A China-friendly website is paramount to expanding your business to China, communicating with clients, connecting with potential business partners and collaborating with your staff.
But it isn’t uncommon for the Chinese teams of multi-million dollar global enterprises to complain that their company website isn’t working in China.
In the coming weeks, we will run a series of articles on how to make your website China-friendly. We’ll tackle this issue from the perspective of front-end web development, hosting, plus design and content.
The huge Internet population
China’s international Internet bandwidth was 3.6 Tbps in 2013, up by 11 per cent from the previous year, according to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC). It may sound like a big number, but when it’s shared across the Chinese Internet population, it gets diluted very quickly and slows down.
The Great Firewall
All web traffic in China is filtered through the Great Firewall. Although most websites pass through without any problems, the sheer volume of traffic puts a heavy burden on the monitoring infrastructure, ultimately slowing down Internet speed.
Referencing blocked features
One of the things developers overlook when creating sites for China are the many components involved in loading a website.
A website developed in Australia or the US will often have references to Google Font, a few embedded widgets from social media blocked in China such as YouTube and Facebook, or even jQuery scripts from the Google CDN (Content Delivery Network) server. By getting rid of your dependency on external resources, using other CDNs, or loading them asynchronously, you can speed up the rendering of your website.
Serving your website from a distance
Hosting your website from within China or its neighboring countries will increase the speed of your website in the region. The distance between your site host and target audience increases the time needed to load your website, which can quickly lose a user’s interest.
To check if you should reconsider hosting your website closer to China, we recommend you conduct a speed test of your website on http://ce.cloud.360.cn/ and http://www.17ce.com/ to understand the connection between your existing server and the Chinese Internet in different cities.
Websites hosted in China require a valid ICP recordal. If the website serves as an eCommerce platform or news publication, other additional legal requirements need to be fulfilled.
Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea are good choices for serving Chinese web traffic because of dedicated submarine cables and the short distance between these countries to China. However, it’s important to ensure the hosting company has a dedicated bandwidth connected to the Chinese Internet and is not already over crowded with other websites. THINK CHINA works with a dedicated hosting provider in Hong Kong to ensure your website has a fast connection speed.
What if I’m already in China?
Businesses that already have an office in China should look toward cloud hosting in China.
THINK CHINA is proud to be a channel partner of China’s biggest Cloud provider Aliyun (a subsidiary of the Alibaba Group NYSE:BABA). Aliyun is a reputable provider and offers unmatchable infrastructure within China to deliver a secure and reliable cloud-computing platform for government and enterprises.
THINK CHINA has provided businesses with cloud solutions, including dual hosting, using server replication technology.
International CDN provider Akamai also provides a China extension service allowing websites to be served from within China. However, this requires businesses to hold ICP recordal.
Now that your website loads properly in China, the next step is to ensure your website and its content is appropriate for the Chinese market. In the next article, we’ll discuss the design of Chinese websites, content strategy, and integration of different web services.
Please feel free to get in touch with us for more on making your website China-friendly.