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Breaking Through the Great Firewall of China With Acquia’s China Managed Services

May 17, 2022 5 minute read
China’s legion of Internet users numbers more than a billion strong — are you reaching them?
Chinese flag waving

With such a vast user pool attached to the second largest global economy, breaking through China’s Great Firewall is understandably tempting. The tricky part? Actually getting in.

The regulation and censorship enforced by the Chinese government — dubbed “The Great Firewall of China” — makes it difficult for foreign entities to enter and compete in China’s economy, the second largest in the world, according to Investopedia. Foreign websites and IP addresses are purposefully throttled or blocked altogether once they cross the border. 

90% of sites in China take 5 seconds or longer to load, and 40% of consumers (anywhere, not just China) won’t wait more than three seconds before leaving a slow site. And, while Chinese domestic sites are already slow, foreign sites are even slower — hence, most Chinese users tend to stick to border-bound browsing.

That said, delivering digital experiences across Chinese borders is possible. Regulations are strict and ever-changing, but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility. You’ll need to deal with slow load times and delivery speeds, but you should give it a shot. The potential revenue that organizations can reap from the second-largest economy is worth the attempt.

The trouble is, if a site is flagged as having breached Chinese laws and regulations, it can be blocked. And you can reasonably expect that outcome.

By using foreign virtual private networks (VPNs), enterprising Chinese citizens have found a way to circumvent these blocks. This tactic can draw fines, though, and the people selling the VPNs can be arrested. As a result, there aren’t many of these black market VPN peddlers, so you’d be relying on a limited sliver of the population who actually has access to them.

So, apart from back alley VPN dealers, what’s the solution? 

Simple: hosting from within. 

China Managed Services by Acquia

Nearly 50% of China’s retail sales are conducted online, and forecasters predict the country will be the most penetrated e-commerce market in 2022. That’s a significant slice of pie to miss out on. 

We can help get your foot in the door with fully managed services for Drupal sites operated and supported by Acquia. We think you’ll like what you get: 

  • A dedicated technical account manager (TAM) trained and specialized in technical strategy in China
  • Ready-to-use development, staging, and production environments
  • 24/7 critical platform, Drupal support, and keep-alive monitoring
  • Solr search service

China Managed Services is the Great Firewall skeleton key, a trustworthy way to bring your organization’s digital presence to China — and keep it there. 

Put in the work, reap the rewards — but never alone

To be as transparent as possible, you should know that before getting access to host your content in China, there will be a handful of hoops for you to jump through.

The Chinese government requires that:

  • Organizations deliver websites using a registered Chinese hosting provider
  • All user and customer data reside on servers within China’s borders
  • Websites have domains with the .cn top-level domain
  • Websites resolve to a Chinese IP address and CDN
  • Organizations have valid government Internet Content Provider (ICP) licenses

Meeting those requirements is only possible for companies that have a legal entity within the country. Most multinational companies looking to target China should have an in-country branch of some sort and, once that’s been established, they need to apply for an ICP license, which could take three to six weeks. So, you’d need to legally register as an ICP with the Chinese government by partnering with an existing legal entity in-country to help you through the certification process.

Again, we’re here to help with all that, because we’ve got a saying around here: We only succeed when our customers succeed. 

A managed service built by us, for you

Acquia has partnered with Ci&T to offer Dupal-optimized private hosting clouds with AWS China. You own the cloud, and we manage it to ensure that you can focus wholly on delivering quality digital experiences to your newfound Chinese audience. 

Acquia’s China Managed Services leverages our world-class services and Drupal expertise to help you enter and operate in China smoothly (and legally!). Every China Managed Services client kicks things off with a 4–12 week pre-license engagement designed to guide you through understanding, navigating, and meeting the requirements necessary to enter China’s digital landscape. 

Combine this support with a Chinese content delivery network (CDN) to deliver your content as far past the Great Firewall as possible, and you’ll see results. You can reduce latency by an average of 48% and increase performance by 220% compared to cross-border hosting. 

What’s more? We’ll show you how it works. To learn more about how Acquia can help you cross the Great Firewall, get in touch with one of our experts.

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