My understanding is that the way PCI-compliant CC transactions happen now in China is that the foreign company interested in selling you stuff has a VPN endpoint inside the Great Firewall that their servers use to ship CC info across the firewall to servers outside of the firewall. If that's not correct, please let me know how this actually works.
I've heard that in the past year or so, the government is dropping more and more encrypted traffic and that VPNs of this nature can't be relied upon.
I strongly believe that people are still doing business, but must be doing it differently somehow. Does anyone have information on this? Do you possibly just have to go through specific, government-chosen (formally or informally) companies who have been allowed to pass VPN traffic?
The Great Firewall is an onion with layers of policies. We've noticed that the firewall policy differs from province to province and differs substantially in Hong Kong and Macau. Additionally, the traffic is monitored algorithmically and manually resulting in frequent policy tweaks.
Are you selling to Chinese customers? Are you B2B or B2C? Have you looked at Alibaba's Alipay payment platform? They work with foreign (i.e. non-Chinese) merchants. They have enormous marketshare (PayPal level), work with many banks and are partnered with Mastercard and Visa.
If you really must engage in business across the Great Firewall on your own I would look to establish multiple VPN endpoints within friendly provinces and the special administrative regions. Of course, this will be an enormous PITA and require constant monitoring, so I would avoid it if you can. Alipay is probably your best option.