Many companies seeking to expand their global reach naturally look to China. With more than 1.3 billion people, 700 million of whom are internet users, the country represents arguably one of the largest growth opportunities on the planet.
While the challenges associated with expansion into Chinese markets are great, they aren’t insurmountable. This post explains some of those challenges and how partnering with a service provider which offers hosting on the Alibaba Cloud, based in mainland China, can ameliorate many of them.
The central government of China gives legal power to the Communist Party, which holds political authority controlling the state, military and media, which extends to internet accessible content. Censorship laws tightly restrict what citizens can see, policed on the Chinese internet by the implementation of the Great Firewall of China. This firewall selectively blocks access to foreign websites from within China and slows down cross-border internet traffic.
As a result, services provided by organisations outside China over the normally efficient medium of the internet are severely impacted, as users from this substantial population experience slowness or complete inaccessibility.
For most parts of the world where a regional presence is required, content delivery network services could be used to provide regional caching to overcome distance based latency and improve user experience. Alternatively, the platform which is hosting the service could be located within the region using a suitable cloud service. However, for both approaches, China has additional hurdles to navigate to comply with the local laws.
To be able to host services within China, an Internet Content Provider, or ICP, registration is required. The submission must include certain documentation:
- Copy of personal ID
- Website authentication certificate
- Copy of domain certificate
For commercial companies, the following additional items must also be submitted:
- Chinese Organisation Registration Documents
- ID cards of ICP administrators
- Signed copy of the application form
Making matters more complicated, the ICP application process and all required filing documents are in the Chinese language only. That’s why in many cases, a partner organisation is used to facilitate entry into the Chinese market for service provision; in these cases it’s also acceptable for the partner organisation to assume responsibility for the ICP registration. This partner organisation could also be the end customer of the services being provided.
For the actual service provision, there are multiple options available. However, by far the most straightforward is to make use of the Alibaba Cloud platform, which has service deployment options in seven distinct regions within mainland China. In addition, Alibaba offers further locations within Asia-Pacific, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and Australia, as well as in the Middle East, Europe and North America.
Managing Alibaba Cloud
Whilst the selection of Alibaba Cloud as the platform to provide hosting services in China can be relatively straightforward, management of the platform can introduce additional burdens on an organisation. That’s because whilst many cloud platforms have similarities, they also have nuances that require organisations to invest in training, giving even experienced staff the additional knowledge required to manage the platform.
Our Rackspace Managed Public Cloud Services includes Alibaba Cloud management to help ease this burden and smooth out the path for organisations looking to expand into China. As an Alibaba global managed service partner, our cloud experts can help you get the most out of your investment. Leverage our experience architecting, migrating and managing Alibaba Cloud to scale your services across the world — and all of it backed by 24x7x365 support from our experts.
Hosting internet-based services for customers in China can be an unpredictable experience when the compute resources are located outside of China. However, once the regulations of the country are understood, the available options open up to help pave the way for successful outcomes.
The compute services provided by Alibaba Cloud will cater for most if not all requirements for application hosting, and with a wide range of locations can provide a way to standardise a platform for global delivery beyond China.
If you’ve got any questions on Alibaba Cloud, reach out to our experts today.