• Thomas Zou

Great Firewall of China - What Does It Mean to Companies' China Entry?

In case you didn't know, China has a censored internet. The Chinese government blocks content and services deemed “inappropriate” with what is called the great fire wall. This dynamic places challenges as well as opportunities for international companies to build an online presence in China.


In this blog, we will talk about the great firewall and what it means to individual internet users and global companies trying to enter the Chinese market.

What Is the Great Firewall


The Great Firewall is the combination of technologies and legislative actions enforced by the Chinese government to regulate the internet domestically. Under this content censoring mechanism, access to many internet services like Google, Facebook and YouTube are either limited or blocked in mainland China.


It it unclear what kind of content would be blocked, but generally speaking, topics about politics, adult content, and gambling content are sensitive areas.

How Does the Great Firewall Work


So how does the great firewall work? For the most part, China controls the Internet gateways where traffic travels between China and the rest of the internet. Through these “check points,” the government can analyze and manipulate Internet traffic.


From a user's perspective, visiting blocked websites would simply result in the “website can’t be reached” screen. There are many technical methods involved here. Starting from IP address blocking. After specific IP addresses are blocked, users won’t be able to establish connection with content under these addresses from there devices. Then, there are DNS spoofing and DNS cache poisoning, which causes no return data from DNS server can be successfully interpreted.


From a corporate perspective, the Chinese government requires all online content provider to register an internet content provider or “ICP” license. Registering this license would mean the license holder should strictly adhere to the Chinese government's content regulations.

Last but not least, there are more actions taken on banning VPNs in China in recent years, which would make it more difficult for Chinese users to access the uncensored internet.

How to Deal With GFW:

So what does this mean to you?


To begin with, if you are a personal user who wants to access the uncensored internet from China, the answer is straightforward - a virtual private network or VPN will help you establish a secure connection to the rest of the internet.


On the other hand, if you are thinking of a China entry for your global business, the answer will be more complicated.


First, consider if your content is deemed illegal in China. Start from testing if your current website can be accessed and, if so, what’s the performance level.


Second, you may want to decide do you want to build a reliable long-term presence in China or do you just want to have a quick work-around for essential Chinese visibility.


If you are here for the long game, by that, I mean having a reliable website with high traffic volume and potentially transaction-involved, then applying for an ICP may be your entry point to build a legitimate online presence with less risk of being banned.


So here it is, your guide to the great firewall of China. If you are interested in knowing more about ICP license, China content delivery, please visit BaishanCloud.com for more information. We’ll be happy to chat with you over your questions regarding the Chinese internet.


About BaishanCloud

BaishanCloud is a world’s leading edge-cloud platform service provider offering neutral infrastructure, cloud-native security, developer services, and other products and services. Serving 1,000+ customers globally, Baishan is committed to providing comprehensive solutions for the global Internet, government, enterprise, and corporate customers. Baishan’s network covers 6 continents with 600+ PoPs worldwide.


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