5 Chinese-Owned VPNs on Google Play Store You Should Be Wary Of
A lot of folks are turning to VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) to stay safe while on the internet. This is important, given how porous the internet has become in recent times. Hackers are getting ingenious and desperate, resorting to different techniques to access users’ data.
If you decide to download a VPN from Play Store, you should bear in mind that the locations of these VPN providers are very important. This is because some jurisdictions do not take kindly to VPNs. Furthermore, the strength and nature of the security features the VPN providers will give you depends on its location.
Thus, it is surprising to learn that some VPN providers have their headquarters in China or are owned by Chinese citizens. China has unsavory antecedents when it comes to the amount of freedom it affords its citizens. It has routinely clamped down on VPN providers, kicking them out of its region. All of these pose a significant threat to VPN enthusiasts. However, in most cases, Chinese-owned VPNs do not reveal their ownership status to users.
In this review, we look at some Chinese-owned VPNs available on PlayStore. This will, perhaps, cause you to be wary about going with them in the future.
Chinese-Owned VPNs on Google Play Store
Here are 5 Chinese-owned VPNs we came across:
1. Turbo VPN
Turbo VPN conveniently states that it operates both from Singapore and China. It might not be entirely correct to say that this provider makes this move to throw off suspicious individuals. However, the fact that it is a Chinese VPN should (and does) raise some eyebrows. This provider enjoys wide popularity with users of the Android PlayStore. It has a 4.5 rating on the platform. Furthermore, it has been downloaded a record 3 million times (and 300 thousand times by iOS users.) Perhaps, this is because it offers a completely free service in addition to its paid service.
It might be foolhardy to take advantage of this provider’s free service. This is because even though it is registered as being operative from Singapore, it still has to send users’ data back to China since it is operative there too. It might not be possible to guarantee the security of your data in such a situation. You may even be exposed to danger if your data gets into the hands of unsavory elements in the Chinese space.
2. VPN Proxy Master
This is a Chinese-owned VPN that has garnered more than 1 million downloads on Android Play Store and 800 thousand downloads on the iOS app store. The VPN is marketed as a reliable, privacy-friendly service provider with above-average features. The company in charge of the VPN is known as Lemon Clove PTE. Limited. This is one of the companies owned by the Chinese firm Innovative Connecting.
This provider carefully omits to reveal this fact to users, even though it claims that it maintains a robust no-log policy and robust security features. It is easy to see why a lot of users will subscribe to this VPN service. At the moment, it has more than 6000 servers in over 40 locations. Similarly, it has other attractions, including providing unlimited bandwidth to users, compatibility with popular device types, etc. However, if you are looking to get a VPN for your security needs, VPN Proxy Master may be less than ideal for you.
3. Snap VPN
Snap VPN is another VPN company that has ties to mainland China. Just like TurboVPN, this provider is based in Singapore. In fact, some theories have it that the same company may own these VPN providers. This is worrisome, given the great lengths the owners have gone to keep their identity and relationship with China secret.
Furthermore, this provider has been downloaded over 10 million times by (unsuspecting) users on PlayStore. If the provider indeed shares data with the Chinese authorities, this automatically poses a problem for users. In any case, there is no denying the ties that Snap VPN has with China.
4. Thunder VPN
Just like the previous VPNs reviewed, there is little information about the owners of this VPN. This sort of shady behavior tells you that there is something the provider wishes to keep secret about its ownership. Signal Lab developed the app. Signal Lab is Hong Kong-owned but is associated with SecureVPN, a Chinese-owned provider. Furthermore, a cursory look at this VPN’s logging policy shows that it retains some aspects of users’ data, which it sells to advertisers.
5. Sky VPN
With 1 million downloads on the Android PlayStore, Sky VPN surely enjoys a measure of popularity. It offers both a free plan and paid options. Generally, it might be great not to expect so much from this VPN provider. Its free plan leaves much to be desired. Beyond that, its ownership is particularly worrisome.
Sky VPN is owned by Tengzhan Technology, located in Hong Kong. However, this company is further owned by the Tengzhan Group, a Chinese company. This provider does not reveal this on its website. Perhaps this is because it fears that users will assume that since the Tengzhan Group owns the Tengzhan company, the former then owns Sky VPN.
What is the Big Deal About China?
You may be wondering why we are making so much fuss about Chinese-owned/controlled VPNs. Chinese-based VPNs raise some red flags for users. We will enumerate some of them here:
The Chinese authorities have a history of restricting the internet freedom of its citizens. In addition, it closely monitors various aspects of a citizen’s online presence. Thus, going along with a Chinese-owned VPN could mean that your details may be available to the Chinese authorities. The Chinese government may pressure these companies within its jurisdiction, causing them to share users’ data. The effect of this could be dangerous, especially if considered against the fact that these data leaks could affect private companies.
Most of these companies do not reveal that they are owned by Chinese citizens or located in China. Even though, as pointed out above, there could be a plausible explanation for that. However, this sort of situation is critical, considering that the relationship between a VPN provider and a user is one predicated on trust. If the user cannot trust the company to be transparent about its ownership and location, how can they trust the security and privacy features the providers make available?
The Challenge with Free VPNs
Chinese-owned VPNs are typically free. This free business model means that a user does not have to make any payments before using the VPN. However, this comes with unique challenges, which are further exacerbated because of the location problem.
Free VPNs may collect and retain your online data. They could then sell them to third parties, which could include hackers and cybercriminals in some cases. These are some of the challenges that come with going with a VPN located in China. Therefore, before opting for a free VPN provider, be sure to do your homework about them.
When creating a checklist of features to consider while downloading a VPN from the PlayStore, the location should be high on your list. Ideally, the VPN’s location should be privacy-friendly. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for China. This should tell you about 5 Chinese VPNs to steer clear of, but if you’re looking for a list of top VPNs then take a look at our list of VPN reviews. We hope this proves rather helpful.