Once web content can successfully, efficiently, and consistently reach its Chinese audience, company’s targeting the Chinese market would be able to expect a subsequent revenue increase. China’s growing Internet economy reached 109 billion Yuan (~US$16B) by the third quarter of 2012, up 64% year-over-year.
Like most good things worth the effort, however, capitalizing on China’s Internet economy doesn’t happen overnight. CDNetworks, a CDN provider with offices in Korea, Japan, China, U.S., and the UK, has identified four common hurdles that enterprises must first overcome before they can accelerate their web content into China.
- Licensing – To abide by the government’s regulations, required licenses must be obtained and displayed on each page of a website. Two of the licenses required are the ICP and Beian licenses. The ICP Beian and PSB Beian are both required for all websites in China. The ICP License is mandatory for all websites with a shopping cart. Non-Chinese companies must work with a local registration agent to obtain them.
- Great Firewall and Government Regulations – The Chinese government blocks over 1,700 domains to censor its citizens’ potential exposure to questionable content. A few of the United States’ most popular domains, Google, Facebook, and Twitter are on China’s list of blocked sites. While the Internet is more controlled in China than it is in the West, the Chinese government implemented the Great Firewall for the purpose of protecting its citizens. Web property owners and brands must respect the firewall and understand both its restrictions and guidelines. It’s important to monitor and localize content not only from a language perspective, but also from a firewall perspective. When crossing the Great Firewall and also once inside China, there is a high risk of having content blocked, especially if it contains adult content, gambling or certain political views. It can be beneficial to err on the side of caution in an effort to avoid potential business interruptions.
- Limited Peering – Connections between different areas in China also pose a problem. Not all end users are in the major cities of Beijing and Shanghai. Millions of potential customers reside in tier 2 and tier 3 markets. China’s Internet infrastructure has limited peering points, fragmented network topology, and poor connectivity. Consequently, setting up data centers in major cities is just not enough. Performance will not meet your expectations or those of your end-users’ expectations.
- Location of Data Centers – Latency is the largest predictor of how long it will take a website to load. It is dependent on the distance that data must travel from its origin to the user requesting the data. Many enterprises consider hosting in Hong Kong, but hosting there is outside of the Great Firewall. Even though it is technically in China, Hong Kong is governed by separate laws and has the same challenges passing through the Great Firewall as any other server or site not hosted within the firewall’s confines.
Of course, to experience success in reaching Chinese web users, web content owners will need to first understand the language, communication preferences, and overall culture. A CDN with infrastructure in China would be able to support an enterprise through each of the other challenges.
“There are several common hurdles to content acceleration in China that enterprises must overcome,” said Alex Ha Vice President of Service & Support CDNetworks. “The good news is that a China CDN can alleviate the stresses caused by all of these. Not only does a CDN provider know how to navigate the Great Firewall and accelerate content, but a provider on the ground in China also has the know-how to navigate governmental regulations as well as cultural nuances.”