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02 June 2018

Chinese Website Development – Seven Essential Tips

Chinese Website Development - Serica Consulting

Any business seeking opportunities in China must adapt their website if they are to succeed. But with such big differences in platforms, language and culture developing an effective website can be challenging. To help you identify the key hurdles you must overcome, here are seven essential tips.

Gain an Internet Content Provider (ICP) License

All organisations and companies in China must conform to the country’s strict censorship laws. Therefore, any business wishing to host a website and publish content from the mainland must first gain an Internet Content Provider License from the authorities. These licenses are only given to registered companies so if you aren’t a legal entity you will be unable to publish online content from within China. Chinese website development


Due to the ‘Great Firewall of China,’ hosting from outside of their borders can significantly slow downloading speeds. This won’t usually affect businesses whose websites are mostly text-based and have been properly coded, so if that is you, there is nothing to worry about. However, if your website contains lots of high-resolution pictures and videos accessing it would be aggravatingly slow for Chinese users. If this applies to you then hosting your website from within mainland China is a must.

TIP: Additionally, you can increase the loading speed of your website by removing any Google templates and banners.

Mobile optimisation

Today’s consumers use their mobile devices, rather than desktop computers, to research products, engage with brands, and make online purchases. Therefore, having a website that isn’t mobile friendly will certainly result in failure. So, when developing your website, or looking for a specialist to create one, ensure that it works smoothly across different mobile devices.

Include local payment options
Chinese Website Development - Serica Consulting - Alipay

For those who plan on selling directly to Chinese consumers, it is crucial to consider what payment options you are going to offer them. Union Pay is the go-to choice for card payments, but in a cash-based society, this is still an unpopular method for online transactions. The best and easiest option is to integrate Alipay or Tenpay into your website so your customers can make the fast and convenient payments they are accustomed too.

Localised content

One of the biggest mistakes we see is websites that have been translated very poorly, littered with embarrassing mistakes. Not only is this incoherent but it automatically undermines your reputation and in some cases, can even result in your brand being ridiculed on social media.

Even companies who have their website content translated by experts will often find the results aren’t effective. This is because direct translation doesn’t take into account the cultural differences and the nuances of the language. In business terms this means companies end up marketing the wrong aspects of their product or service to their target demographic and fail to effectively meet their needs. This is because of a common assumption that what is relevant and appealing to westerners will be same for the Chinese.

To avoid these pitfalls companies must effectively localise their content by taking all the elements of the language and culture into account. Employing professional translators and the copywriting skills of native speakers with marketing backgrounds is the only way to ensure your website resonates with your target audience.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Baidu is the most popular search engine in China controlling more than 79 percent of the market. To make your website visible on such an enormous platform requires a dedicated SEO campaign. Marketers must take into account the differing SEO practices of Baidu and Google, for example Baidu rewards Keyword Repetition while Google heavily penalises for it (using an algorithm that detects context and synonyms).

Connecting your website to social media accounts
Chinese Social Media - Serica Consulting

To further boost traffic to your website, as well as increase your brand awareness and recognition, a strong social media presence is a must. Nearly every Chinese company has a profile on WeChat, Weibo and Youku. Syncing these accounts and connecting them with your main website enables you to broaden your net and maximise appeal to your target demographics.

As you can see, developing a Chinese website is not a simple process and takes commitment in both time and money, but the rewards can be enormous for companies who do it right. So, whether you’re developing your own website or hiring a specialist to do it for you, these seven steps must be followed to achieve any degree of success. Chinese website development Chinese website development Chinese website development