • Fast speeds
  • Accepts cryptocurrency


Cons

  • Technical OpenVPN configuration


For more details, go through a detailed NordVPN review!

Why Do you Need a VPN to Use WhatsApp in China?

You need a VPN to use WhatsApp in China because the Chinese government enforces restrictions on some of the most popular social media platforms, including WhatsApp. Users based in China do not have access to Facebook, Google, Snapchat, Tinder, Instagram and many other platforms. China has its own local apps which are made available to the users in the region.

When you’re in China, you won’t be able to make calls or message on WhatsApp because of the strict restrictions. WhatsApp China is an impossibility, thereby you need a VPN to use WhatsApp in China without interruption.

A virtual private network works by encrypting your online traffic and routing it through the selected server location. Hence, your online activities remain hidden from the Chinese government and they can’t block you.

You need a VPN with servers in a country that allows the use of WhatsApp. I recommend using ExpressVPN as it allows you to bypass the Chinese government’s internet censorship and access WhatsApp in China.

Why is WhatsApp Blocked in China?

WhatsApp (owned by Facebook) is blocked in China because of Facebook’s unwillingness to allow the Chinese government to censor and moderate WhatsApp messages. As a general rule, the Chinese government wants to control citizens’ access to information.

How to Choose a VPN for WhatsApp in China?

To choose a VPN for Whatsapp in China, it’s important to consider a few important factors. The Chinese government is quick to detect and block VPNs, so consider the following factors before selecting a VPN:

  1. Look for online endorsements: Only select a trustworthy VPN provider. Look for the online reviews and the number of users it has. Do not go for a VPN that is less than a year old.
  2. Ask friends: You can always ask your friends living in China which VPN works best for using Whatsapp.
  3. Spend some bucks: Getting a paid VPN service is always a good idea because you are trusting someone with your sensitive information, which comes at a cost. Paid VPN providers ensure you are given meticulous online security along with site unblocking and speed.

Is Using a VPN in China Dangerous?

No, it’s not dangerous to use a VPN in China because Chinese government commonly blocks the VPN technology instead of punishing the VPN users. You should not worry about your safety while using a VPN in China, as no visitor has been fined for using a VPN.

Even though it’s not explicitly illegal to use a VPN in China, you’re still exposing yourself to some dangers by using it in China. If you conduct illegal activities using a VPN, they can still be held against you even after using a VPN.

When you travel between cities in China, you will have to hand over your smartphones to authorities. Besides searching your phone for illegal usage or content, they also delete VPN apps. So, even though VPN usage is not illegal in China, you should still keep a check on your online posts and messages while being in the country.

Pro Tip: Purchasing a VPN subscription before arriving in China is advisable!

Now that you’re no longer questioning, can you use WhatsApp in China and whether accessing it is dangerous or not – let’s move to check out what can you use in its place:

What are the Alternatives of WhatsApp in China?

Here’s a list of alternatives for WhatsApp in China:

  1. WeChat
  2. Threema
  3. Wire
  4. Signal
  5. Telegram

For all those wondering, does Telegram work in China – you’ve got the answer.

FAQs: How to Use WhatsApp in China

What messaging apps work in China?

WeChat is among the most popular free messaging apps in China. It’s a versatile application that allows not only to messaging but also availing other services like payment, car bookings, etc., at a single platform. Moreover, it is best to keep you connected with a guide as you roam in China.

Therefore, WeChat is the most commonly used mobile application by Chinese citizens. However, this platform offers no privacy or protection from authorities screening your activity.

Why is WhatsApp illegal in China?

WhatsApp is illegal in China because Mark Zukerberg, the owner of Facebook and WhatsApp, is unwilling to give the Chinese government the authority to monitor and censor the messaging activity on any of his platforms, including WhatsApp. Therefore, both Facebook and WhatsApp are blocked in China.

Generally, it is the Chinese government’s supreme priority to keep all its inhabitant’s online activity under check. However, you can still bypass it using a trustworthy VPN like ExpressVPN.

Where else is WhatsApp banned?

Multiple other countries like North Korea, UAE, Syria, Cuba, and Iran do not allow their citizens to use WhatsApp. Mostly, it is because of political issues raveling in the regions.

How can I unblock WhatsApp on my iPhone or Android device?

Here’s how to use WhatsApp in China on iPhone or Android:

Subscribe to a premium VPN like ExpressVPN > Download the VPN app > Connect to a server close to China > Enjoy making WhatsApp calls in China.

Can I use WhatsApp with the Chinese phone number?

Yes, you can use WhatsApp with the Chinese phone number. You just have to make sure you are using the correct country code. However, you’ll only be able to use WhatsApp after connecting to a VPN server.

How can I use WhatsApp in China without VPN?

Unfortunately, you cannot use WhatsApp in China wihout VPN. The notorious Great Firewall blocks you from the platform as soon as you try to connect it with a Chinese IP address. So, you must take an international IP using a VPN to enable WhatsApp.

Wrapping Things Up

Now that you have a clear answer to how to use Whatsapp in China, it’s time to subscribe to a premium VPN service. I recommend using ExpressVPN as it comes with premium features to ensure your online security and protect you from screening by Chinese authorities.

Additionally, ExpressVPN is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee that lets you test the features without risking your money.

However, whichever VPN app you are considering, ensure its safety, reliability, market reputation, and speed before using it for Whatsapp. Otherwise, your personal information becomes vulnerable and accessible to third parties.

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