We recently read a message on “how to apply for an ICP” and noted that they showed how to take your website to Chinese viewers.

Today we are one step deeper: – “How to apply for an ICP Commercial License”.   In the following paragraphs, we will share how we (acting as the CFO of our clients) assisted them in getting an “ICP Commercial license” that allows them to do more than just setting up a website.

To recap – anyone wanting to operate their website via a mainland Chinese server for 1.4 billion people to view will require to apply for an ICP.  This first level of ICP license is what we call it as the ICP Filing (Bei’An 备案) and this is what the earlier article focused on.  However, in order for you to do more on the internet, you will need the higher level of ICP license, we call it an ICP Commercial License (ICP xǔ kě zhèng 许可证) that is much more difficult to get.  And this article focuses on this harder to get commercial license.

There are two kinds of ICP license: 

1. ICP filling, (Bei’An 备案 in Chinese) which can be used by companies for non-commercial internet information services.  However, this license will not allow you to sell online.

2. ICP Commercial License (ICP xǔ kě zhèng 许可证 in Chinese) which allows your website to not only be accessible to Chinese viewers but also able to sell or do advertisement online.

To Recap: – What is ICP Filing?  What does it look like? 

A company owned by Chinese individuals can apply for ICP filing for its website. And a company owned by foreigners can apply for ICP filing but he is required to be physically present in China for the application process.

A website getting an ICP filing is for its sharing of information purposes only and the website cannot be used for generating revenue.  A company’s website that shows their products or services’ information to the China market is required to apply for an ICP filing.  And the applications for ICP filing, cancelation and or modifications to ICP registration can be done on the Alibaba Cloud ICP Filing System.  Since this has been discussed in the earlier article, we will not elaborate on this.  However, if you would like to know more please leave us your contact and we will share with you what we have.

Websites usually place the ICP filing number at the footer of their website, like this:

What is ICP Commercial License? What does it look like?

The ICP Commercial License is required by companies like you who would like to generate income or provide a platform for others to generate income through their website in China.

Please note, before applying for an ICP Commercial License, you must first obtain an ICP filing.

Here’s an example of what ICP Commercial License looks like:

Who can apply for ICP Commercial License?

In order to apply for an ICP Commercial License, the business needs to be owned by local Chinese. The majority of ICP Commercial License go to Chinese-owned businesses and foreign businesses where a Chinese business holds at least 51% of ownership.

After obtaining both an ICP filing and an ICP Commercial License, the licensee is eligible to launch a website with e-commerce and online payment integration on a server-based in mainland China.

How do you apply?

There are some requirements/decisions to be made:

1、The registered capital of the company must be at least 1 million RMB;
2、The company should have at least 3 full-time staffs;
3、The website must have already completed the ICP filing,
4、Whether a VIE structure should be set up is to be considered

We suggest that you find a trustworthy official agent (special licensed agent) to help you apply for the ICP Commercial License as it could get complicated throughout the process.

How long would it take to obtain?

Every province in China has different regulations, but generally, the application process takes about 90 days.

After completing these steps, your application will await the approval of the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). Once you get approved, be sure to place your ICP license number on your website in a clear and visible way – ideally, at the footer of the page. You are now ready to start operating your Chinese domain for commercial purposes.

Wanna Know More?

Leave us a message below with your email address, or send us an email at info@cancangroup.com, one of our dedicated team members will reach out to you shortly.


What’s Next?

Our next article will be talking about VIE – Variable Interest Entities structure in China.

A MUST know for startups and cross-border companies. Don’t forget to follow our WeChat so you won’t miss it.


For more information about CanCan看看™️ – Quality CFO & Software as a Service, please visit our website www.cancangroup.com or send us an email at info@cancangroup.com


CanCan看看™️ is a ‘software + professionals’ product and – a team passionate to work with successful business owners through their challenges

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