The ‘How To’ of designing, developing and deploying websites in China has significant differences than in the West. With slow Internet speeds, compliance concerns, Ecommerce vertical and payment concerns, a dominant preference for mobile, and issues with ‘The Great Firewall’, a website go-live seems like an uphill battle.
WPIC speaks from experience, as the deployment of www.China-Arcteryx.com marks the 200th website that WPIC has designed, developed and deployed in China. “In 2004, we started out as a small SEO outfit with 3 people. Now, as 2015 draws near to a close, we are a team of 120 with the strongest end-to-end capabilities in digital China,” states Joseph Cooke, Director of Web Presence in China.
WPIC advises that a company’s first concern is ‘The Great Firewall’, which throttles speed for data leaving and entering the country. It gives bandwidth priority to websites hosted and licensed in China for security reasons and to compensate for lagging infrastructure. Customers staring angrily at a blank screen is reason enough to host within the Firewall. WPIC hosts over 90 companies in China and has set up complex architecture for numerous Enterprise clients.
So simply host a mirrored site within China? This is problematic, as the website will still load slowly, due to limited bandwidth. Optimization or a complete rebuild of the website is sometimes necessary, to ensure fast load times and remove any code that may cause non-compliance when registering the website for an Internet Content Provider (ICP) license, which is necessary to be hosted within China. For Levi’s China website, WPIC audited, identified inefficiencies and created recommendation reports for the Levi’s stakeholder team. The site was then rebuilt and redeployed within a short timeline.
To run an Ecommerce store within China, several options are available. A standalone Ecommerce site gives complete control over verticals and the unique brand experience. A hybrid site allows customers to shop and complete the payment and delivery options on a third party vendor’s site, such as Tmall.com. This gives a company ownership over data and traffic, while handing off cost and complexity of completing the sale. WPIC built China-arcteryx.cn as a mobile responsive hybrid site. Shoppers can easily browse through product and purchase product with a few swipes on their phone.
Building a web presence in China can be a daunting task. However, top ROI is well within reach by adapting digital strategies to match the marketplace.