Posts Tagged ‘icp license’

How to host a website in China, as a non-resident?

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

China is bound to become the largest economy in the world, and companies of all sizes from around the world have or are planning to sell their products or offer their services to Chinese consumers and businesses. The Great Firewall severely restricts access to overseas websites in China, either by blocking them, or by making the access speed extremely slow. In order to provide the best user experience to Chinese users visiting their websites, overseas companies therefore would preferably host their websites within the firewall, on a mainland China server.

The problem in doing so is the ICP license requirement which  the Chinese government has put in place and basically restricts hosting in China to companies incorporated within the country.

What options are there to host your contents in China?

First, you can consider teaming up with a Chinese company which will serve as your marketing partner in China. The ICP license can be applied under their name which allows you to host your website in China. Make sure to keep control over the domain name you have registered for this venture, to prevent it to be stolen by the partner.

Second, if you have a Chinese individual which you trust, you can apply for a personal ICP license under their personal name. This option is not 100% legit if you are running a business site, furthermore in case of audit the ICP license will be revoked and your website blacklisted.

Third, depending of your investment capabilities, you can set up a new company in China. Registered capital requirements are been waived in multiple Chinese cities which make it easier to set up an operation in the country, even with a limited presence.

Finally, you may consider instead hosting at a nearby location for a relatively faster access (as compared to sites hosted on US or European servers). Such locations include Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. One host that we regularly recommend on this blog is SinoHosting which offers both China and multiple nearby countries hosting at affordable prices.

We hope this post has been useful. If you have more suggestions in terms of hosting in China for non-China residents, please feel free to post a comment.

Do you really need to host a website in China when targeting Chinese users?

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

One question we are often asked is whether it is really needed to host a website in China when targeting visitors, clients or in general users from mainland China?

The reply is yes and no.

China is today the second largest economy in the world and many Western companies are involved with China in a way or another. Many are importing products from China, others have products that have a potential market in China. Some are even considering moving to China to establish a branch there. Most Fortune 500 companies have branches, factories or representative offices in China.

For many companies whether online or brick and mortar the internet is playing a very important role in day to day operations. While using emails or running a website might be an after thought in the developed world, the existence of the Great Firewall Program however makes it a real issue in China. The Great Firewall Program basically is a program run by the Chinese government to monitor and filter the internet, all international connections from and to China will go through this program.

The most known effect of the Great Firewall is the blocking of various overseas websites in China. Thus, when a website is deemed to breach Chinese laws, it allows the government to prevent its access from any internet connection in mainland China. While using virtual private networks (VPNs) is a way to bypass this, the greatest majority of Chinese users will not go through the hustle of purchasing or configuring one.

Another less known effect is that due to the GFW filtering foreign websites access is significantly slowed down in China. The farther the foreign server, the slower its access within China. Websites hosted on servers in the East Side of the US, or Western Europe would in general be very slow when accessed from China. Websites hosted in the west coast of the US, Japan, Singapore etc. will be comparatively faster.

For a general business website, without much media content, hosting is a nearest location of China should be sufficient to reach Chinese users, even if not as optimal as hosting locally. One host we often recommend on My China Hosting Blog is SinoHosting ( which is focused on hosting foreign companies targeting China, and offer servers in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea which are fast to access from various regions within China (for example websites targeting Guandong province should host in Hong Kong, while those targeting Beijing or the Northern China should host in South Korea etc.).

Websites that are blocked in China are usually adult-related sites, political websites and the like. As such, it is unlikely that your business website will be specifically blocked by the great firewall, unless they share a server or IP address with a site that happened to be blocked. As such, it is recommended for websites heavily targeting China to choose a host that focuses on China users such as SinoHosting or Kowloon Hosting.

For companies that have a legal presence in China it makes sense to go through the hassle to apply for the ICP license which is required to host your website in China. Others do not have the option to host in China due to the impossibility for them to apply for the ICP license, and therefore should host at one of the locations mentioned above.