Putting your Chinese website on a server in China makes a lot of sense – mainly because it will deliver faster load times for Chinese clients and customers. For anyone based here in China, we know how atrociously slow the Internet can be when trying to visit foreign-based websites.
Why host in China?
- Load speed will be much faster. You want your Chinese clients and customers to be able to browse your site and find the information they need without waiting or worse, leaving
- Legally China prefers local websites, and has the right to block websites that are hosted abroad
- Website hosting companies such as Aliyun are reliable and have a number of packages
Why use a Chinese domain name?
- Chinese domain names end in .com.cn or .cn
- Having a Chinese type of domain name will lead to better search results in Baidu – the main search engine in China – remember, Google is blocked
- There is also an option to use Chinese language in your website URL, although this is not that popular yet. It may be worth at least purchasing the domain name with your company’s name to protect it, even if you don't use it.
What is an ICP number?
- If you are planning on a pay-per-click campaign in Baidu, you are required to have an ICP number on your website.
- ICP allows the Chinese authorities to have a single contact point in case there are any questions or problems – we were contacted by them concerning a change of rule regarding a photo upload campaign which we had been running.
How do I apply for ICP?
- The application is online and in Chinese only – it typically takes a few days to a few weeks to process
- A lot of foreign companies have problems applying for ICP or a Baidu PPC account if they do not have a local legal entity. There are ways around this but all dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
- Typical paperwork required includes the following – note that they may ask for the administrator to show up to have their photo taken!
ICP Required Documents (this may change! always check)
- Website domain name
- Company registration address (has to be the same as on company registration certificate)
- Company registration certificate number
- Company name (has to be the same as on company registration certificate)
- Company communication address
- Investor name
- Website administrator in charge
- Website administrator ID type (Passport or Chinese Personal ID)
- Website administrator ID number
- Office phone number
- Mobile phone number
- Email address
- Photo scan of Company registration certificate
- Photo scan of administrator ID
- Administrator photo taken at authorized points
It may seem like a lot of hoops to jump through, but if you’re serious about engaging with this market, the extra effort is worth your while, and your customers will agree.