Hosting in China: What is an ICP License and how do you get one?

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Global companies are continuously looking for ways to do business in the Chinese market, especially since 20% of the world’s total Internet users reside in China. Given that network congestion can be a hindrance to a great user experience, providing content from within China is the best solution.

To host content in China, the Chinese regulations require that organizations have an ICP License. An ICP License, which stands for Internet Content Provider License, is known as “ICP Beian” in China.

Since the Chinese Government regulates and monitors every aspect of the Internet, including content, storage, and delivery, a license is required for all websites hosted on servers located in Mainland China. While the license is issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), ISPs (Internet service providers) and IDCs (Internet data centers) in China are responsible for ensuring all of the domains they host have ICP Licenses. If a domain is hosted outside of Mainland China, it does not need an ICP License. As long as the content is approved by the Chinese Government, the website will not be blocked. However, if organizations want to share content quickly with Chinese consumers, they should get an ICP License and host that content within China.

To apply for an ICP License, all forms must be completed in Chinese. The organization must be a Chinese-owned business or a partially or wholly foreign-owned (non-Chinese) business. Additionally, organizations involved in news, publishing, education, healthcare, culture, broadcasting, and online distribution of media must go through an approval process prior to applying for an ICP License.

This approval process requires the website owner to submit information to ISP/IDC. Then the ISP/IDC will verify the website owner’s identity, evaluate all submitted information, and submit an application to MIIT. Once the MIIT provincial office reviews the application, an ICP number will be generated and entered into the central database. Importantly, along with obtaining an ICP License, organizations much ensure that their content is acceptable under Chinese law.

Since the process can be intimating and overwhelming to many organizations, Tolmao Group is prepared to help. Tolmao Group is an integrated marketing agency that combines the traditional marketing tools with an innovative approach, creative thinking, and a full understanding of the Chinese market. To learn more about how Tolmao Group can help to globalize your business, visit http://www.tolmaogroup.com.

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