A Look At VPNs Covertly Operating From Within Chinese Boarders

VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are a significant factor in ensuring a safe connection and privacy when using the internet. In an age where consumer privacy is not given much priority, the number of VPNs available and VPN users signing up for them has exploded. The competition for providers is fierce, and a handful of companies control the majority of the market.

The underlying technology that makes up a VPN is sophisticated, involving information encryption which is fed through the VPN companies’ servers, and sent to the wider internet. Thus, there is a degree of trust required between the VPN user and the company they decide to sign up with.

Of course, there is no VPN company in operation out there that will admit that they’re untrustworthy, or that they sell data, or that they have a checkered history when it comes to privacy. In fact, many VPN providers will go to great lengths to conceal that they’re owned by other companies which may have come under scrutiny in the past.

VPN companies will go to even greater lengths to conceal the fact that they may be owned by a company in a different country – Specifically one in China. In a recent report by VPNPro, it was revealed that a third of major VPN providers are either owned by Chinese companies directly or are owned by proxy, via shell companies and Chinese students in C-level positions.

In short, many VPN providers are not being transparent with their userbase.

The interference of the Chinese Communist Party in business affairs is no secret, with business operating in China as a sort of State-controlled quasi-capitalism system. Not only does the CCP have absolute reach into the business dealings of a company operating from within their borders, a VPN owned by a Chinese company means that the Chinese government can legally demand users’ data.

This has not gone unnoticed by the government of the United States. A recent bipartisan investigation was taken up by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) into the extent to which VPN companies are being used by Russia and China as surveillance tools to spy on Federal employees. In the report, the Senators said, “If U.S. intelligence experts believe Beijing and Moscow are leveraging Chinese and Russian-made technology to surveil Americans, surely DHS should also be concerned about Americans sending their web browsing data directly to China and Russia.”

The situation is grave, and it’s getting much worse as more popular VPN providers are being bought up Chinese firms. In addition, VPNs with Chinese developers have begun to flood the US market. These VPNs provide a direct line of information about American citizens straight back to Chinese authorities.

The VPN market, once a stronghold of privacy, has become a data-driven arms race as corporations use providers as funnels for information. In this post, we’ll look at some of the largest VPN services coming out of China, which should be avoided at all costs.

Innovative Connecting

Innovating Connecting (IC) is a significant player in the VPN market, owning a total of ten different VPNs. The company is also known as ALL Connected (AC), and on their website they claim to be based out of Singapore. However, digging into the company via LinkedIn reveals that the development unit is based in China. The director at the company, Danian “Danny” Chen, is a Chinese national.

Looking deeper into the code of several VPNs and company addresses, one can learn that IC and AC share the same address and similar code as Lemon Clove (LC), yet another VPN company that develops VPN Robot and SnapVPN. Lastly, LC themselves go by another name, Autumn Breeze (AB). AB develops Hot VPN and Unlimited Free VPN Monster.

Of the ten, here are the 5 most popular, with reviews from Techshielder:

Turbo VPN
Despite its mobile applications having numerous downloads, this is not a safe VPN to use. Turbo VPN is an example of fame not equating quality. Stay away from this VPN if you value your privacy, as it will release your information if requested by the government. Despite its no-log policy, it collects data regarding where you’re connecting from, where you’re connecting to, the size of data, and other analytics data. It is also full of unwanted ads, risky permissions, malware, and DNS leaks. In summary, using Turbo VPN is a risk that you might not be willing to take.

VPN Proxy Master
Here is another famous free VPN service provider. The problem with most free VPNs is that since they are not making any money from subscriptions to their service, they look for alternative ways to make do. It has advertising partners like Facebook, UnityAd, Vungle, and AdMob. VPN Proxy Master has a nosy logging policy and lacks extensive security features. It is better to find an excellent alternative VPN if you are not a fan of these features.

Solo VPN
Minor security features, nosy logging policy, no torrenting, lack of popular streaming support, and aggressive ads are features of this mobile VPN application. Although it uses strong encryption to protect your data, it still does not guarantee your privacy.

Unlimited Free VPN Monster
This Android-only VPN service provider’s free version will expose you to aggressive ads. It lacks essential security features and doesn’t seem to offer any information about the type of encryption it uses. Although it is clear about the data it collects, it has not been transparent about its owners and location. The lack of transparency is enough reason to avoid Unlimited Free VPN Monster.

IC is shrouded in mystery, has awful business practices, and isn’t being transparent with users. Despite this, their VPNs are popular. It is advisable to stay away from their applications.


Similar to Innovative Connecting, SuperSoftTech operates officially from Singapore. The company however belongs to Jinrong Zheng, a Chinese citizen living in Beijing. Applications created by Zheng include SuperVPNVPN Payment Tool, and LinkVPN.

SuperVPN is one of the most popular VPNs worldwide, with over a hundred million downloads on Google Play Store. It has the same privacy policy as LinkVPN, which is from the same developer. Its privacy policy gives hints that it might oblige if a superior authority requests your data because it scans IPs against a blacklist.

SuperVPN also stores data in the US and UK according to its privacy policy; however, it is unclear what data this VPN collects and stores. Since users don’t require an account to use SuperVPN, it is confusing why there is a need to store any user data. Although this application has the necessary security protocols to keep you secure, it requests unnecessary permissions from your device. Accepting some of these permissions can leave your data vulnerable.

Despite its popularity, SuperVPN is mired in controversy and has been accused of popping unwanted ads and actually infecting the user with malware. SuperVPN has been ranked the #3 most malware-rigged VPN app in a 2016 Australian research by Csiro:

Other Chinese Companies That Own Or Develop VPNs

Owning over a third of the market, there are a number of other Chinese firms that operate or develop VPNs. Here are some of them:

Newbreed Network
Newbreed Network has about six VPN applications to its name. It claims to operate in Singapore, but the websites of a couple of its VPN applications are in Chinese. VPN Green, SGreen, MasterVPN, NodeVPN, TXVPN, and AirGO Fast are applications with links to Newbreed Network.

Hotspot VPN
The director of Hotspot VPN is Chinese and is resident in China. VPN applications include Free VPN, Hotspot VPN, Secure VPN, and Easy VPN.

Hi Security
Hi Security holds three VPNs: Hi VPN Free, Hi VPN Pro, and Net Master. These applications are part of Shenzhen HAWK Internet, a company under TCL Corporation, a notable Chinese company.

LEILEI owns Yunfan VPN and Bit VPN.

A Risk-Free VPN and the Future of the Industry

It is clear that the VPN industry, initially thought to be a bastion of privacy and security, has become controlled by mendacious parent companies, holding companies, and megacorporations that are willing to sell out the average user to governments or advertisers.

In an age where living without a VPN leaves you and your data entirely exposed, it is nothing short of tragic that users wishing to escape into the safe harbor of a trusted VPN have their fears turned against them.

There are always independent VPN services fighting the privacy fight in earnest, without turning on users and seeing them as the product to sell.

When considering a VPN service, consumers now must be well-informed or face the risks associated with choosing an untrustworthy provider.

Here are some factors those who are searching for a VPN should keep in mind:

  • Independence; is the service owned by another company who themselves own a number of other VPN services?
  • Data Limits
  • Speed and throttling
  • Price; the majority of ‘Free’ VPNs are expected to sell your data
  • Security
  • Company headquarters – Is the company based in a country with modern privacy laws?
  • Privacy; what kind of logs are kept?
  • Customer support

At SaferNet, we offer a competitive VPN for individuals, families, and businesses that ticks all these boxes and more.

SaferNet is the perfect solution to the cybersecurity issues that individuals, families, and businesses face today. It not only connects every device using a secure, 24/7 always on, military grade VPN, but it also stops outside cyberthreats, malware and viruses as well. On SaferNet, all users are protected anywhere in the world, all the time, on any cellular or Wi-Fi network. In addition to SaferNet’s VPN and cyber protection, it also offers a range of employee or parental/family internet controls including internet filtering, monitoring, scheduling, and blocking access to websites or even entire website categories

Typically, a business or family would need 3 separate services for a VPN, Malware Protection, and Internet Controls; SaferNet offers all 3 features in one service. SaferNet truly is an endpoint security presence that can be implemented in minutes around the world, on phones, laptops, tablets, and computers at an economical price point that caters to all sizes of businesses and families. SaferNet guarantees a smooth setup and installation process that takes only minutes, and an easily accessible control hub for you to monitor all your employee’s or family members devices; including activity, time spent online, and threats blocked.