China has a long-running practice of censoring and restricting access to foreign services. Google Drive is the last service to hit the Golden Shield. It is hard to believe that Google will find solace in the fact that most of the popular cloud storage services are also restricted in China. 0.5 Billion active internet users are off-limits while cloud storage is on the rise. There are already quite a lot of great service providers out there. The number of services suggests that there is a rising demand. Cloud storage for the masses is still a new thing.
How is China coping with the Golden Shield vacuum? They mimic the concept of existing services, build upon them and offer internal solutions to Chinese citizens.
- Google Drive – 5GB of Google Docs plus whatever you feel like sharing with Google. For a free service it would be OK, but I won’t feel okay with Google being able to use my content if I pay for the storage.
What China offers:
- Wangpan – The “Google of China”, Baidu, offers Wangpan – the Chinese word for “your only viable option”. All attempts of witticism aside, Wangpan offers 15GB for free. With most options removed by default, it seems like a pretty decent offering. According to online sources, Baidu will embed Wangpan to Yi (Android derivative). Baidu are up to something. When you search for “wangpan” you’ll get a lot of results from sites such as Forbes.
- Dropbox– 2GB which get to about 18GB, media streaming, Linux & Blackberry clients included. This service is quite popular, every now and then offering perks to help free users boost their space.
What China offers:
- Kanbox – Think of Kanbox as the Chinese Dropbox. The similarities are too many to be ignored. Even the homepage has the same concept. The service offers the same features as its non-Chinese counterpart. Unlike Wangpan, anyone can register. There is no hype around limited number of daily invites as the service is already well established. After receiving 20 million in venture capital in Q4 2011, Kanbox is definitely about to up its game.
- Skydrive – 7GB of storage and a not-so-nasty 2GB file size limit. It is rare to see Google have a nastier policy than Microsoft. In this case I would feel better with Skynetdrive. Also one of the few Windows Phone options.
What China offers:
- 360 Cloud Disk – Here is our last entry. 360 Cloud Disk offers the whooping 18GB, extendable to 36 absolutely free. The only limitation is that your file needs to be below 5GB, which is ok. This solution can also be considered pretty safe. It has been developed by a company mostly known for its antivirus and security solutions.
Of course, one might say that the Chinese are missing out on some of the other great cloud storage services out there, such as Box, SugarSync, Insync, etc., but three good free cloud storage services are more than what most countries have. Then again China has no decent access to the first set of service providers. The best thing about all services listed here is that Chinese or not these services are free and would aid anyone who is after a decent backup for their personal data. If you are about to travel to China on business and need cloud storage, you should probably try to copy your essential data to one of their cloud storage counterparts.
Speed and technical availability of the Chinese cloud storage services seem to be the last thing to worry about. Still, it is good to remember that The Great Firewall monitors all internet activity in mainland China. No matter what cloud storage service you use, you should check if it is available in China. You can do this with our China firewall test. Note that sometimes the services seem available and you should run multiple tests. Dropbox can be accessed by some platforms and locations, but completely unavailable in others. It has to do with China’s firewall not being that great. No pun intended.Tweet