Netflix enjoys a whopping monthly user count of 21.6 million in China, claims a British online research firm. This comes as a surprise, as the online streaming company does not offer its service in the country yet.

Netflix Accessed By Over 20M Users In China: REPORT

Netflix popular in China, India

U.K.-based GlobalWebIndex (GWI) suggested that around 54 million people use a VPN to access Netflix on a monthly basis. Apart from China, which totals 21.6 million, in India there are 6.4 million users accessing Netflix through VPNs and other tricks. Although Netflix is active in Brazil and Mexico, total VPN users in these countries are 4.9 million and 2.6 million respectively, according to GWI.

These users access Netflix’s content through a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to pose as legitimate users. VPNs and various other geo-spoofing techniques are used to log into Netflix either because the service is not available in the region or the content the users want to see is not licensed in the territory. Either way, these users are violating the terms of Netflix’s licensing deals with studios and networks.

Massive use of VPN good for Netflix

The research firm drew up the figures based on a survey of 83,000 people in the second half of 2014. GWI suggested that it is quite possible users are sharing account log-ins. In its study, around 34% of the individuals said they have accessed Netflix without actually paying for the service. This heavy VPN access of Netflix is actually good for the streaming service, according to Jason Mander, the research firm’s head of trends.

A recent report suggested that the company is tracking VPN users to block them, but Netflix denied any such move. “I couldn’t believe that Netflix would be doing such a thing — which, as it turns out, they weren’t,” Mander said.

On the VPN issue, Netflix’s chief product officer, Neil Hunt, also clarified that the company is not hunting down VPN users, and there has been no change in its policy. Netflix said it is adopting industry-standard methods to prevent consumers from virtually crossing borders in violation of the terms of use.