Are you thinking of building a website in China? You may have heard of many frightening things about the Great Firewall, and maybe you're feeling concerned and nervous. What if your content gets banned the minute it goes up? How do you know what to post and what to avoid? The road to establishing an online presence in China can be intimidating, but with the right navigation you will get through just fine. The last thing you want is to let the potential barriers intimidate you. Here are a few major pointers to avoid when making a website in China.
1. Restricted content
There are several overarching categories of content that will get a website completely banned by the government. These include: adult content, gambling, and violence. In fact, adult-content and gambling businesses are completely outlawed in China. With that said, the laws regarding Internet content in China are constantly evolving and it helsp to keep an active interest in these changes.
Additionally, completely avoid linking to restricted content on your website. Placing such links under your primary domain risks having your entire domain banned.
2. User-generated content
The comments section, as we all know, is a modern-day Wild West populated by trolls, extremists, and bored fourteen year olds hyped up on Mountain Dew. It takes great effort to monitor and moderate the actions of other people. If discussions contain any restricted content, it is likely that they will get your website temporarily banned.
Remember, whatever goes on your website will be a reflection of your entity. You will be held responsible for the actions of other people. To avoid this, we suggest eliminating any user-generated content areas such as a comments section or a forum altogether.
If your website depends on ad revenue to function, it is best to make sure that these ads are generated by a Chinese rather than an international platform. The contents of these ads will most likely be outside of your direct control, which means that there's a chance you might end up with a risque advertisement on your page. Having an ad that refers to restricted content may cause your website to be temporarily banned.
4. Problem Domains
It is well-known that many websites are blocked in China. Many of them, such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter, are ubiquitous in our everyday lives. In this scenario we'd like to call these "problem domains" since, if directly linked to them, they may cause your China-based website to be blocked. For a more comprehensive overveiw of problem domains, download our white paper here.
Problem domains can cause trouble in two ways. First, if your website directly links to or even loads from one of these websites, the content will not appear. Second, if your website's URL string contains any of these domains as text, your website (or even your entire domain) may be blocked.
As an alternative to western social media platforms, we suggest transitioning to their Chinese equivalents like Weibo and WeChat. In addition, we suggest that you strip your website of any mentions of problem domains. Having these links could impact the loading time of your website, which heavily impacts user experience.
Now that we've provided you with a primer on what to avoid, you can feel more confident about venturing into China. In addition to the above points, we highly suggest augmenting your reading diet with some China-centric news. This will help you understand the current social and political landscape of the nation. If you have any additional questions, please contact us for a free consultation.