The importance of having a locally hosted website in China.
You already have a website. You have your hosting sorted out and have multiple servers. All of your content is there. Your IT team is based in London or New York. They take care of all of your online infrastructure. You’ve developed content, creative graphics and animation. You have videos and white papers as well as an extensive array of case studies. Now you’re entering the China market and you’d like to leverage the infrastructure that you have.
Unfortunately, when it comes to China, that is typically not the best option. At the very least, it is not the option which is going to yield you positive results. There’s a variety of reasons around this. Below are some considerations and takeaways from our experience in the industry.
Translation is not localization
Translation is extremely important. However, translation of your website it’s not the same thing as localization. Translating it’s simply taking the content that you have in English or German or French and directly converting it into Chinese, typically word for word. Localization is a completely different animal. Yes content needs to be in Chinese, but also the content needs to be adapted. In addition to this, localization means customizing the site design to local norms, making sure it complies with local regulations, addressing local hosting and loading issues and making sure it is optimized for the market.
Do translation the right way
Use a professional translation service as well as a partner to help you adapt your contents to local tastes and make sure it’s optimized. Google translate or other automated translation tools are not going to work and can often hurt your credibility when it comes to consumer or buyer visits as well as in your search ranking.
Host your China website on a local server
This means that your website needs to be hosted on a server that is physically located within mainland China. Loading speeds take too long and there will be issues with your website if it is hosted outside of China. You will also have issues with SEO and SEM with Baidu if you are not locally hosting your website in China, which means bad results.
Get an ICP license for your local website in China
In order to be in compliance with local regulations and in order to have credibility for the Chinese buyer, you need to have this ICP License. ICP stands for Internet Content Provider. This is a permit issued by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology that is required to operate in China.
Optimize your site for China search engines
There is no Google, no Altavista. The only search engine game in town is Baidu and Baidu is important. Baidu organic search rankings mean credibility to the consumer or customer. However, you not only need to host locally to do well here, but you need to have a good localization of your site, the use of tags and keywords to make sure that your site ranks well.