ICP license & PSB Filing: Questions & Answers

Posted by Raphael Luppold, Last modified by Christian Blessing on 18 November 2020 14:44

How long does it take to apply for an ICP license?

The time required to obtain an ICP license depends on how many other requests are currently being processed by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Provided that the submitted data is complete and correct, you should generally receive your ICP Filing within five to twenty working days and a Commercial ICP license after four to eight weeks.

Does the location of my company play a role in the ICP application?

Yes, because your ICP application will be processed via the MIIT provincial office in the province where the headquarters of your Chinese company are located. Each province also has different regulations when applying for an ICP license, but these generally do not fundamentally change the process.

Can I start running my website in China during the ICP application?

No, this is not possible. You may not operate your website in China until you have received the corresponding ICP license. With most hosting providers in China, the common Internet ports are also simply blocked as long as you do not have an ICP license.

Nevertheless, in order to submit the ICP application, the desired domain must already have been registered and the hosting solution in China must have been purchased in China. Both are required in order to be able to submit all necessary documents for the application.

When can I launch my website in China?

Once you have received a ICP license and have placed the corresponding ICP number in the footer of your website, you may officially operate your website in China and make it publicly available. Please note, however: After receiving your ICP license, you have to perform the PSB Filing PSB Filing process within 30 days, for which your website must already be publicly accessible.

What happens if I run a website in China without the necessary ICP license?

After a short period of time, your domain and IP address will be blacklisted and blocked by the Chinese state without notice. Even if you get the necessary ICP license afterwards, it is extremely difficult to get the domain and IP address off the blacklist again. We therefore strongly recommend that you do not take this risk under any circumstances, and submit the necessary ICP application in advance.

Incidentally, this also applies if you have only applied and received an ICP Filing, but operate an e-commerce platform, as you need a Commercial ICP license to operate such a platform.

Where can I find more information about applying for an ICP license?

The official website of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) can be accessed at beian.miit.gov.cn. Since all information there is only available in Chinese, we have translated the MIIT presentation on the ICP application process into English as a service. We would of course also be more than happy to assist with applying for an ICP license.

How can I find out if a company/website has an ICP license?

At beian.miit.gov.cn/#/Integrated/recordQuery you can search through the corresponding ICP database of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in China. However, the website is only available in Chinese.

To perform the query, you can use the search bar at the top of the site. You can enter the address of the website (yourdomain.cn) or the name of the company. After you submit the request, you have to solve an image puzzle, where you have to drag the slider to the right until the piece covers the missing part of the image. After that, you will have to wait about 2-5 seconds until it is validated.

As soon as everything is ok, you can see the result in the lower area of the screen. On the right side, you can then click a button to show more details of the result.

I have registered a Chinese domain with a provider/registrar in Europe. Can I apply for an ICP license for this domain?

No, unfortunately that is no longer possible. When applying for an ICP license, you must use a domain that is registered through a Chinese registrar. This is verified by the competent authorities as part of the application process.

Which domains can I use to apply for an ICP license?

Not all domains can be used for the ICP application. Domain names that violate Chinese laws or Chinese censorship are not allowed. Furthermore, only generic top-level domains (TLDs) such as .com, .net, .org oder .asia as well as the Chinese top-level domain (.*).cn are available. Other country-specific top-level domains (ccTLDs) such as .de, .uk oder .fr cannot be used to apply for an ICP license.

The domain must also be registered through a Chinese registrar and must be registered to your Chinese subsidiary, for which the ICP license is to be applied for.

We recommend that you register a separate .com.cn- or .cn domain for your Chinese website. You are of course welcome to register directly through us and our Chinese registrar - please contact us for details. Incidentally, all of our WEBER.cloud China hosting solutions already include the registration/transfer of a .com.cn.cn- or .com-Domain for your Chinese website via our Chinese registrar partner.

Do I have to display my ICP number on my website?

Yes, according to Article 12 of the "Administrative Measures on Internet Information Services", the ICP number must be placed on all pages of your website in the footer and must also link to the MIIT website at beian.miit.gov.cn. This must be done within three days after you receive the ICP license.

If you do not display your ICP number on your website, it may be blocked by the Chinese government without warning and your ICP license may be revoked pursuant to Article 22 of the "Administrative Measures on Internet Information Services". Furthermore, this can be sanctioned with a fine.

My ICP number is 沪ICP备12345678号-1. How do I need to place it on my website?

The ICP number must be placed on all pages of your website in the footer and must also link to the MIIT website at beian.miit.gov.cn.

It is important to note that your ICP number is actually '沪ICP备12345678号'. The appendix "-1" says that this is the first entry of your ICP filing. In principle, several websites can be added to an ICP filing and these will then get the appendixes '-2', '-3', etc. However, the appendix itself is not part of the actual ICP number and must not be displayed on the footer of your website.

To apply for an ICP license I need a domain certificate. How do I get one of these?

The domain certificate can be issued by the domain registrar with whom you have registered the domain. It is important that you have registered the domain with a Chinese registrar, otherwise the domain is not eligible to apply for an ICP license, and the license cannot be issued. All of our WEBER.cloud China hosting solutions already include the registration/transfer of a .cn- or .com domain for your Chinese website via our Chinese registrar partner.

I am supposed to complete an SMS verification as part of the ICP application. How can I complete this successfully?

In order to successfully complete the SMS verification, there are several points to consider. You can find a detailed list of the procedure in our article about the SMS verification.

Is my website in China really that slow? Can I check this?

Yes, you can do a speed test from China. The biggest hurdle here, however, is the fact that the websites are usually in Chinese. However, you can use Google Chrome as a browser, for example, and have the website translated in each case.

One possibility for such a speed test is available https://www.17ce.com/. First enter the domain name of the website you want to test in the input field within the blue box and press the Enter key. Please note: The speed test checks the entered URL exactly and does not follow any redirects.

The speed test will then start and the table below will slowly fill up with values. As soon as the speed test is finished, you will also receive a map of China at the top of the website with the individual provinces and details on how well or poorly your website can be accessed from each province. The colors used are quite intuitive: green is good, red is bad. Grey means that your website could not be accessed at all from this province or that the measuring point is currently unavailable.

My website should only be accessible via an IP address. Do I still need an ICP license?

Yes, because in China you generally need an ICP license if you want to publish content on a website. It does not matter whether your website can only be accessed via an IP address or also via domains.

My company has no registered office in China. Is hosting in Hong Kong, Macao or similar sufficient to achieve fast load times for our website in China?

Hosting in a location close to China, e.g. in Hong Kong, Macao, or Taiwan, has the advantage that you do not need an ICP license. But from a performance point of view it only reduces packet transmission times by a few milliseconds. The data packets must still pass through the Chinese firewall and China's overloaded external connections, which slow down the data transfer enormously and thus cause unbearable load times for Chinese users.

If, for example, you cannot obtain an ICP license as you do not have a registered office in China, we recommend hosting in Europe with a direct connection to China at WEBER.cloud China. With this hosting solution you can greatly improve the performance of your website even without an ICP license, as we can reach the Chinese mainland and users in China with good performance through our direct lines to China. More than is possible with a typical hosting solution on China's external borders.

Can I use a third-party ICP license to operate my website in China?

The sharing of ICP licenses via so-called ICP proxy providers is in a risky "grey area" from a legal perspective - even with a rather generous interpretation of the Chinese laws. There is always the possibility that the ICP license will be revoked, which means your domain in China will be put on a blacklist. What is more, when sharing an ICP license with an ICP proxy provider, if one of the users of this shared ICP license violates Chinese laws, all co-user websites will also be blocked.

Once your domain is on this blacklist, it is extremely difficult to have it removed again. Especially if it was previously only operated based on a questionable legal situation.

Furthermore, you must transfer your domain name to the ICP proxy provider, which means you also lose all rights to your domain under civil law.

Our recommendation is therefore to refrain from using such ICP proxy providers and, if you cannot apply for an ICP license yourself, to consider hosting in Europe with a direct connection to China at WEBER.cloud China In addition, you also significantly improve the performance of your website in China and are not exposed to the risk of your domain being blocked in China or even losing your domain completely.

My ICP application has been approved. What do I have to do now?

After receiving your ICP license, there are two deadlines that you should comply with. Firstly, within three days you must place your ICP license number in the footer of your Chinese website and link it to the website of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology at beian.miit.gov.cn Once you have done this, you may officially launch your website in China and make it publicly available.

Secondly, you must register for PSB Filing (PSB registration, also PSB Bei'An or psb备案) with the Public Security Bureau (PBS) within 30 days. As the processing of the PSB Filing also takes three to five working days, we strongly recommend that you start the PSB Filing process as soon as possible after receiving your ICP license. We have summarized everything you need to know about PSB Filing in our article on the PSB Filing.

I have forgotten my ICP password. How can I reset this?

Since September 2020, when the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) made a change in the ICP update process, the ICP password is no longer required to update the ICP licence. Instead, an SMS verification is now used in the new process.

What do I have to consider after receiving the PSB Filing?

You're almost there! Use your account to log in to the Public Security Bureau website again at http://www.beian.gov.cn and check the details of your PSB Filing (PSB registration, also known as PSB Bei'An or psb备案). In the upper part of the overview you can see the associated filing number and download the icon of the PSB as well as sample HTML code for embedding the filing number on your website. Using this sample code, you should place your PSB Filing number next to the ICP number on your Chinese website. You can easily modify the sample code; the only important thing is that the PSB icon is displayed to the left of the PSB number and that both of them point to your filing in the public register of the Public Security Bureau at "http://www.beian.gov.cn/portal/registerSystemInfo?recordcode=[filing number]".


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