G Suite vs Microsoft 365: Which one to use in China

One of the questions we frequently receive is which is the best email service option between G Suite and Microsoft 365 (previously known as Office 365) for companies operating in China? The choice is an easy one. For many years already, Gmail and many of other Google’s products have been blocked in mainland China. To access those services, effectively one must be using a VPN or proxy service, which can be slow and not reliable. Therefore, if you are going to be using this email service in China, Microsoft 365 is probably the better choice.

There are two options when it comes to Microsoft 365: an “international” version which uses servers in Hong Kong and overseas, and a mainland China version, which is offered in partnership with a local company (21Vianet).

Using the Vianet version of Microsoft 365 would make you subject to Chinese laws and potential access of your data by local authorities. As such, international companies operating in mainland China may choose to use the Hong Kong version of Microsoft 365 instead. The disadvantages however are the increased latency when accessing from China, and the potential block of access that may happen from time to time.

Other than these two options, you can also consider local players. Alibaba, Netease, Tencent (QQ), Sina, Sohu and 21cn also offer corporate email solutions, although you might need to speak Chinese to be able to order or obtain support from them.

Need to set up an email service at your own domain name or for your business in China? SinoHosting provides both standard, cPanel-based email hosting solutions and Microsoft 365 plans.