As you probably know China is an incredible market. It is not easy to get into it but once you are in and following a good method, this market could be yours! But before getting in you should be wary.
One of the main questions that our clients asked us is “how do I host my website in China”? This article will help you to understand the different tools and the different processes for hosting your website in China if you decide to target this amazing market.
Why Should You Host Your Website in China?
First of all, if you want to target the Chinese market you have to follow some rules. One of these is that this market is incredibly special and unique. You cannot adopt the same strategy as you would in Europe, USA or anywhere else.
If you target the Chinese market, you will have to adopt a specific digital strategy and the first step of this digital strategy should be to host your website in China. It will be the best way to reach your (potential) customers whether through website, mobile or social media. That is how you will be able to engage your customers and encourage them buy your products or services.
By hosting your website in China you will have to face some challenges. Indeed, you will have to:
- Counter the Great Firewall
- Find the best way to host your website
- Understand and fight the local browser (no Google here if you do not use a VPN)
- Use the right social network (no Facebook here but WeChat is unavoidable)
What Are the Different Steps to Host Your Website in China?
There are three main steps to be able to host your website in China:
Buy a Chinese Domain Name (.cn)
Technically almost anyone can buy a Chinese domain name. Let’s clear this up, it is only available for Chinese people and Chinese companies. If a foreign company wants to buy a Chinese domain name, it has to have a legal entity in China otherwise it will not be possible.
It goes the same for foreign individuals, they cannot buy a Chinese domain name. To explain the reason why it is because you will need to confirm your identity to the entity from whom you will buy the Chinese domain name.
While you will try to buy the domain name, you will obviously have to check its availability otherwise you cannot buy the domain. Let’s have a look at the procedure when you will go to the official entity called CNNIC to get your Chinese domain name:
- Select the name and registration term of a domain name to be registered.
- Log in to the website "WHOIS lookup" to inquire about the domain name information
- Select a satisfactory registrar on the accredited registrar list of CNNIC
- Contact a registrar and submit domain name registration data
- Sign a domain name registration agreement and keep the relevant documents
- Submit authentic, accurate and complete registration information and application materials
- Verify the domain name registration information
- Pay close attention to domain name auditing results
- After the domain name registration is completed, pay attention to the audit result through the ICP record management system of MIIT
- Enable domain name resolution and start using the domain name
Buy or Rent a Server
On one hand, if you decide to work with a company/agency to help you to get your Chinese domain name first, they will probably offer you the choice to use their servers. Then you will either have the option to have a dedicated server or share a server with their other clients. On the other hand, if you already have some internal servers you can use them if they are located in China, or you can buy new ones.
Apply for the ICP License
For those who have never heard about the ICP it would be favorable to have a look at a previous article called “ICP LICENSE - THE BASICS” but the main points that you have to know about the ICP license are:
There are two ICP licenses:
- ICP license for commercial websites (operational): this license allows your prospects to do online shopping.
- ICP license for non-commercial websites (informational): this license does not include direct sales.
The purpose for having an ICP license:
- To get hosting in China and then have a faster-loading website
- To get the China CDN (Content Delivery Network)
- The different steps to get the ICP license (or Bei An in Chinese):
- You have to register a domain in China and buy hosting.
- You have to get your Bei An service number.
- You have to register for the Aliyun ICP Management System.
- You have to log in to the Aliyun ICP Management System and fill out the registration form.
- You have to submit your documents for Aliyun’s approval.
- You have to have a photo.
- You have to wait for MIIT to approve it.
If you decide to do it on your own or with an agency, it will take time. In the first case between three and six weeks, or in the second one it could be even longer.
It is interesting to know that these three main steps are converging together. Indeed, when you apply for the domain name you will have to give the hostnames and IP addresses of the primary and auxiliary servers, as well as all the details of the applicant. If the applicant is an entity then it will be all the details of the entity plus the details of the applicant’s administrative contact.
What Is Your Next Step?
As you can see, it is not really easy to host a website in China. If you are interested in this subject and need more information, do not hesitate to contact us. Moreover, if you do not want to do it by yourself and you are looking for someone to do it for you, we will be glad to help you tackle this amazing market. Do not hesitate to contact us.