Communicating with Home from China

By drgmarshall | Dec 02, 2017, 08:07 PM
Apart from the Communist Chinese App "WeChat" that basically seems to be a massive spy network for the Reds, does anyone who travels to China know how to keep in touch with folks back home using social media (Facetime, Skype, etc). I know Google G-mail doesn't work there.
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By daniesut | Dec 03, 2017, 02:55 AM
I go to China monthly - if you setup a Microsoft office365 using 21Vianet - massive Internet operator in China (its not operated by MS), you can use Skype for Business, etc to communicate outside of China - caution as to what you communicate - if its just the family, kids etc - should be OK - not for any sensitive corporate communications.....
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By Windsor | Dec 03, 2017, 10:55 AM
Had the same problem, but downloaded a VPN app and it gives access to everything including Skype, Facebook, Whatsapp... VPN Master is pretty good and very easy to use.

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By MattJelonek | Dec 03, 2017, 12:53 PM
WeChat is not a Communist application.

It’s one of the worlds best and advanced apps ever made. Puts Western apps to shame.

Try VyprVPN which works well in China, if you he’d over via HK find a Tech Shop and buy a HK server or Taiwanese based server SIM Card provider, then you won’t need a VPN in China.
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By moa999 | Dec 03, 2017, 01:24 PM
At many Western focussed hotel internet is outside the firewall so the usual tools will work.

If not, VPN seems to be whack a mole with the paid services, so you are likely to have more success using a corporate VPN or a home router VPN.
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By oruspicarous | Dec 03, 2017, 02:31 PM
Skype is now blocked too unless you use VPN. Apparently Messenger is not blocked there but the FB app is, so you should give that a shot!
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By Livewireshock | Dec 04, 2017, 05:32 PM
You can buy a China Unicom (Hong Kong) cross border SIM card. This connects via Hong Kong's phone network and allows your phone/tablet to be outside the Great Firewall (Golden Shield). There are voice/data or data only options available, although there may only be data only SIM cards next year due to the voice SIM cards being used in mobile fraud cases. You can buy online or in many places in HK.
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By Joseph | Dec 04, 2017, 09:03 PM
All of the Starwood/Marriot properties I have stayed at in China have the internet routed through HK so you get full unrestricted access to the web. No need to have your own VPN. Best to check if your hotel has this or a similar setup.


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By Jack Fan | Dec 04, 2017, 11:05 PM
We have total freedom of communication there by using Vodafone 5 dollars roaming services. China Unicom is the preferred carrier while travelling with my Vodafone sim card. 4G service is available for you. I can browser Internet, What's app & facebook without burden. WeChat is also an option but you have to set it up first.
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By J.Bloggsworthy | Dec 06, 2017, 05:45 PM
A few options.
1. Use an Australian SIM with a roaming pack (eg, the $5 a day Vodafone or $10 a day Telstra packs). Mobile data with foreign SIMs currently allows access to most blocked services, including FB, Skype, Google, etc. Also allows unlimited phone calls/SMS. Telstra gives you 100MB a day which is plenty for messaging but will come up short if you want to video call...

2. WiFi in _some_ 5 star hotels in areas frequented by foreign visitors allow unblocked internet access, at least in Shenzhen. This could always change at short notice (just like everything in China), obviously, but is true as of my most recent visit to Shenzhen in late November 2017.

3. VPNs, contrary to much recent press, many VPNs continue to work just fine. I'm hesitant to name names, lest I draw attention to my favourites, but a google search will show the way. Note that you won't be able to install it while over there without using (1) or (2) above, so best to install and set up your subscription (the ones that work are paid, not free, I'm afraid) before getting to mainland China.

4. Wechat is generally fine. I wouldn't use it for commercially sensitive communications, but use it all the time for general comms with Chinese suppliers, both within China and from Australia. Because of all the other options above, I don't use it for communicating with people back home, since practically nobody in Australia uses it anyway.
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By xtfer | Dec 14, 2017, 06:46 PM
The other poster's all have the right idea, I would only add that if you want to do business in China, WeChat is basically required. But this does really beg the question how much business you are likely to do, with such a poor attitude.
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