China ICP License: F&Q

1. What is an ICP license?
ICP stands for Internet Content Provider). Is it a permit issued by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to allow China-based websites to operate in China.
You will often see ICP license numbers on the bottom of the homepage for Chinese hosted websites.
This license regime was instated by the Telecommunications Regulations of the People’s Republic of China that was promulgated in September 2000. By the letter of the law, all websites with their own domain name that operate inside China are required to obtain a license, and China-based Internet service providers are required to block the site if a license is not acquired within a grace period. Licenses are issued at the provincial level.
2. How do I register an ICP license?
Register at
3. If I am hosting my Chinese website on a server overseas, do I still need to register for an ICP license?
No, only websites based on Mainland China are required to register for ICP license.
4. I am not using a .cn domain. Do I need to register for ICP?
Yes, no difference between .cn or other domains. If it is hosted in China, you need ICP.
5. What does it cost to obtain the ICP license?
To acquire the license there is no official fee. However, there are regulations you need to meet in order to have ICP can be expensive. You need a company. Depending on your company activities online will depend on the registered capital. If you are in doubt then please contact a legal firm who specialises in company registration. If you need help, please feel free to contact us and we can put you in touch with companies we deal with.
You can also apply for a personal ICP license which is a cheaper.
If you have a company handle your ICP registration then you will be faced with those administrative costs.
6. How long do I have to wait until I receive my ICP license?
20 days. However, there are no guarantees as to how long you need to wait or whether your application will actually go through. You need to fill out the appropriate paperwork and have the necessary business licenses.
7. Is it really necessary for me to get an ICP license as I see many sites that seem to be based in China and do not have ICP.
That is true. There are many Chinese sites that do not have ICP and still accessible to users. Time will tell and there is nothing stopping the administration from closing your site down. There are also penalties involved in more serious cases.
8. I don't have an e-commerce site, what's the deal with ICP now?
Every site hosted in China needs ICP licensing. If your site does have online transactions then there are additional requirements you will need to meet for ICP.
Chinanetrix provides this information to the community as we are often faced with companies wanting a site hosted in China and not aware of the ICP licensing process. If you do require more information, we are happy point you in the right direction for advice.


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