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  #1  
Old 16-10-2019, 12:38 PM
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We Chat / using Whatsapp in China

Has anyone had any experience of using Whatsapp in China? I've heard anecdotally that as long as you have it installed before you go it's fine but when you google it you just get VPN companies telling you they are needed.

I've also tried to set up WeChat as an alternative. What a nightmare! It locked up immediately and now I can't unlock it. Has anyone had it for more than 6 months and if so would you mind helping me unlock my account?
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Old 16-10-2019, 12:41 PM
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Whatsapp works fine in China if you are on 4G. If you go onto local wifi hotspots it tends to be blocked. As soon as I connected to hotel wifi it stopped working. Will depend how good your roaming package is.
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Old 16-10-2019, 12:42 PM
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Pretty sure Whatsapp is banned and censored in china, regardless of if you downloaded it somewhere else. International roaming should work. VPN is a must have for any westerner there imo.. Loads of free ones you can get which do the job okay, but might be worth paying a bit for a high quality one if you’re staying there long term. Will likely end up being cheaper than roaming even if you do get a paid one.
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Old 16-10-2019, 12:44 PM
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I have Nord VPN but didnt need it in China.
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Old 16-10-2019, 12:46 PM
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I have Nord VPN but didnt need it in China.
I haven’t been to China, but I have been to Cuba with pretty much identical censorship and Russia with some censorship. A VPN over international roaming definitely saved me a lot of money on both occasions.

A free one which I first downloaded in 2013 to bypass my schools WiFi restrictions worked just fine.
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Old 16-10-2019, 12:48 PM
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I haven’t been to China, but I have been to Cuba with pretty much identical censorship and Russia with some censorship. A VPN over international roaming definitely saved me a lot of money on both occasions.
I have a company phone, so not worried about cost. If I used VPN or any Chinese wifi in China, Whatsapp stopped working, as did facebook. Just on pure 4G my normal apps all worked ok. This was in Beijing this year. Outside of Beijing it may be different.
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Old 16-10-2019, 12:49 PM
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I have a company phone, so not worried about cost. If I used VPN or any Chinese wifi in China, Whatsapp stopped working, as did facebook. Just on pure 4G my normal apps all worked ok.
Fair enough.
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Old 16-10-2019, 12:51 PM
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If it's your own phone and you don't want to pay roaming costs I think your options might be limited.
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Old 16-10-2019, 01:06 PM
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Whatsapp worked with ExpressVPN when I was there. I haven't tried it yet but the new Apple phones have dual sim so you can buy a local Chinese sim and use that for your data and calls which might work better than using the roaming on your current network.

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Old 16-10-2019, 01:10 PM
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I have WeChat. I stayed in China for ten weeks last year. In order to use WhatsApp, I had to connect to Express VPN. I had a Chinese SIM card. I would guess that if you were using your western phone number and 4G, it wouldn't be an issue, but it would be very expensive. if you were going to be there any length of time it would be pretty crazy not to get a Chinese SIM and use WeChat - they use it for everything and there are an increasing number of places where you can't really buy anything without WeChat.
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Old 16-10-2019, 01:11 PM
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They'll block VPNs every now and then, as well. Really depends how long you're going to stay.
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Old 16-10-2019, 01:18 PM
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My son was in China (Beijing & Shanghai) 2 years ago. WhatsApp worked fine throughout his visit.
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Old 16-10-2019, 01:23 PM
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My son was in China (Beijing & Shanghai) 2 years ago. WhatsApp worked fine throughout his visit.
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Only been censored since June 2017 apparently.
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Old 16-10-2019, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by CP-RJW View Post
I havenít been to China, but I have been to Cuba with pretty much identical censorship and Russia with some censorship. A VPN over international roaming definitely saved me a lot of money on both occasions.

A free one which I first downloaded in 2013 to bypass my schools WiFi restrictions worked just fine.
That is worth a detention, tut tut
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Old 16-10-2019, 03:17 PM
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WhatsApp always used to work on western sim cards (£6 a day for Vodafone or something like that) or dual HK/CH sims (As does google, Facebook and everything else banned).

Never tried it with a VPN. The VPNs I used to use (in the days before the sim card unlimited data for £6 per day) were Express VPN and tunnelbear. If you use a vpn you must set the account up before you get to China.

All my Chinese team used wechat so I had that as well but on a different phone. It never locked on me though.
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Old 16-10-2019, 03:40 PM
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Thaks guys. My daughter is going for a week and we want to keep in touch. I'm pretty clueless but will try to figure out how to get a VPN on her iphone.

Anyone up for helping me unlock wechat please send me a PM. Obviously pint at Selhurst at a time of your convenience!
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Old 16-10-2019, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoreditch CPFC View Post
Thaks guys. My daughter is going for a week and we want to keep in touch. I'm pretty clueless but will try to figure out how to get a VPN on her iphone.

Anyone up for helping me unlock wechat please send me a PM. Obviously pint at Selhurst at a time of your convenience!
Just download the ExpressVPN app, sign up and its as simple as turning it on.
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Old 16-10-2019, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Shoreditch CPFC View Post
Thaks guys. My daughter is going for a week and we want to keep in touch. I'm pretty clueless but will try to figure out how to get a VPN on her iphone.

Anyone up for helping me unlock wechat please send me a PM. Obviously pint at Selhurst at a time of your convenience!
If you want to keep in touch FaceTime audio and video works well and you donít need a vpn for those.
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Old 16-10-2019, 09:33 PM
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I went a couple of months ago and bought this sim card here:-

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It's designed for Chinese people in the UK to get cheap calls back to China and people traveling back and forth to China, but it allows data roaming with your data allowance in China. I got the 22gb for 19.99 and it lasted for the 3 weeks I was there.

But the interesting thing was that nothing seemed to be blocked on it - I could access all social media, BBC, Spotify, Whatsapp etc.

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Old 16-10-2019, 09:53 PM
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Thanks all, really helpful!
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