Operating a business, or even marketing for one is a little different in China. One obstacle Western businesses have to overcome involves an ICP license. But what exactly is it? And do you need it for Baidu SEO?
What is an ICP license?
An ICP (Internet Content Provider) license (ICP 备案 in Chinese) is a permit issued that allows your website to be hosted in China. The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology distributes them, and they’re required if you want to host your site in China. You can find the ICP license in the footer of a website with a license number in the format of “京ICP备04000001号”. Without one, no hosting company will put your website on their servers.
An ICP license is necessary to get your site hosted in China, but it is not a requirement for Chinese Marketing or to have your website hosted locally to do business in the country.
What do you need an ICP license for?
The good news is that you don’t need an ICP license for everything related to marketing or doing business in China. It’s only needed if you want to host your website on Chinese servers.
Having a registered ICP license and being hosted on local servers do have some advantages. Your site may load quicker and it may be given preferred status. The good news though is that your site won’t necessarily be blocked in China just because it’s hosted outside of the country. We have helped many businesses to ensure their website is not blocked in China and to improve their loading speeds.
What qualifications are needed to get an ICP license?
Getting an ICP license isn’t easy, which is why people are so concerned about them when looking to do business in China. Only companies registered in Mainland China and Chinese citizens with valid ID cards are qualified to apply for an ICP license.
Do you need an ICP license for Baidu SEO?
An ICP license is not necessary for Baidu SEO. That means that companies can still increase their Baidu search presence and market their business in China even if it is not hosted on local Chinese servers. We’ve had great success with getting websites indexed and ranking for keywords on Baidu with domains that end in .com or .cn and that are not hosted in China.
Wait, can I get a .cn domain?
Yup! You do not need to be a Chinese citizen to register a .cn domain. We have registered .cn domains with GoDaddy with no issues.
Will my website load slowly in China without an ICP license?
Not necessarily. Although having an ICP license may increase your website speed, we have helped businesses improve their load speed from outside of China. If your site is loading slowly, one option we have is to host your website in Hong Kong or Singapore. Contact us to discuss your options.
Do you need an ICP license for Baidu PPC advertising?
No, you do not need an ICP license for Baidu PPC. However, the application process for foreign companies to open a Baidu PPC account is quite lengthy and complicated. If you’re interested in Baidu PPC, contact us to help you with the application process.
Any other questions about Chinese online marketing? Send us a message anytime and we are happy to help.