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What You Need to Know About Web Hosting in China

Last updated on June 3, 2024

What You Need to Know About Web Hosting in China

One significant factor that distinguishes successful growth-driven organizations from those struggling in Mainland China is the presence of a Chinese (.cn) domain. This means hosting a website within China’s internet censorship system, colloquially known as the Great Firewall.

The benefits of web hosting in China are noteworthy. It allows businesses to connect with their target audience in a way that resonates with them since the Great Firewall treats websites from inside and outside Mainland China differently.

What's the key benefit of website hosting in China?

It’s important to understand that the Great Firewall treats websites hosted inside and outside Mainland China differently.

Websites load approximately 4 times faster inside China’s firewall compared to outside it (and CDNs rarely solve loading speed issue). This means that organizations hosting their websites outside China are likely to lose customers who have to wait for their brand’s website to load, often taking upwards of 30 seconds.

BASF case study
We reduced BASF China’s website loading time by 500%.

Such delays can be quite costly when a business is trying to expand its market presence.

Registering a Chinese (.cn) Domain Name

Acquiring a Chinese domain is a complex process due to the strict regulations set by the Chinese government.

These regulations aim to maintain the credibility and authenticity of businesses while also reducing cybersquatting and other forms of digital abuse.

ICP: Why is it and why you need it?

In order to host a website in Mainland China, organizations are required to obtain an Internet Content Provider (ICP) license.

This license is a registration number issued by the state. According to Chinese regulations, all websites within China must have an ICP license; otherwise, they will not be allowed to be hosted.

To obtain the license, the registration process involves filling out various application forms and providing company identification and commercial license documentation. It’s important to note that all these documents must be provided in Chinese. This process is part of China’s bureaucratic system, which may be unfamiliar to most Western companies.

Importance of website localization

In order to connect with Chinese consumers effectively, brands need to do more than simply translate their web copy. Merely translating the content is not enough. It is crucial to delve deeper and optimize websites to cater to the audience’s preferences, cultural expectations, and functional requirements.

Government of BC case study
We helped government of BC in Canada optimize and localize its Chinese website.

To make a website user-friendly in China, the first step is to ensure a proper and professional translation into Chinese. It is essential that the new copy captures the nuances of the language accurately.

Moreover, brands that succeed in meeting cultural expectations typically go the extra mile to customize various elements such as colors, styles, images, and symbols. These changes aim to create content that resonates with the target audience. Additionally, detailed adjustments like date and time formats, measurements, and contact information should also be considered.

Obtaining accurate analytics for a website in Mainland China can be challenging due to the unreliability of Google Analytics, which only offers partially accurate data.

At WPIC, we have developed and deployed Chinalytics, an omni-channel web analytics platform specifically designed to overcome this issue. Chinalytics provides precise insights into a brand’s website performance within the Chinese Firewall.

WPIC data dashboard
Our omnichannel reporting dashboard consolidates data and market insights into one place.

Chinalytics offers a range of valuable features to enhance your website analysis. These include click-tracking, heat-mapping, and integration with WeChat. Additionally, it allows tracking of Baidu AdWords, offers a fully customizable interface, and much more. With Chinalytics, you can access comprehensive and accurate analytics to optimize your online presence in the Chinese market.

Effective geo-targeting in China with Baidu

Once a brand’s Chinese domain is established, the next step is to register the website with Baidu, the leading search engine in China and a crucial source of web traffic in the country. It’s estimated that over two-thirds of all web traffic in China comes from Baidu.

Creating an effective SEO strategy with Baidu is essential for maximizing customer exposure and improving the organization’s search ranking. However, just like registering an ICP or a domain, setting up Baidu ad accounts can be complex and may result in rejection if the administrative process is not followed correctly. Local assistance is crucial to ensure compliance and navigate the intricacies of the procedure.

Similar to other market entry and growth initiatives in China, partnering with local experts can greatly enhance the chances of success for organizations looking to establish their websites in the Chinese market.

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