How To Register a Chinese (.cn) Domain Name - Complete Guide
How To Register a Chinese (.cn) Domain Name - Complete Guide

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To register a .CN domain name has become a lot easier than it used to be. The CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Centre), the official registrar for .CN domains authorized by the Ministry of Information Industry, simplified the registration procedure starting in 2012.

However, there are a few technicalities that you need to be aware of since buying a .CN name is somewhat different than registering a .US, .CO, .UK, .FR, or similar domain names from other countries.

We will now guide you through the process of registering a Chinese domain name. Throughout the discussion, we will address some critical points that can help you decide if you need a Chinese domain and some of the benefits of registering your online business in China.

What Is a .cn Domain Name and Who Can Buy It

.CN is a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) that identifies websites from mainland China. Considering the size of the Chinese audience and market, the .CN domain is one of the most used domain in the world with over 20 million registrations.

Before May 2012, only businesses registered in China could buy a .CN domain. However, the CNNIC has since then changed the registration policy, and now anybody can buy a .CN domain name whether you are a Chinese or foreign company, or if you are an individual resident of China or not.

However, even if you are allowed to buy the domain, it doesn’t mean that you can start to use it immediately. Before you can you use it, there are some technical steps you must go through.

Procedure For Registering a .CN Domain

Even though everybody can buy a .CN domain, you cannot change the domain name server until the CNNIC reviews your personal information. Therefore, even though you can buy the .CN domain at any time, you can only start to use it when your personal information has been verified.

In order for the CNNIC review to take place, you are required to submit specific documents. Here are the documents that different registrants need to provide.

For a Company Located Outside China

  • Company's registration certificate
  • A copy of an identity card from the companies representative (national ID, passport, drivers license, and so on.)
  • A letter of Commitment with signature

For a Company Located in China

  • A copy of a Chinese business license
  • A copy of the Certificate of Organization Code
  • A copy of a Chinese Citizen National ID of the companies representative

Individuals Not Located in China

  • A copy of an identity card (national ID, driver’s license, passport, and so on)
  • A signed copy of a “Letter of Commitment”

Once the documents are submitted, the CNNIC will verify your identity. The process may take up to 15 days, but there's a chance you get approved in just a few days.

As you can see, among the documents you may have to provide there is a "Letter of Commitment.” This document that is required only for websites that are not hosted in China. The letter must be written both in Chinese and English, and it states that the owner of the domain is not hosting the website on a Chinese server. In the event that the site is transferred to a Chinese hosted server, the domain name owner commits himself to apply for an ICP license.

What Are the Benefits of a .CN Domain Name

If you are serious about targeting the Chinese market, registering a .CN domain is advised.

When your website or Chinese e-commerce is registered with a .CN domain, it tells your audience that you are oriented towards the needs of the Chinese market. Therefore, having this kind of domain can facilitate your entry into the Chinese market giving you an advantage to adapt to local culture.

Moreover, since you have to go through an audit to confirm your identity in order to register a .CN domain, it adds trustworthiness to your online business, and this has a significant impact on Chinese customers.

Another aspect that will help people welcome and trust your online business in China is that when you own a .CN domain, local laws apply to your business. While this at times can be a bit inconvenient for you, it puts Chinese customers at ease since they are familiar with these laws and know that their interests are protected.

Again, and this is an important factor, a .CN name allows you to host your website or Chinese e-commerce in China. Having an online business running on a local host server is a smart move if you want to target the Chinese market extensively. However, keep in mind that to host your site in China, besides having a Chinese domain name, you must also apply for an ICP license.

Should You Host Your Website or Chinese E-commerce in China?

If China is the primary target of your website or e-commerce, using a Chinese hosting company has many advantages.

For instance, when your website is hosted in China it is easier to get past the Great Firewall of China and therefore your website will be considerably faster than the ones hosted outside the country. Speed is critical to ensure an excellent UX, and Chinese customers expect that.

Moreover, when your website or Chinese e-commerce is hosted inside the Country, you can better reach your audience through local social media and implement SEO strategies targeted to Baidu, the primary search engine in China.

However, the downside is that to host your website in China you must have the ICP license, which is a Government permit that allows a company or individual to operate an online business in China. Obtaining the ICP license may be discouraging for foreign companies, but if you take advantage of the support from a top web agency in China like QPSoftware, the process will be fast and easy.

Conclusion

If you are interested in registering a Chinese domain name, the procedure is quite simple and open to anybody.

However, registering a .CN domain name is only the first step. If you want to operate a website or e-commerce and be serious about targeting the Chinese market, there are additional steps to follow as we have outlined. Given the size of the Chines market and the growth of the local economy, an investment in this part of the world may return appealing results for your company.

QPSoftware, a leading web agency in Shanghai, is the perfect partner to help plan your entry into the Chinese market. We can assist you in registering a Chinese domain name, verifying your identity, and obtaining the China ICP license to operate in this part of the world.

QPSoftware has over 10 years of experience in targeting the Chinese market. Besides assisting you with bureaucracy requirements, our international team of experts can help you in designing and developing a web solution for the Chinese market. We know local customs, we know what Chinese users expect, and we will use our knowledge to your advantage. Contact us today, and we will be glad to discuss your project. 

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