ICP Registration Numbers are required for any e-Commerce website hosted in mainland China.
The Ugly Facts: Everyone knows that the Chinese government has numerous regulations concerning on-line businesses in China. One of those regulations requires all websites with their own domain name operating inside China obtain approval and an Internet Content Provider (ICP) Registration Number (also known as a Beian License) from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
The only way to obtain and ICP Registration Number is to go through a cloud hosting agent that has an ICP License. Don’t get confused – there is a difference between an ICP License and an ICP (or Beian) registration number. The ICP License pertains to the cloud hosting entity. The ICP registration number pertains to the website owner. All websites hosted on a server in the Chinese mainland must, by law, apply for and receive an ICP Registration Number (Beian) before their site goes live – a rule enforced at the hosting level where the ICP License is needed. The ICP Registration Number must be listed on the website’s home page and the ICP Registration Certificate must be installed.
Please note: If your website does not have an ICP Registration Number – it will be taken down.
Again, to obtain an ICP (Internet Content Provider) Registration Number the application must be made through an ICP Licensed host such as CDS’ affiliate, Capital Online Technology. Only an ICP licensed cloud host can represent clients in obtaining an ICP Registration Number. To date, the Chinese government has never issued an ICP License to any foreign cloud hosting company including Amazon, Microsoft or Google.
Choosing the correct agent is important. The application process is long and complicated – especially if you aren’t fluent in Chinese. Each province has slightly different regulations and the Internet laws in China change frequently. What was the rule today may not be the rule tomorrow, or even in the next province. CDS and Capital Online Technology will walk you through the steps free of charge and provide you with free cloud hosting during the process.
Beware: There are many 3rd party agents who offer to procure ICP Registration Numbers sometimes at exorbitant prices, some even charge a monthly fee to “maintain” the registration number. There is no monthly fee and there is no need to pay a 3rd party provider. CDS will walk any customer hosting with CDS through the process and provide an agent free of charge.
FAQ About ICP Registration Numbers
Question: Do you have to be hosted in mainland China? No, there are options such as Hong Kong where the rules are different. But, just like the US, a high SEO gets your site seen. With a “foreign IP address” Baidu (China’s version of Google) will rate your site very low. In addition, your site will be slower and if it becomes blocked, or is taken down, you have no recourse. If you truly want to become a presence in the marketplace you have to compete on a local level A high SEO ranking on Baidu and a fast, loading website is critical to e-commerce success in China. (For more information about website speeds in China see below)
The Answer: CDS Global Cloud can make the process stress-free. Our Beijing affiliate, Capital Online Technology, an ICP Licensed host since 1998, has had years of experience helping customers obtain ICP Registration numbers. Together, we will walk you through the process step-by-step and help you get your website up in record time.
During the process, you will be required to submit your domain and server data on the application. This means that you will have to register your domain name and secure a cloud host (and pay hosting fees) before even beginning the process. CDS Global Cloud will not only walk you through the process and offer free cloud hosting until your ICP registration is approved and you receive your ICP registration (Beian) number.
- Your domain will have to have a Domain Certificate obtainable from your domain host. The easiest way to obtain a Domain Certificate is to register your domain name or transfer your existing domain name from an overseas Domain Registrar to a Chinese Domain registrar. (You can try submitting a WHOIS information of your domain name to the MIIT instead of the Domain Certificate, but don’t be surprised if it is rejected and a rejection will slow the process down greatly.)
- You will be required to have a legal agent in mainland China with a Chinese address and phone number. CDS can provide an agent if you do not have one.
- During the ICP Registration Number (or Beian) application process your domain and any subdomains MUST NOT have content – if they do, your application will be denied.
- Discussion forums are not allowed! If you simply must have one, you must apply for an ICP License (which is much more difficult and has never been issued to a foreign entity).
A knowledgeable and experienced hosting provider such as CDS Global Cloud and Capital Technology can make this process fast and easy.
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