China's answer to Google is offering 2TB cloud storage for free, but there's a catch

TeraBox website screenshot
(Image credit: TeraBox)

Ed: Terabox reached out to us after the publication of the article to clarify the following

  • Users can continue to upload/download/move their files after the 180 days if their files don’t exceed 1TB of space. If files exceed the 1TB they would need to upgrade to become a Premium member to continue accessing the files.
  • The referral program and check in program can run concurrently
  • The servers are in Japan, rather than China

Baidu, one of China’s biggest tech companies, introduced a 2TB free cloud storage plan for domestic users nearly a decade ago, and is now looking to do the same for the rest of the world with its Terabox brand. 

The company recently announced it is rolling out a referral program which extends its already humongous 1TB (1024GB) free cloud storage offer to a maximum of 3TB.

How useful this freebie might be is debatable given that the extra 2TB free cloud storage is only valid for 180 days. Although there’s no fixed expiration date, we’d expect the data to be purged once the 181st day is reached. Every activated referral brings in 200GB data and each existing Terabox user can add up to 10 users.

A decent performer

Such schemes have been around for cloud storage for years especially at the very beginning when cloud storage was nascent. Box, Dropbox and Onedrive have recruited millions of active users using this tried and tested method. 

Also available is a check-in program which gives 293GB of data after a week; Terabox didn’t say whether both programs can run concurrently to boost cloud storage capacity.

We reviewed Terabox recently and found that while there are tradeoffs to be had in terms of bandwidth throttling and file size limits, these are all reasonable compromises to make, so we gave it an honorable 3.5/5 stars. There’s no native MacOS client and the fact that the servers are located in mainland China may make some potential users uneasy. 

Terabox has been a roaring success outside of China though with more than 35 million downloads on PC, iOS and Android. The firm has confirmed that it reserves the right to deny the referral program reward(s) in the event of fraud or other excluded circumstances.

As a comparison, our current best cloud storage provider, iDrive, charges only $3.98 for the first year and delivers 10TB online cloud storage with support for unlimited devices and extensive file versioning. After the first year though, you will be charged nearly $80.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.