Why is Clubhouse so popular in China?

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The Clubhouse direct voice communication application attracts many users from the Chinese mainland, as this American application is still not subject to censorship by the authorities, despite the extensive discussions it witnesses about rights, national identity, and other sensitive topics.

China bans Western social media applications such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube and imposes strict censorship on the local Internet to get rid of content that may negatively affect the ruling Communist Party.

In early 2020, the Clubhouse app saw a massive increase in user numbers earlier this month after Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Robin Hood CEO Vlad Tennev unexpectedly held discussions on the platform.

Access to the app’s chat rooms is only possible through invitations from existing members. Starting today, he began selling invitations to the platform for between 50 and 400 yuan ($ 7.73 to $ 69.59) on popular Chinese e-commerce sites.

Reuters directly noticed many Chinese conversations as thousands of users heard wide-ranging audio discussions covering topics including Xinjiang internment camps, Taiwan independence, and Hong Kong’s national security law.

While the Clubhouse app remains uncensored, it is only available on iOS devices and unavailable on the local Apple app store, both of which are major obstacles to its widespread use in China.

Mainland Chinese users can access the app by modifying their app store website.

It is not clear why this app is still not blocked in China, although some foreign social sites that some Chinese are tracking have managed to work under the surveillance radar.