Zoom is used by millions of people around the world every day.
I think it’s fair to say it has become an essential online meeting tool that you can’t live without.
But accessing Zoom in China can be a little tricky sometimes, and there are some things you need to know.
So, if you’re going to China (or you’re already there) and need to use Zoom, this guide is for you.
Is Zoom blocked in China?
No, it’s not blocked.
As at July 2022, you should be able to access Zoom in China.
You can even access it without a virtual private network (VPN).
However, accessing Zoom in China has been problematic in the past. This is due to the Chinese internet, whereby a site can be fine one day but disappear the next.
If you’re having issues accessing Zoom in China, or you’re concerned about your data privacy and security, I encourage you to read on.
How can I access Zoom in China?
You need to visit Zoom’s US site, which is zoom.us.
If you visit zoom.com, it should redirect to zoom.us.
What about other Zoom sites in China?
Previously, other Zoom sites may have been accessible in China, including:
- zoom-china.com (the download link goes to zoom.cn).
I haven’t included the links as they’re all inaccessible as at July 2022. But if you can’t get into zoom.us, you could still try these ones as the Chinese internet is constantly changing.
Is my data safe in China?
Your data will be stored in Zoom data centers in China, not the US or elsewhere.
And, you may need to provide a valid mobile phone number to verify your identity and access Zoom in China.
It’s important to keep in mind that Chinese laws can differ greatly from the laws in your own country.
How can I maintain data privacy and security using Zoom in China?
You can access Zoom in China using your mobile internet connection from home.
However, this could cost you a fortune! Trust me, I’ve used global roaming overseas before and my bill wasn’t pretty.
The other, smarter option is to download a virtual private network (VPN) on your device.
I recommend ExpressVPN because my personal experience with it, when working and traveling in China, has been amazing.
Important: you’ll need to download the VPN before you arrive in China as VPN downloads are blocked there.
Zoom in China controversy
In 2020, Zoom got itself in hot water for shutting down meetings and even terminating user accounts, following requests from the Chinese government.
Zoom has since made a commitment to not allowing requests from the Chinese government to impact anyone outside of mainland China.
It has also introduced a feature where you can approve or block people from certain countries, as shown below.
You can read more about the controversy on Zoom’s US website.
Are there Zoom alternatives for China?
Yes, there are both international and local alternatives.
Although major foreign videoconferencing and communication apps (like WhatsApp, Google Meet, and Slack) are banned in China, there are some exceptions.
Microsoft Teams and Skype can be used in China.
In fact, most (but not all) of Microsoft’s platforms can be used in China without a VPN, such as Bing, Office and Outlook.
WeChat is super-popular in China and is used by more than one billion people. And fortunately, you can have group chats in WeChat (instructions here).
There’s also WeCom, a videoconferencing app that is part of the WeChat family, aimed at businesses and organizations.
WeCom claims to have “internationally recognized and bank-level encryption that ensures data security”.
Alibaba-owned DingTalk is another enterprise-level alternative. It has over 100 million users.
When using any local Chinese apps, just remember that usage may be monitored and the encryption and privacy settings may be different to what you’re used to.
Will using a VPN slow down Zoom in China?
A VPN might slow down your online speed slightly. This is due to the encryption process and connection to a remote server.
One thing you can do to ensure you have the fastest speed is connecting to a nearby server.
So, if you were in Beijing you would choose a server in South Korea over one in the US. There aren’t any VPN servers located in mainland China.
What if my VPN doesn’t work in China?
Some solo travelers in China who absolutely can’t go without Wi-Fi internet access get two VPNs (i.e. from two different companies) for peace of mind.
However, for travelers in groups the solution is simpler and cheaper.
Last time I was in China, I made sure that each person in the group had a VPN from a different company. There were times that one VPN would be down, so we used a different VPN.
This hack helped us a lot.
You can also access a different server location from within your VPN app, but sometimes this doesn’t do much.
If the connection is down, it’s down, and you might just need to wait a little while (Chinese internet is sometimes intermittent). Or, you can reach out to the VPN company’s customer service team.
Is there anything else I need to do before leaving for China?
Whether you’re going to China for business or pleasure, the four most important things to have for your trip are:
- Valid passport
- Visa if applicable
- Phone with VPN
- Money (cash and cards).
If you arrive in China with only these four things as well as the clothes on your back, you’re gonna be OK!
But of course, there are some other things you might want to consider. I recommend reading this article about planning, especially if you haven’t been to China before.
Key takeaway from using Zoom in China
You can use Zoom in China by going to zoom.us. If that doesn’t work, try one of the other sites I mentioned.
Just remember that your data will be stored on local Chinese servers and thus Chinese data laws apply. If that’s an issue for you, I recommend downloading a VPN before you arrive in the country.
Otherwise, using mobile internet data from home could cost you a fortune.
Have an amazing time in China. It’s a fun and crazy place – you’re going to love it!
I hope my article about using Zoom in China has helped you. If there is anything you need to know about traveling or working in China, just ask a question below. I enjoy answering them.
Image credit: Chris Montgomery on Unsplash.
FAQ about Zoom in China
Will Zoom work in China?
As at July 2022, Zoom is working in China though your data will be stored in local servers. If you want data privacy, you’ll need a VPN.
How do I use Zoom in China?
Simpy visit zoom.us (zoom.com will redirect to zoom.us). Just note that this site has previously been inaccessible in China as the Chinese internet often changes.
What are the alternatives to Zoom in China?
Microsoft Teams and Skype are good international alternatives to Zoom in China.
What do Chinese people use instead of Zoom?
They use WeChat for video calls. Businesses use WeCom, which is also in the WeChat family. Another alternative is DingTalk, which is owned by Alibaba.