How to Apply for an Internet Content Provider(ICP) License for China Websites
Updated: Jun 1
If you want to build an online presence in China without being blocked by the Chinese government, getting an Internet Content Provider or “ICP” License is strongly recommended. However, getting an ICP can be a long and complex process, especially if you are not a Chinese citizen. In this blog, we will talk about an ICP and how to get one.
What is an ICP
Internet Content Provider (ICP) License is a standard license required by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) for companies looking to establish a web presence in China. Companies will only be eligible to host a website in China or use China-based hosting and CDN services to have a valid ICP license.
There are two types of ICP: ICP Filing, also known as ICP Bei’An in Chinese, is required for non-commercial websites and can’t be used to generate revenue.
ICP Commercial License, or ICP Zheng in Chinese, on the other hand, is for commercial websites to engage in online retail activities legally.
How to get an ICP
First, let’s look at who can apply for an ICP. According to MIIT, five kinds of individuals and entities can apply for an ICP:
Foreign passport holders who are physically present in China for a duration of time
Chinese – owned business
Joint venture business with over 50% Chinese ownership.
Other entities can also apply for an ICP license, but there may be extra difficulties.
Next, let’s look at the process of applying.
To begin with, you need to prepare for all the documents required, including your Chinese business license, legal representative’s ID, and your domain certificate, etc. For a complete list of documents, go here.
During this preparation, talking to a familiar consultant with the application process like BaishanCloud would save you a lot of time.
Next, you need to submit all documents to a web hosting agency, which will be responsible for reviewing and validating the applicant’s identity.
Finally, when the validation of documents is approved, the web hosting company submits them to the provincial branch MIIT.
If the application is approved, MIIT notifies the web host, who unlocks your account.
One other benefit is, if you want to commit to searching engine optimization on Chinese Search Engines like Baidu.com or Sougu.com, an ICP will help with discoverability.
That said, we have also prepared an ICP guide here; feel free to ask us questions on our website live chat window!