How can you tap into the gargantuan Chinese internet market? China boasts the highest number of internet users on the planet today. Getting access to that market is the dream of any online marketer today. Let’s see how you can do that.
One very good website I often check for Web statistics is Internet World Stats. According to the site, as you can see from the screenshot below, only 34.3% of the world population has access to the Internet today.
Now, 27.5% of Asian population uses the Internet. But how much of that 27.5% is Chinese traffic? According to this second screenshot below, China, among the Asian top countries, boasts 538 million Internet users.
If you take into consideration that China’s population – according to Wikipedia.org 2012 estimate – is in excess of 1.3 billion, it means that roughly 50% of people living in China can get access to the Internet today. And imagine when the country will open up more and more in the future. Again, that is the dream of any internet marketer today.
Since the country saw a rapid increase in Internet users in the last few years, online shopping has become quite a big business in China. Something you’ll find funny is many citizens were accused of “online shopping addiction“.
You may recall my article entitled: The Great Wall of China Turned Digital. Although there has been an unbelievable increase in Internet usage in China, there are still browsing limitations and boundaries, censorship and controls from the government. This obviously affects entrepreneurs as well as big companies to get into the Chinese market.
You cannot get your website in China that easily, or anyway – according to what I found out recently – tapping into Chinese Internet territories is a big headache.
Tips to Get Your Business to China
I hope you understand I am not a Webmaster or SEO/SEM expert. Ergo, take what I say below with a “grain of salt”, as they say. I did a little research and found out about the following:
- You need to get the website built locally. Thus, you have to find a company that creates the site, hosts it, as well as maintains it over time. Get it built in your country and then transfer it seems to me a problem.
- If you want your website to be fast in China, you must host it in China. Even if you host in Hong Kong, your site will run slow.
- You need to get a .cn domain name, and then complete an application form.
- If you are going to do business through your site in China, you must have a Chinese bank account, a business license of a registered business in the country (Hong Kong is allowed), in addition to having a copy of personal ID.
All the process must go through official Chinese entities, such as MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology).
Even when you get your site up and running in China you need to keep in mind they always monitor the content you publish. According to China Internet Watch website visibility study, you can avoid your website to be blocked if you:
- Have a VPS or dedicated server with unique IP address. In the case you do share hosting, if someone else’s website gets blocked you are damaged too, even if you have done nothing wrong.
- Never publish political content on your site.
- You should often run a search on important Chinese news sites to see what topics are allowed.
- Of course avoid adult and gambling content on your site.
I am, like you, willing to take my website to the Chinese market. The potential is huge…there is really space for anyone. However, it seems to me too risky at the moment. Maybe one day China will open up more and everything will be a little easier.
Have you ever considered getting your website to China? What do you think about the process described above? Feel free to contribute to this article by leaving a comment below, most of all if you had experience in the past. Share your thoughts with me/us at Writeca.com, and spark the conversation.