Do Internet Regulations Stop You From Growing Business in China?

If you operate a Chinese-based business or sell to China, you now face a critical decision: Should I host my website in China?

In China, website hosting is a frequently asked question that is often met with rumors, inaccuracies, and misrepresentations.

This article will assist you in determining whether China's internet rules will prevent you from expanding your business there, why you should consider hosting your website in China, and what steps you can take to host it in China to avoid any potential problems.


Why You Need to Host Your Website in China

To start with, if you want to reach the Chinese market, you need to follow some rules. One of them is that this market is very unique and special. This is one of them. Europe, the United States of America, or any other country isn't the same as the rest of the world.

First, you need to come up with a unique digital strategy that will help you reach the Chinese market. The first thing you should do is host your website in China.

It will be the best way for you to get in touch with your (potential) customers, whether by website, mobile, or social media. This is how you can get your customers to buy your products or services.

Because your website will be hosted in China, you may run into a lot of hurdles.

But the long-term benefits of hosting your website in China outweighs the temporary struggles:

  • You won't have to deal with China's firewall problem anymore.
  • You'll find it easy to promote your business online in China now.
  • It will be easier to do Baidu PPC (Baidu Tuiguang) and Baidu SEO.


China Internet Regulation

What is an ICP license in China?

"Internet Content Provider" or "ICP" is an acronym for Internet Content Provider, which is also known as "ICP Bei An", meaning "ICP registration".

People in China usually put their ICP license numbers at the bottom of their homepages. In addition, a single Chinese character is also included in the ICP license number. This character tells which Chinese province the license was given.


How do I get a Chinese ICP license?

ICP permits require a four-step application process. You don't need to travel to China to complete the process, as it can all be done online. However, you'll need the help of a Chinese speaker because there are no English forms.


1. Select a local web host.

Although your website, app, or game does not have to be active before applying for the license, you will need to secure a local hosting provider first.

2. Collect and submit any necessary documentation.

Submit the necessary papers to your hosting provider, which may differ by province.

Bear in mind that each province has its own set of regulations. If you are a business, you must register in the province in which you obtained your business license. If you are applying for an Individual ICP as an individual, you may register in any province, but you must check the prerequisites. For instance, Hebei province does not accept applications from non-residents.

3. Adhere to the review of the host and clearance by the MIIT.

If all documentation is in place, it typically takes a corporation 20 business days to get an ICP License or ICP Filing.

Once your documents have been approved, they will be forwarded to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) for additional evaluation. You will not interact directly with MIIT at any point during this procedure. If you are rejected for any reason, your hosting provider will contact you and request additional information.

4. Submit a report to the Public Security Bureau (PSB)

Finally, within 30 days of acquiring your ICP License, it is optional to apply for a Public Security Bureau (PSB) file.

This is a criminal background check to ensure the candidate is not engaged in any illegal or criminal activity.


How Can I Host My Website in China?

There are three important steps to hosting your website in China:

1. Purchase a Domain Name in China

You are not required to use a .cn domain name. You may also utilize alternative domain names, such as com. The only condition is that you purchase domain names from a China-based service provider or transfer existing domain names to a China-based service provider. 

2. Rent or Buy a Server

If you work with a company or agency to help you get a Chinese domain name at first, they will almost certainly let you use their servers.

Then, you'll be able to buy your own server or share one with one of their other customers.

3. Get an ICP License

As I have mentioned before, getting an ICP license is just a simple 4-step process that you can do online at the comfort of your own home.

Do I need to register a business to host a website in China?

Short answer: No.

This is because one of the requirements, so you can apply for an ICP license, is to have a registered business in China with an accompanied Chinese business license.


Which web hosting works in China?

1. Alibaba Aliyun

Alibaba Cloud has web hosting options for businesses of all sizes. They help you save money on the development, maintenance, and IT costs while making sure your site is safe, scalable, and stable.

2. Microsoft Azure China

Microsoft Azure, which is run by 21Vianet, is a separate set of cloud services that are located in China.

3. Tencent Cloud

Cloud computing service: Tencent Cloud is a safe, reliable, and high-performance service from Tencent.

Now, Tencent is the most important Internet company in China, and even in all of Asia. It has products like QQ and WeChat that are used by hundreds of millions of people.

4. Amazon China

Amazon Web Services has worked with local partners in China who have the right telecom licenses to provide cloud services.

Amazon Web Services wants to give Chinese software developers and businesses secure, flexible, reliable, and low-cost IT resources so they can quickly and easily grow their businesses.


How Can I Create a Website in China?

1. Use china web hosting provider

Because the internet in China is so limited, having a server in China is a must. This will also make sure that people can get to your site quickly and without any problems.

2. Use the language of your target market

Did you know that there are different kinds of Chinese languages out there?

Mandarin Chinese is the official language of Greater China. Simplified Chinese is used on the mainland, whereas traditional Chinese is used in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau.

People should keep this in mind because you'll want to use language that is appropriate for the people you want to reach.

3. Optimize for Baidu

Because Baidu doesn't have JavaScript, you might have to make your Chinese website in a very different way from what you're used to making.

You'll also need to make sure your site is mobile-friendly because almost 900 million people in China use their phones to go online.

4. Remove FB, Google, Twitter API code

Since certain social media websites are blacklisted in China, having hints of the API code of these websites can also slow down your own website.

To avoid this from happening, ensure that you have removed all of the API codes from these websites.

5. Integrate Chinese social media sites

As of now, China has more than 900 million people who use social media. This makes it the world's biggest social media market. This is even though social media sites such as Instagram and YouTube are blocked in the country.

Social media users in China are very tech-savvy, so your website should have links to official social media accounts on platforms like WeChat.

These steps will not only help you get more followers on these platforms, but it will also show Chinese customers that you understand their culture and can be trusted.


In conclusion

You won't get any help from having a Chinese-language version of your website because the Great Firewall blocks websites that are hosted outside of China at any time.

The same censoring system can slow down or completely stop your website if your code links to websites that aren't allowed — and this could be Google.

Online markets in the West don't apply to China, and its people don't act the same way they do in the West.

Because of this, I think that you should put all of your efforts into making your website more relevant to this set of people.