How to Access Google Play in China – Use Google in China 2016

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Updated: May 1, 2017

  1. Start by setting up a VPN account
  2. Then install the VPN app onto your Google Play device
  3. Once installed, open the app and connect to a US located server
  4. Then access your Google Play account or sign up for one if you don't have one yet
  5. Enjoy Google Play in China

How to Access Google Play in China

in more detail:

NOTE: I use ExpressVPN to access Google Play in China. I have road-tested many top VPN providers and in my view, ExpressVPN still offers the best streaming service on the market. You can find out more here:


Moving to China was a difficult decision for me to make. I’ve never been a big traveler and always enjoyed my home comforts. Whilst I know that Shanghai, where I was to be based, is a very modern city, the change in culture and lifestyle was not something that I thought I would adapt easily to.

But my boss was adamant that I was the only person he had who could complete the project, so with much cajoling, I found myself on the plane heading east.

What finally swung my decision was discovering that there was a way I could still use Google Play while I was there. It has long been my go-to site for downloading movies, book, and especially apps (which I am addicted to) yet I know that the Chinese Government routinely blocks Google as well as various other sites. Fortunately, the Great Firewall, as China’s program of Internet censorship is known, can be go around fairly easily using a VPN.


Why is Google Play not Available in China?

There are two reasons you cannot access Google Play through the usual means in China. The first, as I already mentioned, is the Chinese Government’s extensive program of online censorship which stops internet users in China from accessing any Google service, alongside Facebook, Twitter, and many others.

The other is to do with content rights. The full content of Google Play’s stores are only available in the USA, the UK, and Australia, and this is because of content rights. Google agrees rights deals with the publishers of content in order for it to be made available in the Google Play store. If they do not hold these rights, they are not able to make the product available.

For these reasons, outside of those three countries, there is less content available in the Google Play stores, and even within those countries, the price of content can vary.

To restrict content in certain regions, Google employs a technology known as geo-blocking.


How is Google Play Blocking Access in China?

Geo-blocking works by reading internet users IP Addresses. These contain various bits of information about them, including a fairly precise indication of where in the world they are.

If they are not within the USA, Google Play can therefore use geo-blocking to stop them using the US Google Play Store. The only way to get around geo-blocking is to change your IP Address and fool Google Play into thinking you are in the USA, even if you are not. And the best way to do this is by using a VPN.

A VPN will send all your internet traffic via an external server and it tis the IP Address of this server which the site you are visiting reads. Therefore, if this server is in the USA, you will be able to use Google Play.

It really is as simple as that, and if you read on I will explain how to do this using ExpressVPN.


How to Use a VPN to Access Google Play in China

Step 1: Sign up for VPN

Geo-blocking works by reading internet users IP Addresses. These contain various bits of information about them, including a fairly precise indication of where in the world they are.

If they are not within the USA, Google Play can therefore use geo-blocking to stop them using the US Google Play Store. The only way to get around geo-blocking is to change your IP Address and fool Google Play into thinking you are in the USA, even if you are not. And the best way to do this is by using a VPN.

A VPN will send all your internet traffic via an external server and it tis the IP Address of this server which the site you are visiting reads. Therefore, if this server is in the USA, you will be able to use Google Play.

It really is as simple as that, and if you read on I will explain how to do this using ExpressVPN.

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Step 2: Download & Install VPN

Once you have paid, you will be asked to confirm your account by clicking the link in an email. Then you will be invited to download and install the ExpressVPN software.

ExpressVPN can be used on almost all types of devices, so be sure to pick the right one from the menu below and then follow the simple instruction to download and install it.

Once the software has downloaded, and installed, all you need to do is open it up.

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Step 3: Connect to US-based Server on VPN

When ExpressVPN opens you will be invited to choose which server to connect to. You can choose any US-based server to access the Google Play US store, but I would recommend the LA one if you are in China as this offers the fastest service.

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Click on the connection and wait a few moments while ExpressVPN hooks you up. Then you are ready to go.


Step 4: Setup Google Play Account

If you have a Google Play account, you will be able to log in and use it as normal from now on.

If you need to set one up, you will need to start a regular Google account as usual, and then use this to set up your Google Play account. This is relatively easy to do and Google gives you very easy instructions to follow.

And with that, you can use Google Play to access Movies, TV Shows, Books, Apps, and much much more.

Conclusion

And that’s it really. As things turned out, I adapted pretty well to Chinese culture, and after meeting a girl in Shanghai, have actually been back more than a few times since.

One final point to note is that the Chinese Government does not approve of VPN use and does sometimes take steps to block or scramble VPN data. I never had this problem with ExpressVPN, which seems to have passed under their radar thus far, but even if you do encounter it, be patient, as normal service is more often than not resumed within minutes, or worst case scenario, a few hours.

Do feel free to post any comments or questions on this guide below. I am always interested to hear about other users’ experiences, or if you have encountered any problems or changes to this process.

Also, if you are not keen on ExpressVPN for any reason, there are of courses others out there to choose from. You will above my pick of the top 5 VPNs for accessing Google Play in China.

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