What is the Great Firewall of China and how does it impact companies in the market?

 

While the phrase “Great Firewall” has been thrown about in discussions of Mainland China’s technological landscape, many people do not know its origins or, perhaps more importantly, how it can affect a brand looking to expand into the market. So the question is- what is the Great Firewall of China?

The Great Firewall is the infrastructure (legal and technical) that regulates the domestic Internet. It’s what allows the government to slow down cross-border Internet traffic and control access to select websites; it’s also what prevents the average Chinese consumer from accessing Google, Facebook, Twitter, and many other sites.

It’s also perhaps the most important factor that businesses need to be mindful of when they decide they want to expand into China. So, what do you need to know about the Great Firewall if you’re interested in tackling the world’s largest consumer market?

1. The firewall has several methods of controlling content

Whether IP blocking, DNS spoofing, URL filtering, VPN blocking or other methods, there is no shortage of techniques that the firewall can use to control content and access to certain websites. What does that mean for you? It means that you need to host your website in China. Your traffic can’t simply go from the user, sitting in Shanghai or Beijing to your servers overseas in North America or Europe, or even Hong Kong! If you were to do that, at best, your site would be slowed down, providing your consumer with a poor experience. At worst, your site might not be accessible.

2. The Great Firewall has allowed China to grow its own Internet giants

Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu, and many other organizations have been able to thrive as a result of the trade protectionism that the Great Firewall provides. How does that affect your business? It means that if you want to conduct online business in China, you’re going to have to play by their rules and on their turf. That means your SEO will need to be targeted towards Baidu instead of Google; your social media advertising will need to be on WeChat instead of Facebook and Instagram, and your e-commerce marketplace will have to be JD and Tmall instead of Amazon.

3. There is no Google Analytics in China

While Google may have built an impressive web optimization and marketing suite for the rest of the world, Google Analytics is not available in China (as mentioned above, no Google plugins are available in China). And so even if your website is hosted in China, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to find analytics about your site’s performance. How do you deal with that? Enter Chinalytics, WPIC’s customdeveloped tool that allows you to measure, analyze and act on your company’s China data. With dozens of North American brands using Chinaytics in the Chinese market right now, it is the leading IT solution for companies looking to track and report on website traffic inside the China region.

4. The Great Firewall slows down all Internet traffic in China

While China’s Internet consumer is quite sophisticated, her Internet infrastructure is not. On top of the fact that the country cannot build cables and wiring fast enough to keep up with the growing technological need, the Great Firewall also slows down the public’s experience online. All content will be significantly slower, especially content that is heavy in load. Thanks to more than 15 years in the market, however, WPIC knows how best to optimize your website’s performance in the market. They know how to build and design sites that maintain the quality of user experience you’re looking for so that consumers have a positive and pleasant interaction with your brand, leading to conversions and a boost in ROI.

Interested in learning more about the Great Firewall and how WPIC can help your business maximize ROI in that environment? Get in touch today by contacting info@wpic.co.