Dropbox Alternatives: Chinese Cloud Storage
Yeah, we all know and love Dropbox, but our inner cheapskates usually prevent us from forking over the money required for a monthly subscription. The 2GB cap on free storage is never enough, though, so here are some Chinese cloud services that offer free storage in the terabytes. One terabyte equals 1,000 gigabytes. But you knew that.
Weiyun: up to 10TB
Image courtesy World of Ning
Weiyun is the cloud service from Tencent, the same tech giant behind QQ instant messenger, WeChat, Weibo, and so on. Initially, Weiyun was only able to store photos, video, and audio, but it's since extended compatibility to websites, documents and entire file folders. You can view, edit, share and download any of this content through your computer and across all mobile platforms. An added feature on Weiyun is the ability to generate a unique QR code for sharing specific files or folders. You have to have a QQ account, or sign up for one, to use it, though. Extra plus for non-Chinese speaking users: it's available in English too.
Kanbox: up to 10TB
Image courtesy Tech in Asia
As if in response to Tencent upping the cloud storage game, Alibaba (of Taobao, Alipay and Youku fame) acquired Kanbox, offering the same variety of Dropbox-esque services while matching that 10TB of free storage space. This one is only available in Chinese at the moment, so you'll either have to stumble your way through the set-up process or have a Chinese-speaking friend help you with that. After set-up, it's all laid out in a straight-forward enough manner, with lots of icons, so it's fairly easy to navigate from there.
115.com: 15GB to start, plus 1TB/year
Image courtesy Tech in Asia
Aha, another one available in English. Yes, the website design looks suspiciously like that of Facebook's, but it's legit. Actually, it used to be one of the leading cloud storage providers in China before it abruptly shut down in August 2012. Since then, it's back up and running, offering new users 15GB of free storage space to start with, which increases by 1TB every year without limit (so they say).
Baidu Cloud: up to 2TB
Image courtesy TechNode
Yup, Baidu, China's most popular and widely used search engine website, also hosts a cloud storage platform. It's currently only available in Chinese. There are quite a few steps involved in set-up—you have to download the app, "claim" the free space, and so on—but a kind fellow on the interwebs has created a step-by-step tutorial with screenshots for English speakers. Check it out here.
There are dozens of other Chinese sites that host similar services, but we've just listed the ones we've had positive experiences with.
Got any additional suggestions, or critiques of the services listed above? Let us know in the comments box below.