11 Best Free Sites to Watch Chinese Drama Online (Legally in 2023)
So, you’d like to know where to watch Chinese drama online, preferably for free, eh?
Plenty of websites let you watch Chinese drama & TV shows online without costing a dime in 2023. Problem is, not all of them are legal. While some free sites are filled with loads of ads and popups, others try to coax you into adding suspicious extensions to your browser. A few of them might even direct you to malicious sites without your awareness. And that can put you, my C-drama-loving friend, in danger.
This is why we did a deep dive and curated a list of the best streaming websites to watch Chinese drama for free, and legally.
Here are our top recommendations for everyone.
Best Websites to Watch Chinese TV Drama Online for Free
- Mango TV
- Tencent Video
- Migu Video
- Sohu TV
Here is more about each website in detail:
iQIYI is one of the best websites out there where you can watch Chinese drama online for free without signing up. It’s basically the Chinese equivalent of Netflix, with over 500 million active users every month.
The site has an awesome collection of famous Chinese dramas, movies, variety shows, anime, and even lots of original content produced by iQIYI itself. The interface is neat and clean with a search bar to help you explore.
To access all the dramas, you need to get a VIP subscription, but there are tons of free content worth checking out on the site. The good streaming quality gives you a great viewing experience while letting you switch between multiple devices through its free apps (Android and iOS).
Best TV drama series to watch on iQIYI:
The Lost Tomb (盗墓笔记)
The Ferry Man (灵魂摆渡)
Price: Free (limited content), or paid version at $6.99 per month.
Everyone knows YouTube – it practically got everything you can imagine. Yet it may come as a surprise to some new to the world of Chinese dramas to know that yes, there are numerous full-length episodes of Chinese TV series on YouTube, free to all, with multilingual subtitles.
Simply type [Chinese drama name+ eng sub] in the search bar, and you will get a list of matching results. If you don’t know what to watch, start with producers’ official channels. Here are some top recommended YouTube channels to watch C-dramas in high picture and translation quality.
- Tencent Video
- WeTV English
- MangoTV Drama
- Letv Official Channel
- China Huace TV Official Channel
- YoYo English Channel
- Huashi TV
- Zhongju Dubo
Best TV drama series to watch on YouTube:
Novoland: Pearl Eclipse (斛珠夫人)
Remember Me (青春向前冲)
Viki is one of the best streaming sites for watching Chinese drama without registration and downloading. In fact, it has the most extensive array of shows catering to Asian drama fans. Besides Mainland Chinese shows, there are tons of TV series and movies from Taiwan, Japan, and Korea. The video quality is outstanding, and the streaming is pretty fast compared to other websites.
The best part is that subtitles on Viki are sourced by global fans of Chinese dramas, and most of them come with multiple language options including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, etc., which are also very accurate. But sometimes newly released episodes are uploaded before translation, so you might have to wait on those subtitles if you’re a beginner in Chinese.
Like other websites, Viki also offers the common “access all content if you get a VIP subscription” deal. Depending on what you want to watch, this may or may not be worth it. (Many popular Chinese dramas can be watched on this website entirely for free.)
Best TV drama series to watch on Viki:
Go Go Squid! (亲爱的, 热爱的)
Falling into Your Smile (你微笑时很美)
Price: Free (limited content), or VIKIPASS at $4.99 per month.
WeTv is another popular TV streaming site that lets you watch Chinese drama and TV shows for free, with English subtitles. China’s tech giant Tencent owns this website so you can trust it regarding quality and reliability.
There is an extensive array of dramas hosted on Wetv across several genres such as romance, fantasy, period costumes, horror, action, etc. While those newly-released series are not 100% free (there is a paid plan), you can stick around with plenty of comparatively older content. And the best part is that you can view them across multiple devices like Android TV or smart TVs by downloading their App.
Best TV drama series to watch on WeTV:
You Are My Glory (你是我的荣耀)
The Imperial Coroner (御赐小仵作)
Price: Free (limited content), or you can get a paid plan for unlimited content
5. Mango TV
Mango TV is a great video entertainment platform that lets you watch full-length Chinese TV shows for free without downloading in 2023. Primarily focused on overseas users, Mango TV is best known for its original variety shows. It has also released a ton of English-subbed Chinese dramas, including many that weren’t available with English subtitles before. No registration is required to access its free content.
Best TV drama series to watch on Mango TV:
Under the Power (锦衣之下)
My Dear Brothers (亲爱的吾兄)
Price: Free (limited content), or you can unlock early episodes and archived VIP drama by paying via either Google Play or Apple App store.
Apart from the 5 websites mentioned above, there are three other platforms where you can watch Chinese dramas online with English subtitles in 2023 that are worth mentioning:
However, you have to pay after the trial to continue these services (Netflix does not offer free trials). This is why we did not place them in the list.
The above are the top websites to watch free Chinese drama subtitled in English to the best of our knowledge. Now, if you understand a bit of Chinese or want to experience the language authentically, you’re in for a treat, because we’re here to show you a list of genuine Chinese video platforms designed for Chinese-speaking audiences as well.
The websites we list in the upcoming section have at least ten times more enjoyable content in Mandarin than the sites mentioned before. They will almost certainly not have English subtitles (some have Chinese subtitles), but depending on your Chinese level, this could be a good thing, especially if you’ve reached the intermediate/advanced stage in your Mandarin study. You can learn new vocabulary and expressions in an immersion setting without English distraction.
Before moving ahead, there is just one thing to note.
While all the websites and TV services listed below are free and 100% legal, a lot of content is only available to users located within Mainland China due to copyright issues.
Here goes the list.
6. Tencent Video (腾讯视频)
Tencent Video is our favorite streaming site to watch Chinese dramas within China. It’s currently one of the largest online video platforms in the world with over 200 million daily users and 106 million VIP subscribers.
While its international version WeTV focuses on overseas users, Tencent Video provides richer content for Chinese audiences. Apart from the most recent TV shows and original series, it has a vast collection of classic dramas, HD movies, and anime, many free of charge without creating an account.
Tencent Video is available in China only. So if you are located overseas, we recommend that you use a VPN to access this website. If you are a mobile user, then download its free apps for Android and iOS.
Best TV drama series to watch on Tencent Video:
Crime Crackdown (扫黑风暴)
Douluo Continent (斗罗大陆)
Price: Free (limited content), or 20 CNY per month for unlimited
7. Youku (优酷)
Owned by Alibaba Group, Youku is another go-to resource to watch Chinese drama online for free in good quality without signing up. However, if you choose to do so, Youku lets you create a watch list of favorites and resume playback across different devices.
Navigating the website is pretty easy if you can read Chinese. Also, it allows you to explore shows based on genre (romance, adventure, comedy, crime, period costume, sci-fi, wuxia fantasy, and more) and sort by latest and ratings.
Best TV drama series to watch on Youku:
ER Doctors (急诊科医生)
Let’s Fall in Love (咱们相爱吧)
Price: Free (limited content), or 19 CNY per month for VIP content
8. Bilibili (哔哩哔哩)
Bilibili, also nicked named B Site (B站) in China, is the most popular video-sharing website among young Chinese themed around animation and games. However, the site also offers a great collection of free TV dramas, documentaries, variety shows, and other original content for a broader audience.
The fun thing about watching dramas on Bilibili is the “danmu (弹幕)” commentary sharing system. You can post comments directly on top of the video, and they would then scroll across the screen in real time and be seen by everyone. Comments sometimes got so thick that they resembled a barrage of bullets, aka danmu (literally, “bullet curtain”).
You don’t have to sign up to watch the shows, but if you opt to do so, you can get better video quality to boost your viewing experience, and create a watch list of your favorites.
Best TV drama series to watch on Bilibili:
Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三国演义)
Couple of Mirrors (双镜)
9. Migu Video (咪咕视频)
Even though Migu Video is primarily focused on sports streams, its large library of Chinese dramas, TV shows, and movies is equally worth checking out. In short, it is a good platform to watch Chinese shows and sports for free online. But it can be made better by adding more filters for TV series like other websites. Here you get only a bar to search for your favorite TV show.
That being said, Migu Video does offer free Android and iOS apps with a well-managed layout for you to watch the content on mobile devices. While the VIP shows require a subscription, there is a lot of free content you can appreciate in high quality.
Best TV drama series to watch on Migu Video:
The Twelfth Second (第十二秒)
Price: Free (limited content), or 18 CNY per month for VIP subscription
10. Sohu TV (搜狐视频)
Owned by China’s leading internet company Sohu, Sohu TV is another great website to watch Chinese drama online for free in 2023, with its huge collection of high video quality TV series. You can filter dramas based on genres like idol, family, romance, suspense, fantasy, and much more. You can watch interesting Chinese vlogs here as well.
This website also has a free version and a VIP section, but most of the new shows become free when they end, so you don’t have to buy their subscriptions if you’re willing to wait.
Best TV drama series to watch on Sohu TV:
Medical Examiner Dr. Qin (法医秦明)
The Disguiser (伪装者)
Price: Free (limited content), or 19 CNY per month for membership plan
Last but not least, PPTV, previously known as PPLive, brings you thousands and thousands of free Chinese drama episodes at your fingertips. Apart from TV shows, you can watch popular Chinese movies too. PPTV did a great job updating its media library with fast streaming servers. Like other sites, there is no need to sign up to access the free content and subscription is optional.
Best TV drama series to watch on PPTV:
In the Name of the People (人民的名义)
The Wolf Warriors (百战天狼)
Price: Free (limited content), or 19 CNY per month for VIP access
Free Chinese Drama Website FAQs
Can I watch Chinese Dramas for free on my phone or TV?
Yes, watching Chinese dramas on your phone is super easy. Most platforms are available on iOS and Android phones as applications. They are free to download in Google Play or App Store. You can then connect your mobile device to a TV as a display for content playing on the apps.
Can I download the Chinese Dramas?
Some of the platforms we mentioned (e.g. Tencent Video, Youku) allow you to download TV shows and movies onto your computer or mobile device so that you can watch them later without an internet connection. Others (e.g. YouTube, Viki) come with no download button, and you need to turn to a third-party downloader for offline video watching.
Can I watch Chinese dramas online for free without a VPN?
Yes, you certainly can. There are plenty of Chinese drama episodes in full length on YouTube, for instance. But if you want to access 10x more resources from the authentic Chinese video platforms, you usually need a Chinese IP address and a VPN service like ExpressVPN or NordVPN will come in handy.
What are the best China dramas to watch in 2023?
Uhm…touch question. As the old proverb says, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”, but we did thumb through the library and assembled a list of some of the best Chinese TV dramas series currently available for streaming. Read our guide to Best Chinese Dramas to Learn Chinese in 2023.
Free Chinese Drama Online Takeaway
Different audiences have different preferences, and these free Chinese TV series streaming websites are good for different content. “Best” will depend on you what you want to watch. Hopefully, our guide has given you some great options.
Keep in mind that all these websites we mentioned above offer tons of free dramas without signing up. So take a good look around before paying for their VIP pass.
Now, it’s time to grab some popcorns and start binge-watching!
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