Is it possible to watch Hulu in China? Although Hulu is technically not accessible in China, I’m still able to log onto my account and stream my favorite TV shows and movies. Want in on the secret? Here’s a quick explanation on how you can access Hulu in China too.
Being able to stream TV shows and movies that I love while I’m living in China is a big deal. Sure, I know I can watch shows in Chinese, but there are times when I just want to relax and get away from China. You know what I mean?
That’s why services like Hulu, Netflix or YouTube TV are a lifeline for expats in China, including me.
It’s not as simple as it seems, though. There are a number of hurdles you have to overcome before you can simply sit down, open your computer and start streaming Hulu in China. Here’s what you need to know.
Note: This article contains affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I will be compensated if you use some of these services I recommend. The good news is that in many cases, such as this link to ExpressVPN, I’ve negotiated special deals to get you 3 months of free service.
Is Hulu Blocked in China?
You may be thinking that Hulu must be blocked in China in the same way that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Gmail is censored in China. But the actual reason for Hulu not being accessible in China is it lacks the proper licensing to stream content outside the United States.
Thinking Netflix may be a good plan B to watch your favorite movies and shows instead? It is a good idea, but unfortunately, Netflix also geo-restricts streaming in China.
While it is a bummer that Hulu lacks the proper licensing to stream content in China, the good news is you can still watch Hulu in China as long as you first connect to something known as a Virtual Private Network, or “VPN” for short.
Accessing Hulu in China Using a VPN
For those who have never heard of a VPN (Virtual Private Network) before, don’t worry. You can think of it as software that tricks online service providers like Hulu into thinking you are in the United States, when in fact you are actually in China.
In other words, when you connect to a VPN server in the US and then login into Hulu, Hulu detects an American IP address from your device instead of a Chinese one and then allows you to stream content.
Now you may be thinking that masking your location to get around Hulu licensing restrictions sounds shady and potentially illegal. But rest assured that as long as you are a paying customer of Hulu’s, there’s no reason you can’t use a VPN to watch Hulu in China.
For a more detailed explanation, check out this video explaining what a VPN is.
Connecting to a VPN in China
Ask any long-term expat in China and they’ll tell you how often they use a VPN. It’s not illegal to use a VPN in China (contrary to popular belief) and it makes life in China bearable.
The big thing you need to keep in mind is that because China blocks access to VPN websites, you’ll want to get set up with a VPN prior to arriving in China. Go ahead and purchase a VPN subscription and get everything installed on your phone, computer or tablet. You can even use a VPN on your AppleTV!
This is what usually happens when you’re setting up a VPN for your phone or tablet:
- You purchase a VPN service on your computer (5 min)
- Download the VPN app on your phone (3 min)
- Sign into the App and use the app to install server connections (5 min)
- Click “Connect” and you’re done!
Set aside about 20 minutes to get this all put together and you’ll be good to go. It’s thankfully quite simple, even for those who are less “tech-savvy”.
One more thing: I highly recommend you download at least two VPN services for your phone as a backup in case one doesn’t work. China sometimes blocks certain IP addresses, which can cause major connection issues no matter which VPN you use. I recommend the following VPNs:
- ExpressVPN: One of the most popular VPNs on the market that has one of the best phone apps I’ve seen. I use this every day. Best of all, they have a 30-day money-back guarantee in case it doesn’t work well for you. BONUS: when you use this link for ExpressVPN, they’ll give you 3 months free on any annual plan.
- NordVPN: Again, another VPN that has an easy-to-use mobile app and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- VyprVPN: My final recommendation is a VPN that has been very reliable for numerous expats in China.
Start Streaming Hulu in China Today
Once you are connected to your VPN, you can start watching Hulu. It’s that easy! Just remember to connect to a VPN server in the United States as Hulu is not available in any other country.
Occasionally Hulu stops working when your VPN gets disconnected, but this does not happen too often. Just reconnect to another VPN server in the USA to continue streaming from Hulu.
Conclusion: Using Hulu in China
Hulu may not be one of the many blocked websites in China, but just because Hulu lacks the licensing to stream content outside the U.S. does not mean you should suffer! A quality VPN can allow you to enjoy all your favorite movies and TV shows.
To learn more about VPNs you can check out many resources including reviews of my favorite VPN providers here.