Is it possible to watch Twitch in China in 2019? As the world’s leading live-streaming video service, content streamed on Twitch is popular not only with expats but even with local Chinese people. But is Twitch blocked in China? If so, is it possible to still use the service?
China has a tendency to censor its internet, a measure it says helps to protect its citizens from outside influence (because, you know…online gaming presents such a danger to Chinese society).
Unfortunately, the Chinese government doesn’t publish a list of which websites it blocks and when it blocks them. For most travelers and expats, this means either doing a bunch of research online, asking friends who already live in China or – in many cases – just learning from first hand experience.
Hopefully, that’s where I can help. I’d like to answer all the questions you might have about Twitch in China, including its status within the country and how to use it in any case.
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 Twitch Blocked in China?
First things first. The most important question here is this: Is Twitch blocked in China? The simple answer to this question, unfortunately, is yes. Twitch is currently blocked in China.
In late September 2018, after a huge boost in popularity for the app within China, the Chinese government took the proactive step to censor the game streaming service and remove the app from Apple’s Chinese App Store (at the time, it had hit the No. 3 most popular free apps in China).
And just like that, millions of Chinese fans and expats alike slammed their fist in collective frustration.
Thankfully, there are still a few creative ways to enjoy streaming Twitch in China
Accessing Twitch in China Using a VPN
Unlike other services which geo-restrict content within the country (such as when you try to watch Netflix in China or Hulu in China), Twitch is one of the services that has been actively blocked by China’s Ministry of Information.
For this reason, a simple DNS workaround or SmartDNS setup won’t help you.
You’re going to have to circumvent China’s censorship with a proxy or VPN in order to stream Twitch in China.
For those who have never heard of a VPN (Virtual Private Network) before, don’t worry. You can think of it like an encrypted tunnel that connects your computer with another computer in another country.
While it may slow down your connection slightly, it allows you to access the internet as if you were in the country where the other computer is located. No more censorship. No more big brother.
The primary use of a VPN is for securing your connection to the internet, particularly in public places like airports, coffee shops, etc. However, they’ve become such a popular tool in China that the vast majority of long-term expats use a VPN on a daily basis – including me.
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 in China. Contrary to a popularly held belief, using a VPN is not illegal and it makes life in China bearable. And if you want to stream Twitch in China, you’re going to need to connect to a VPN.
Keep in mind that China blocks access to VPN websites. That means 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.
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.
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 (Editor’s Pick): 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 Twitch in China Today
Once you are connected to your VPN, you can start streaming Twitch. Keep in mind that a VPN is not an internet connection. You will still need to have some sort of network connection, whether that’s Wi-fi or finding a way to get cellular network access in China.
Once you have network connection, simply log onto a VPN like ExpressVPN, connect to a server in the closest available country and start streaming Twitch in China.
Here’s an example of how ExpressVPN would look on your phone. The right shows your options for choosing a server location and the left shows the easy power button to connect.
Conclusion: Using Twitch in China
Don’t suffer just because the Chinese government gets uneasy about popular streaming platforms. And don’t get bitter either – they block tons of great social and streaming content.
Instead, beat them at their own game by downloading a VPN and continuing to stream Twitch in China.
To learn more about VPNs you can check out many resources including reviews of my favorite VPN providers for China here.