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The Psychologlly insight of Chinese e commerce online shoppers.

I have been dealt with some western brand owners, which they are all very interesting in Chinese e commerce market. Huge sales. Huge population, the number one market in the world, bigger then combine USA and Europe together. How could they not.

But sadly most them facing failure for same reason, I can make a list of this (ASOA, COACH, Burberry), it is hard to hear any of them succeed in China.

Independent store, Tmall, JD, can’t save you for this.

This article is not to explain why, but just share some funny facts about Chinese online shoppers.. Maybe you can figure out yourself.

1 They are more sensitive of your web Design;

My company also help Chinese company doing e commerce in western Market. Most of them doing well actually ;>

So I found a very interest things is an ugly store still selling well in western market. You can change the design make it better if you want, but it’s doesn’t affect their sales so much.

But I have never seen an ugly Chinese store selling well.  Every successful store has a very professional design and photograph. In most of Chinese e commerce company there is a job called “美工” , this is a very important position , it’s kind of like “designer” but not really the same, most of people consider of  “designer” is about usability design and looking, but in China, it’s only means “looking”, because most of Chinese seller selling in Taobao, Tmall..  Usability is controlled by platform. but their boss still pay 7K~20K month to keep this position… so you can see how import its . Usually the “美工” is skilled Photoshoper and they organize all the descriptions, make up them with some icons or images.

I think the reason is Chinese’s language is a square character make Chinese like read well displayed content…

2 They are more care about relationship with the seller…

In the beginning of my business, I was very surprise is we helping Chinese company made a store selling to western. Western just buy it online without any communicate with shop owner.   Western customer just trust it….

Well in China, it doesn’t works this way, if the shopper first time know you, and they like what you selling. Before they made the purchase, they will send you a message on “wangwang”. (It’s a IM made by Alibaba, similar with QQ,).

The funniest thing is, they usually asking some very sample questions even silly questions… like:

“How long does it take to delivery to my home”, “do you have the size XL”, “is that item on stack”,

Or even weird questions:

“It’s really made by real “cow leather…”

Well you definitely put all the details on your well designed descriptions. But they still to ask you! And waiting for you to confirm on Aliwangwang,

Usually the online customer service girls well send the message back like” “yes darling, it’s really made by real cow leather…I swear!”  Yea they do call the customers “darling”… so they made the sell..

They are millions conversions like this happening every day in Taobao, such a waste of time. You always seen a bunch of online customer service sitting there until middle of night in the e commerce companies. I can’t believe it, just a booking process take so many human hours to handle.  It should be automatic without any real human….

But now I changed my mind, China is a developing county, the people need more trust from each other, they talk to you it not because something they aren’t aware of, they just want to build a relationship with you. Because in deep inside of Chinese, they think they don’t cheat each other’s on their face or cheat a people who talked to you…

Chinese society is a typical Friendship Society, Chinese people are very kind to their relatives and friends, or to those who are familiar with them, but not the people they don’t know.  They are care about their private morality, not the public morality.

3 They are hardly to accept new things (brand)

I’m not talking about the people who living in big cities. I’m talking about the Majority, they afraid to try new things, they don’t even want to know what it is. How can they buy your products?

So when you do the marketing, you have to make your brand connected with something which they already known. So it’s no surprise in those years, all the successful new brands in China pay for some celebrities to present their products. Celebrity endorsements is happens everywhere.  But in China is the king.

You can find Yao Ming endorsements a fish-oil brand, (when the Yao Ming is became an oil expert? I though he is basketball player.. )  its sounds ridicules, but its works! So the people starting to pay attention to your things…. then they decide to believe what you’re saying about your products or not.

The funny part is it’s not that hard to gain Chinese customer’s trust since them staring pay attention to you (much Easier then Western). They don’t want to spend too much brain, you just need keep saying what you saying, repeat again and again, and they start to believe.

They don’t do too much logic thinking…. I guess this is another part of culture things. If you want to be a bad marker, you can win in China (but I don’t suggest you do that.)

but you could say I don’t have so much money to get Yao Ming…  well you are lucky , now they are  influencers actively promote products for  business.  They have certain group of Subscribers for all the industry. Go find them is easy and cheap, so even you don’t speaking a single word of Chinese, you still can doing well in China.  The new marketing channels in China only happening those years. When the WeChat and MoMo weibo app widely use before this, if you want to do business in China, you gonna need hire Chinese employees and set up a Chinese company in Shanghai or somewhere…

 4 They shopping products overpriced to increase their influence.

Now we are in the serious topic.

All the luxury brands benefit for this for so many years…which they don’t want admit.

It’s not even worth a saying, shame to me as well, you can find so many strange things in China.

3K RMB monthly paid staff spent 6K to get a new iPhone, and they spent 500RMB rent a shitty room for living. Spent 20 RMB one day for food…

5K monthly paid lady spent 30K on luxury bag, which is his saving for years…

A county farmer spent 20K get a nice car, spent half-life saving… even they living in the small town and only drive once a year.

We do have so many national brands like: xiaomi, Chery, and we have thousands bag manufacturers (come on this is CHINA factory of world).   You can get a nice phone for 1k, a quality bag for 200, a kickass car for 50K…   But why are they so stupid … I read news about a guy sold her kidney to buy a iPhone…

So why…

Don’t thinking too much, you are facing a nation who is grouped desire expansion people.  The similar things happened in Japan and Korea in 1970s as well.

SO you may brand your product to delivery more Superficial advantage value to the customer a long history, a special lifestyle, a high level group, a limited numbers. A path to higher class of sociality.

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Chinese ICP registration

When you willing to do online business in China, you should noticed that you need ICP .. what exactly is  ICP?

So ICP is short of Internet Content Provider , according Chinese law if you provide any online content to Chinese citizens , you need a ICP.. (now you know why facebook and google get blocked ? :/ )

But most of people didn’t get it quick well.

ICP has “ICP put on record” and “ICP license” ,

ICP put on record (beian) is easy. lots of hosting company can do it for free.. (but you need due bunch of certifications images… takes you half month. )

But ICP license is a problem…. it’s required so much conditions..

  • you need a Chinese citizen owned & controlled  company (means Chinese hold at least 51% shares of the company…).
  • you need have at least three official employee , I mean official employee ..
  • you need at least have three official employee owns “Network administrator certificate ”  (I m a IT guy in China, I don’t know what it is…)
  • you need ton of paper works ……
  • you need wait more then 1 years..
  • you need be-careful, some province & cities has their own policy …. like Shanghai ,Guangzhou..

I tell you this , just because I wanna to say,  you can give up ..

there are some agencies in the market says can help you get it..(from backdoor…)  but cost you 50000 RMB..

so my advice is you just need ICP put on recode . leave the ICP license behind…after you grown up.

I know you could say:” hmmm, you are telling me break the low?”

the really happen is Chinese GOV too busy to change the policy ,and local GOV wanna drive the economies right direction . so the GOV don’t really care about it…  even though you running without license….

so here is what we offer:

ICP:

 

 

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When we talk about Magento Chinese localization ,what we talking about actually ?

Magento is great! but if you wanna apply it in Chinese market, some secondary development is must needed.
What kind of special functions we offer for Chinese market?
Style & looking design:
Design always matters, even in China . lots of Chinese doesn’t agree with that. they says the real matter is the products ,who care about the web store’s look.. that was ture. but now China has becoming a middle level developing country. so people is getting more sensitive with everything showing in their life..  also a elegant design helps with engaging your customers.
So here is what we do:
  • Magento Chinese look style design and development
  • We give you a western back end (magento) ,Chinese front end.
Magento system Chinese localization:
Chinese market is special, actually every single country in this world is special. let’s say “Devil is in the details”,  To capture Chinese orders, you need have this:
  • pre input Chinese province and major cities to speed up check out process
  • hidden billing process for Chinese market, (We don’t like shopping online with credit cards, remember..so we have no such a thing called billing address…)
  • “Fapiao” generation for Chinese market (some Chinese companies acquired shopping receipt to cover the operation cost avoid tax issue, some Chinese company actually force their employee to collect enough receipts every month.. don’t ask me how do I know this :-/  )
    • let’s talk more about this, If you can offer Commercial Invoice (the real “Fapiao means “) which is the official business invoice provide by China taxation,  you can have more company user . so you are selling company furniture, printer, or others TO office stuff , “Fapiao is necessary  “
  • Well translation for Chinese market (use official & Chinese friendly chinese translation instead of ugly default Chinese translation in magento  )
Payments:
this is easy to say, we have more ten payment gateway providers.. but most popular is  Alipay ,Wechat pay, Union pay.union pay is going down in those years . case now mobile handle more then 60% traffic.. and union is sucks on mobile..
 We have more like “kuaiqian”, “baidu wallet”,”yeepay”,”JD pay”. your heard the name right ..JD pay..  well you can ignore those…  the ture is Alipay + wechat pay +union cover 95% online shoppers.. so this is what we offer..
The thing is we know those three major payment gateways is what we need, but they have so many types here… it’s confusing you??   here is what we offer:
Alipay integration for PC user.
     Alipay Scan payment getaway (user use their phone to scan the QR code on screen, sounds silly right? but actually we like it alot..   )
     Alipay classic payment getaway(traditional payment gateway)
Alipay moblie integration
  • mobile phone version alipay payment(jump to html5 version alipay)
  • native alipay app payment (wake up native alipay payment )
Wechat pay integration
  • WeChat web payment (QR code scan payment for PC user)
  • WeChat native payment (wake up WeChat pay through your store)
social network integration
Chineses social network, Weibo , WeChat friends , QQ zone.
Sharing on WeChat
  • Wechat friends sharing integration
  • Wechat timeline sharing integration
Weibo sharing  integration
  • sharing on weibo ( twitter in China)
  • login with weibo account
that is, welcome to leave a comment to discuss more ..
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Chinese ICP Licensing: What, Why and How to Get Hosted in China

If you want a serious web presence in mainland China, you’ll need an ICP License ; and while there’s an increasing interest in cozying

up to the Chinese web market, there’s not a ton of comprehensive

I’ll cover what an ICP license is, whether or not you should bother, and the

myriad joys of slogging through the bureaucratic hurdles.

Hold on a Minute Before you use this as your de-facto Bible, bear a few

things in mind: one, internet laws in China change all the time, and what’s

true today may not be true tomorrow. And two, unless you have an extreme

masochistic streak, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to actually follow these steps

without help from a fluent Chinese speaker. None of the sites you’ll need to

visit are in English (yet), and even if you could machine-translate your way

through the mire, some user registrations require that you input an

SMS verification code which only sends to China-based mobile numbers, and not

all of the sites mentioned accept international payment methods. So I

understand that for many, this article will be, at best, an academic look into what it takes to get square with the Chinese hosting

authorities. If you do have access to a Chinese speaker, however, or if you already have a business outpost in China, this article should

give you the resources you send you on your way to ICP bliss.

What is an

ICP License? An ICP (Internet Content Provider) license is a state-issued registration number that

allows you to host your website on a mainland Chinese server. All sites hosted

on a server in the Chinese mainland must, by law, apply for and receive one of

these babies before their site goes live, a rule enforced at the hosting level. Getting an ICP license is an additional step that is taken after you buy your hosting and domain, but before your site goes live. ICP license numbers are usually displayed in the small print in website footers.

Here’s one in the footer of popular classifieds portal  58.com . The ICP license number usually includes a single character indicating the Chinese province in which the license was issued, then the word “ICP License”, then the number itself:

The footer of video sharing site  Youku.com :

And from the footer of new site NetEase :

Is Getting an ICP at all Avoidable? The short answer is that if you want to host your website on a mainland Chinese server, no–you have to have an ICP.  But do you really have to host in mainland China? Consider:

Only sites within the Chinese mainland are

required by law to have an ICP, so if your site isn’t hosted on the mainland,

you don’t need one. It’s not even possible to apply for one if your site is

hosted elsewhere. Many firms counsel their clients to host in Hong Kong, since

Hong Kong servers are pretty close geographically, but they are governed by a different

set of laws.

ICP licenses don’t technically have much to do with whether or not your site is visible or blocked in China. Sites with ICPs get taken offline all the time. Sites without them may be visible indefinitely. The ICP simply means you’ve been approved to host your website on a mainland Chinese server. That’s it.   With those points in mind, the answer to whether or not you

need an ICP revolves around how serious you are about entering the Chinese

market and on what scale. If you’re taking a real stab at getting a piece of

the China pie, you need to be able to compete with sites locally, so yes, you

need one, with all the paperwork that entails. But if you’re a small- or medium-sized company with a basic website that’s

only tangentially interested in reaching Chinese users, then you can probably

host in Hong Kong with no problem.

What Will Happen if I Don’t Have an ICP? Maybe nothing, maybe your entire business plan will turn to ash in your mouth.

Without an ICP, you’ll be unable to purchase hosting in

mainland China, because all hosts will ask for your ICP license before they

release server credentials to you.

Ooh, ran into a genuine ICP non-compliance take-down notice. Website taken down for failure to legally register. pic.twitter.com/9U4GyWyHKF

— Kendra Schaefer (@kendraschaefer) March 4, 2015

That said, there are plenty of non-China-hosted sites that

do just fine without an ICP. If your site is small enough, and doesn’t contain

any politically sensitive keywords or is not hosted on any blocked domains or

IP ranges, your site will probably work in China,

though it may be a little slow. However, if your site becomes blocked, or the host you’re hosting with becomes blocked, you’ll

have no recourse by which to unblock it. You can’t call anyone, file a report,

appeal to government agency, or even ask to know what happened and why. You

are, in essence, outside the system.

Who Can Apply for an ICP License ( ICP Bei An – 备案 )  A basic ICP Bei An  license is the standard, run-of-the-mill

paperwork required by all mainland China-hosted websites. The following

entities may apply for a basic ICP:

Chinese-owned businesses with a Chinese business license (duh) can apply for a Business ICP (企业备案) Partially or wholly foreign-owned (non-Chinese) businesses with any type of Chinese business license (Joint-Venture or WOFE, for example), can apply for a Business ICP Chinese nationals, using their state-issued ID, can apply for an Individual ICP (个人备案) Foreign (non-Chinese) individuals, using their passport as ID, who can be physically present in China long enough to fulfill some basic registration requirements, can apply for an Individual ICP The following entities  may not  apply for an ICP:

Foreign businesses with no legal business presence in China Foreign individuals without a passport (and who are therefore ideally not residing in China) The following entities can technically  apply for an ICP, but probably shouldn’t:

Extremely tenacious and self-hating foreign

(non-Chinese) individuals, using their passport as ID, who are not and cannot

be physically present in China at all, and who are willing to sell their souls to obtain:  A Chinese landline number A Chinese cell phone number An Alipay.com  account (China’s Paypal equivalent) hooked up to an international Visa/Mastercard or other source of funds. A Chinese mail-forwarding service or friend based in China who will receive a package for you and send it on A Chinese speaker to help out with reading web registration forms, or a desire to spend several months locked in a torrid love-hate relationship with Google Translate  Commercial ICP ( 中华人民共和国增值电信业务经营许可证, or 经营许可证 for short )  There’s another type of ICP license that is only for companies who primarily

conduct business online. In other words, if your business is conducted mostly

or entirely over the interwebz, if you never meet your customers in person, and

particularly if you’ll be engaging in online sales or accepting online payments

in China, you’ll need one of these.

The following entities  may get an

E-Commerce ICP:

Chinese-owned businesses with a Chinese business license. In theory, Joint-Venture companies where less than 50% of the company is owned by a non-Chinese can legally apply. In practice, according to several local Chinese agencies, Commercial ICPs are rarely issued to companies with any foreign investment whatsoever. Everyone else is out of luck. Businesses wishing to obtain a Commercial ICP can’t go through online channels to apply–they need to contact the relevant government body directly before doing anything else, so this article will focus primarily on Basic ICP.

The

Application Process Outlined Since the process is a little convoluted, let’s do a quick

overview before we dive into the procedural details. After you purchase your hosting and before that hosting account is unlocked for you, you submit your ICP application form and documents to the web host, the host checks them and submits them to the provincial government branch of the  Ministry of Industry and Information Technology  (MIIT –  gong ye he xin xi hua bu –  工业和信息化部), the Chinese government agency responsible for issuing ICP licenses. If the application’s approved, MIIT notifies the host, the host unlocks your account and you’re good to go.

MIIT offers a

flowchart outlining the process. I have the original here, with a

translated version:

The most interesting thing you’ll notice here is that you,

the site owner, will never interface with the MIIT yourself–that’s the

hosting company’s job. It wasn’t always so: it used to be that you had to apply via the MIIT site, but that seems to have changed.

All roads begin with hosting, and all hosting begins with Aliyun Aliyun.com  was originally China’s answer to Amazon

AWS , but since their parent company, e-comm powerhouse Alibaba Group, has been

snatching up smaller storage and domain providers, the Aliyun family of sites

has become China’s most popular one-stop-shop for all things host-related.

Because so many site owners go directly through Aliyun to

get their ICP numbers, the Aliyun site and the Aliyun user forums  have become, in my opinion, the best source

of information on ICP Licensing procedure.

Last Notes Before We Dig In Before we dig into the meat of the process, a few notes gleaned from the hallowed Aliyun halls:

Servers, Domains and ICP ICP licenses are tied to both a particular IP and a particular

domain name–you must provide both server IP and domain during the Bei An registration process. You cannot

apply for an ICP license using a domain name registered outside of China. This

also means that if you move your site to a new server sometime in the future,

you must update your ICP license with the new server information. This is another reason I recommend doing the

process via Aliyun and their sister companies: they can provide an integrated

set of solutions that let you buy hosting, buy a domain, and bind your ICP

License application to a specific domain/server pair.

FYI: If you don’t read Chinese, you’ll

need help Before you plow forward, know this: if you can’t speak or

read Chinese, you’ll need help to continue. While it’s my fervent hope that

this changes in the near future, as of now, the Aliyun website and management

panel interface is currently only available in Chinese. If you’re not sure how to proceed, there’s a firm called  ICP Services , which specializes in helping foreigners and foreign companies submit ICP applications–you might want to consider dropping them a line.

FY-Sigh: every Chinese province has

its own ICP License regulations Bear with me while I throw an extra layer on top of this

cake: businesses registering

for an ICP license must register in the province their business license was

issued in. In other words, if your business was opened in Henan Province , you

must register for an ICP under Henan regulations.

Not so for individuals, though. Individuals who are

registering for a basic ICP may choose to base their registration in any

Chinese province. In other words, I could choose to register from Beijing or

Sichuan , so there’s a little wiggle room for picking and choosing

your place of issue.

Why would you care about provincial place of issue? In general, the regulations don’t change too much from province

to province, but there are some slight variations and some provinces might suit you better than others. Hebei Province , for example,

does not allow non-Hebei residents to register from there, while Beijing

Province does, so if I was a non-Chinese individual living in Hebei, I could choose to

register under Beijing regulations and still get my ICP.  Hilariously, Liaoning Province regulations

state that when you get your registration photo taken, you have to be wearing “seasonally

appropriate clothing” (fifty bucks to the first Liaoning ICP registration in a Santa Suit).

The Aliyun website offers an interactive map that shows

rules  on a per-province basis–click on any province

to see the regulations below. Each set of rules is broken into two

tabs, the default tab is for companies, the second tab for individuals.

Unless you have a particular preference, I’d say just go

ahead and register from Beijing.

Okay, Let’s do This Step 1: Register a domain in China and buy hosting You’ll need to fill in your domain and some server data on your ICP license registration form, so you have to buy hosting and register a

domain name before anything else happens; and since ICP licenses can’t be attached to hosts based outside of China or domain names registered outside of China, you have to go through a Chinese provider. A walk-through of that process is a bit out of the scope of this

article, but allow me to get your feet pointed in the right direction: you can buy both of these goodies from  Net.cn (yes, they sell .cn domain names!), another Alibaba Group member company, but in order to do that, you’re going

to need an Aliyun Passport account, which you can register for here .

The

Aliyun user panels (from which you’ll manage your ICP licenses) are integrated with the Net.cn user panels (from which you’ll manage your hosting and domains) via Aliyun

Passport. If you’re logged into Aliyun, when you go to the Net.cn home page,

you’ll already be logged in there too, and you can (and should) use the same username and

password to purchase hosting and a domain.

Let me again clarify that you do not have to go through Aliyun–they’re just one of many Chinese hosts you can choose. I’m recommending them here because of their size and because of the integrated ICP/hosting/domain experience.

If you’re based outside of China, you’ll probably need to call net.cn to make this purchase.

The net.cn online cart requires

all sorts of stuff you won’t have, like a Chinese state ID number, a Chinese

landline, and only offers Chinese payment methods. Accepted payment methods:

Step 2:  Get your Bei An service number Go back to your Aliyun.com user account and snag a  “ Bei An

service number” (备案服务号), which is a

free-floating ID that you’ll bind to a server and domain. The Bei An Service

Number is the glue that binds your server IP, your domain name, and your ICP

application filing together. You may have more than one Bei An Service Number. You can find these in your Aliyun user

profile.

Logged in users should first click the Apply ( shen qing 申请 ) button here . The application is often approved immediately.

You’ll

then be able to find a list of your Bei An Service Numbers in your user profile area.

Before you move on, you’ll have to bind your Bei An service

number to the server you purchased at Net.cn (or wherever). This can be done with a couple of clicks in the

Bei An management panel pictured above.

Step 3: Register for

the Aliyun ICP Management System (ICP 代备案管理系统) Okay,

you have the server, you have the domain, you have the Bei An service

number. Let’s ask the powers that be for an ICP license. Start by getting an account in the ICP application system here.

Step 4: Log in to the Aliyun ICP Management System and fill out the registration form Once you’ve registered, you can login here , and you’ll be taken directly to the first page of the ICP application form. This is a long, multi-page deal in which you’ll need to enter your Bei An service number, a Chinese landline and Chinese mobile phone number, a ton of details about your site, plus upload a picture of your passport, so ensure you have some time to kill.

First, you’ll fill in your domain name (Aliyun reminds

us once again not to use a domain registered outside of China, and tells us what to do

in case multiple domains point to the same host), what province and district

you want to register from, what type of ICP you’re after (military, government,

personal, business, social), what type of ID you’ll be providing, a space to fill in your

ID number, and a CAPTCHA.

You’ll be asked to choose a service type (Aliyun) and input your

Service Number:

You’ll be asked to input some basic info about the

content of the site–what type of site is it? What languages will it be in?

You’ll also need to upload a copy of your passport, and a

copy of your business license if you’re applying as a company:

Step 5: Submit your

documents for Aliyun’s approval Once you’ve finished filling out all those details, submit

the application to Aliyun for pre-approval. They’re pretty knowledgeable about

what gets rejected and what doesn’t, so they’ll let you know within one

business day if there’s any problem with your application.

Step 6: Get your

photo taken Okay, this is the interesting part. In recent days past,

Aliyun/MIIT required that ICP applicants physically visit one of several

designated locations and get an official photo taken as part of the application

process. This is still a very common way to meet this requirement, and there

are official pic-taking locations in most major Chinese cities.

This rule meant that while any passport holder living outside

of China could technically apply for

a Basic ICP using just their passport, they still had to be in China long

enough to get a picture taken at one of these places.

But Aliyun has recently added an alternative method:

applicants can now request that an official “ mu bu ” (幕布),

meaning “curtain”, is shipped to you, and Aliyun will send it anywhere in China

for free. The mu bu , as you may have

guessed, is Aliyun’s official photo backdrop. Once users receive the backdrop,

they take a headshot against it, and upload it to Aliyun.

Several Chinese nationals residing overseas took to the

Aliyun forums to ask if the mu bu

could be shipped internationally. As of July 2014, Aliyun forum mods say they

are “ temporarily unable to ship mu bu outside

of China ”. [Sadface]

Until they sort out international shipping, there is a way round this: Chinese users elsewhere on the forums suggest having the  mu bu  shipped to someone in China who can then ship it to you. It doesn’t matter where you have the photo taken, just that you can get your hands on a  mu bu , so if you can swing China mail forwarding or have a friend on the mainland, you should be able to sort this out.

Step 7: Wait for MIIT

to approve  Providing your application data has received the nod from

Aliyun and you’ve uploaded an acceptable pic, Aliyun will then pass your

application on to the MIIT.

Because you have to purchase hosting before you can even

begin the ICP application, Aliyun offers reimbursement for any time you spent

waiting for your documentation to go through, up to 30 days. In other words,

since you can’t use the hosting account you just bought until you get your ICP,

Aliyun will tack free hosting days onto your account for every day (up to 30)

you spent waiting for the approval.

So, although no one really wants to give a definite

timeline, this evidence (coupled with some anecdotal stories) suggests that the

process typically takes no more than four weeks.

Step 8: Congrats–you’re an exhausted, grey-haired ICP license holder!  Now please bandage your wrists up and get yourself a

popsicle.

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The

Mysterious “Pre-Approval” Process  To further complicate matters, certain sites require

“Pre-Approval” ( qian zhi shen ci –  前置审批) from

the government before you begin the process of submitting an ICP application via

the hosting company.  Pre-Approval primarily applies to:

News sites Forums Media distribution (video and audio – think Youtube or Spotify) Sites distributing medical information, equipment or pharmaceuticals Online games  A vaguely-worded assortment of “cultural” websites The way I read this is that if you’re launching a web app in China, if you’re facilitating communication between users, if you’re going into the business of publishing the news, or if you’re in an industry where quackery is dangerous, you need to ask MIIT first, and request any relevant forms.

From a mod on the Aliyun forums  in January 2015, in response to a user asking about setting up a forum:

“Dear OP! Currently MIIT Requirements state that a forum cannot exist on a site registered with an Individual ICP. Even a Business ICP holder that wants to put up a forum must contact the appropriate government department and get Pre-Approval documents before they can set this up. If you put up a forum without following these rules, if the government department checks, they may close down your site or cancel your ICP, please note.”

Pre-Approval also applies to those looking for a Commercial ICP license. If your site needs Pre-Approval at all, Aliyun can’t help you until you’ve spoken to the government agency. Everything I’ve read indicates that Pre-Approval can only be obtained by contacting the MIIT in the province you wish to register from and getting a consultation on a case-by-case basis. The MIIT site provides an XLS containing every provincial office number in the country. I’ve translated that list and you can download it from here .

How to Make This Go Away This process is not for the faint of heart. I fully suspect most of you intelligent souls will take a look at this and conclude you’d rather not bother, but as the market grows, I imagine more and more non-Chinese individuals and companies will find an ICP registration necessary. If you have specific questions related to your situation, I’d reach out to  ICP Services  and ask them what they can do.  Eggplant  is another good choice.

Good luck, and Godspeed.