YouTube is blocked by The Great Firewall. So if you have YouTube videos embedded into your webpages, those videos won’t be accessible to anybody that visits your website from within mainland China.
Luckily, there are a handful of Chinese video platforms that you can host your video on. After uploading your video to their platform, you can then easily embed it into any of your webpages.
While these options may be relatively simple, they’ll still require the help of a Chinese person to be able to navigate the sites and sign up for services.
Bilibili is probably the closest thing to YouTube in China.
Here’s a random sample video. You might notice something a bit weird, right? Bilibili places “bullet comments” on top of the videos. These are comments that are left by regular users. Viewers can choose to turn them off, but they are enabled by default. Comments range from positive to extremely racist and “trollish”.
To access the above video, I clicked on the share button “分享”, then copied the iframe code. Then I pasted in some style code: style=”width: 640px; height: 430px; max-width: 100%.
If you don’t want the bullet comments on your video, simply add &danmaku=0 to the source URL. Check it out:
Overall, most Chinese platforms are a bit more like Netflix. They provide professional TV shows and movies but also allow businesses or amateurs to post videos as well. Tencent is the most popular of these platforms.
Of course, if you only want to get a video to show on your website, it doesn’t matter how popular the platform is.
Here’s the sample video. You’ll probably notice the downside right away: ads!
If you want to remove the ads, you’ll need to pay. They charge 3,000 Yuan for 50,000 views. Views are valid for a year. Learn more here (Chinese).
Youku is another popular platform, and its embedding option is similar to Tencent’s.
It does show ads, but you can sign up for a paid plan on Youku too. Their plan lets you show your videos up to 80,000 times for 5,000 Yuan/year. The setup process isn’t very friendly for foreign companies, unfortunately.
(If you can’t see the video above, try turning off the ad-blocking extension in your browser.)
CUplayer isn’t like the others. It isn’t a social video platform for viewers to find your video(s). Instead, they only focus on helping you share videos on your website and they provide a bunch of embedding options besides iframe.
Unlike other social video platforms, it isn’t possible to share any video anywhere. The video below is a special sample that is publicly accessible.
It costs 1,199 Yuan for about 30 gigabytes of storage and 2.7 terabytes of data over the year. There’s also a free plan that gives you 5 GB of storage and 12 GB of data/month. See the pricing here (Chinese).
If your goal is simply to embed videos on your site, I recommend going with Bilibili first. It’s free, and your videos will load quickly inside and outside of China. As an added bonus, the videos might pick up traffic from Bilibili users too.
But, if you don’t want people to be able to comment, go with CUplayer.
Third, if you want additional publicity, post your videos on Tencent Video, Youku, and/or other platforms too.
Most foreigners and foreign businesses can create accounts on Tencent Video, Youku, and Bilibili and CUplayer. However, to be sure you’ll need to check as things may differ case-by-case. For each platform, there are some little things in the signup process that could trip you up. For example, Bilibili requires business documents that are not well-defined for each country. Plus, CUplayer requires a Chinese phone number and a QQ account.