What's an ICP License and why do you need it?

2019/12/10 | 3 mins

Whether you're looking to create a corporate website or an e-commerce site that allows you to take part in the digital Chinese economy, you will need to take extra steps to make sure you can pass through what's known as the Great Firewall of China. A website blocked in China is most likely because it doesn't have the required license to operate from within, among many other technicalities.

There's this usual assumption that China network monitoring, which is what the Firewall is mostly about, could be very limiting. In truth, these limits can actually open you to more business opportunities if you are able to fulfill them. If you understand how the Great Firewall works, you can do more than just reach potential Chinese customers. You can also gain valuable insights and access into the digital ecosystem of the Chinese market and diversify your business accordingly.

There are technical preparations you need to make to avoid getting your website blocked in China. And because there's a mix of technicalities and legalities in these preparations, you might need professional help to set all these up for you especially if it's your first time.

Licensed ISPs operating within China are given the power to moderate their networks, so it is common for public websites to refrain from posting topics that are otherwise popular in other countries. Sometimes, you might wonder why a popular global topic doesn't exist in China. Well, it might for a while, on sites like Weibo, then it'll disappear a few minutes later. Such things aren't uncommon.

When creating a website, we often need to just register a domain name and then look for a suitable hosting platform that can sustain your website's needs. However, you will need a bit more than these if you are creating a website that can pass through China's network.

The most important thing you must have is an authorized ICP license.

There are two types of ICP licenses that can be obtained for your website: ICP Filing (for non-commercial websites) and ICP License (for commercial websites). The main difference is that the ICP filing license is granted for informational websites that don't sell retail items. Meanwhile, the ICP license is granted to websites that engage in retail activity which involves settling payments online.

The catch is that these licenses are offered for companies that have a physical location in China. In case you're not planning to hold office in China, you can go through affiliated agencies that offer ways on how to get an ICP license. Hosting and domain registration is usually part of their licensing deal as well. When it comes to domain addresses, it is imperative that you use .cn as your domain address. Additionally, hosting must be located in China. To get an ICP license, a series of requirements must be submitted to the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. If you don't have a physical office in China, it might be a hassle for you to do everything on your own. Save time and effort by getting in touch with a certified agent such as GoClick China, so you can focus on business matters and leave the rest up to the China internet experts.

To learn more about succeeding in the China, check out our other articles.
If you want to learn more about testing in China, check out our solutions.