How to build a website for Chinese market

The China internet market is different from the rest of the world. When most of internet world uses Google, YouTube, and Twitter, the Chinese internet world has its own rules. Due to internet censorship, most mainstream web services might not work in China. When our non-Chinese clients want to build up a website in China, the first thing we will do is to switch their mindset from mainstream world to the unique Chinese world.


  • Baidu Search Engine. Google dominates in most of the search business in the world, but that is not the case in China. China has its own search engine, Baidu. Baidu is a search engine only for Chinese language. If clients want to do SEO for their website with Chinese content in China, we definitely would suggest for them to look at Baidu.
  • Baidu Analytics. Baidu Analytics is a web analytics service for Baidu search engine. It is similar to Google Analytics but less powerful. Unlike Google Analytics, Baidu analytics has only a Chinese version. The advantage of Baidu Analytics is that all the data are from Baidu search engine. When we do website analysis or SEO, we will refer to the Baidu analytics data.

Internet censorship

  • Overseas server might not work. When we build up a website for the Chinese market, we will choose server location carefully. The most secure way is to host the website within China. If that is a not case, do the research before you decide which service provider you will use. Chances are Chinese netizens won’t be able to visit your website, due to censorship.
  • Google service is not working. No matter if your website is within or outside of China, avoid using Google service, e.g. Google plus, Google fonts, or Google apps. The Google-related service is not working in China. The visitors from China can not open any Google service. Also, it will slow down your website visit from China.
  • Twitter and Instagram are not working. Other mainstream social media are not working, either. The Chinese internet world has its own social media. If you want to connect your website to social media in China to promote your website, most mainstream services are not options. You need to use Chinese social media.

Hosting websites in China 

  • ICP License. ICP stands for internet Content Provider. If you want to host your website in China, you need to apply for the ICP license. When we design and develop websites for non-Chinese clients, the number one issue is that they cannot apply for the ICP license. The requirement for foreign companies to get the ICP license is to have a legal business identity in China. If you do not have one, the only option is to host your website outside of China.
  • Good-quality hoisting service provider. Choosing a good web hosting service provider, like Aliyun (Alibaba Cloud) will save you a lot of trouble. Also, good web hosting service providers will provide an easy way for you to apply for the ICP license. It will save you a lot of time.
  • DNS service in China. The last step to make your website go live is to make the domain name point to your server. If you register your domain name outside of China, you might consider using a Chinese DNS service, like DNSpod. With Chinese DNS service, your website will have lower chance of being blocked.

Hosting websites outside China

  • Server location. If you have to host your websites outside of China, make sure the server location is close to China. We have tried the servers in Tokyo and Hong Kong. They work well for us.
  • Good website hosting service provider. Good website hosting service provider, like Linode can help you solve firewall issues. When your website is blocked, they can change your website IP address to avoid blocked. Also, Aliyun has a server in Hong Kong. It is also an option.

China has a very unique internet world. Everything could be different from the rest of the world. If you want to build a website for the Chinese market, do your own research. Just remember that everything which works outside China might not work inside China.