How to launch a website in China as a foreign operator

2020/01/21 | 3 mins

If you're planning to expand your business globally, online, China testing is something that gets easily overlooked especially if you are planning on a global reach for your business that must include China. Doing digital business in China requires a few more steps than usual and goes beyond simply translating content from your native language to Simplified or Traditional Chinese. To make a website work in China, you might even consider getting some professional help to cover the entire process for your business.

Recent estimates show that the Chinese Internet population is about 883 million and 90% of this population access the Internet using their mobile phones. What's more interesting is that 28% of these mobile users live in what's considered to be a rural part of China.

With that information, it becomes almost imperative to make sure that your website is built for mobile access especially if you are launching an e-commerce site. You'd literally want your business to be in the hands of your potential market, whether it's giving them corporate information about what you do or closing a purchase with them. These days, responsive websites are pretty much commonplace. But it's essential to note that the technologies that make responsive websites elsewhere might be different when you're creating your website for China.

Essentially, your website will be competing with millions of other websites for relevance, and the best vehicle for you to reach who you need to reach in China is through a search engine called Baidu.

Google is blocked in China, so in its place comes Baidu which works pretty much like a standard search engine does but with its own algorithms and tech requirements--Baidu's web crawler does not recognize Javascript. This might be a crucial aspect to consider, since Javascript has programming permutations such as Angular, which helps speed up the loading time of your website. Consult with your technical team about the possibilities of converting your webpage if you use Javascript extensively especially for retail.

And of course, there's also preciseness in content. Baidu's content algorithm is tailored towards the Chinese language so the rules for engaging readers may be different. Working with metadata and link building may share the same foundations as with Google, but the devil is in the details.

However, these are not the only details you need to consider. The most important of these perhaps is the acquisition of an appropriate ICP license to get your website approved to get through the Great Firewall of China. An ICP license is a unique digital security step that the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issues among websites operating within the country. There are also two different types of ICP license, each of which specify the purpose of your website. As a foreign business entity, especially if you are a small to medium enterprise, you can only devote so much time sorting through these intricacies. Leave it to the China Internet experts like GoClick China, to help disentangle all these networks of requirements for you. It's good to know what specifics you need to accomplish, however, accomplishing them would be easier if you partner with the pros.

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.