Posted by Patrick Wheeler on January 21, 2013
So, it’s been a while since my last post here, and now I find myself in a city with the tastiest Döner in the world and most hipsters per square mile, Berlin. For the last 9 months I’ve been heading a team building a cross-media mobile content platform in China focused on bringing western music, apps and ebooks to the Chinese market. It’s certainly kept me busy, and a times tending towards the edge of insanity but in particular setting up the infrastructure in China has been “challenging” to say the least, and we have learnt much on our journey.
To a large extent these challenges related more to navigating the seemingly complex legislation/regulation connected to setting up our on servers and site in China as opposed to any technical nuances. Thankfully we had the benefit of working with an exceptional Chinese development partner (Smartions in Suzhou) to help guide us through the many administrate requirements related to establishing an eCommerce presence in China. So without going into the specifics of our platform setup or the more tedious details, I thought it may be of benefit to provide an overview of the basic regulatory requirements and application process to others also considering a web presence in China.
The ICP Bei certificate
In order to publish a web site in China, it is essential that you your identity be verified through the ‘Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’. The result of such verification, if passed, is called the ICP (Internet Content Provider) Bei certificate (ICP备in Chinese).
The ICP Bei certificate is the very basic cert which must be acquired before ANY site is published, and it is only for basic web sites such as simple company site. If you are building a site which falls under the description of a ‘Non Basic’ site, which the Chinese authorities broadly define as news, e-commerce etc, further certificates will be required. I hope to post more on these certificates later.
The Exception: It should be noted that you don’t have to apply for any of the ICP certificates if your site is hosted on servers which are located outside of the China. However, there are chances that access to your site from within the country might get blocked every so often by the country’s firewall.
An ICP Bei certificate number looks like this:
It normally starts from an abbreviation of the province where the ICP is given (‘鲁’ in this example is the Shandong province in China), followed by the ‘ICP备’ text and then your ICP number.
The Application Process
In order to get an ICP certificate, the following documents are required:
- Domain name and the Certificate of Generic Top Level Domain Name (provided by the domain name provider).
- Site Manager’s personal information, which must include:
- ID (Chinese citizen ID card) or passport.
- Contact number. (Very important because the password for the ICP cert will be sent to this number).
- Email Address.
- Manager’s photograph.
- Company’s owner’s ID.
- Company certificate issued by the ‘Administration for Industry & Commerce’.
- Agreement between the owner company of the site and the site manager.
- Completion of basic information forms and agreements provided by the ‘Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’.
All the above documents need to be stamped with the official company stamp and original copy of these documents might be required.
Where to Apply
The application could be done either online or in person. To apply online, visit ICP/IP registration system (only available in Chinese language), follow the steps and fill in appropriate information.
Once the application is accepted, the approval process normally takes less than 20 days depending the province the application is handed in and the content your site is providing.
Posted in China, Globalization, Internationalization, Laws, News | Tagged: China, ICP, Laws | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Patrick Wheeler on July 12, 2011
Do you speak Eskimo?
I decided to compile the following list of language laws that may be relevant to consider when localizing for particular markets. Some are industry specific (Medical Devices, Toys etc) and some are fairly generic pieces of legislation. My personal favourite being the requirement to localize to Inuit in Canada. Ok, fair enough, you’d have to be targeting localization towards a region of Canada (Nunavut) with a population of just over 33,000 people, and the scope is not all-inclusive, but hey, for some reason I find it amusing. To clarify (post-feedback), my amusement stems from the consternation that can be caused on highlighting such lesser known pieces of legislation to the wider organisation. Not due to any perception on my part that such laws are “trivial”. Otherwise I wouldn’t go to the effort of including them in the list below.
Doubtless there are many other pieces of relevant legislation in various regions, so this list is by no means comprehensive and will be subject to future edits. This is just a first attempt to create a list of the known language laws and policies that may impact localization considerations. So if you should know of others, please comment and I will update the list as appropriate.
Click here for the latest “LANGUAGE LAWS” list by country and region
Certain pieces of legislation may not be relevant to language, so I have not yet included them in the list. However, regional legislation can certainly have a global impact. For example, data protection laws; European data protection directives need to be considered when sharing or hosting data internationally. Knowledge of these directives and their implementations at a local level are gradually coming into the mainstream as an increasing number of businesses move into the Cloud with SaaS offerings.
The European Commission provide standard contractual clauses that can be used when your company is dealing with data processors established in third countries (Countries outside the EU that are deemed not enjoy an “adequate” level of data protection). Basically these are contractual templates that can be used to ensure that an “adequate level of data protection” exists for the end-user and to protect your organization in terms of due-diligence. These clauses do not negate the requirement to make an end-user aware of where their data will be held and for what purposes it will be used, so prior and explicit user consent is still required. In particular, following a decision by the so-called “Düsseldorf Group”, German data protection laws (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz) now add another layer of complexity and a further set of requirements.
Naturally there is a great deal of flux around such policies in different regions, as government bodies rush to catch up with a Web 2.0 world where a growing number of people and organisations are trading goods and services internationally using a range of different mediums and platforms. These policies can be subject to change on a nearly daily basis, making it hard for businesses to keep track and ensure compliance.
Market focused rulings in certain regions can also have a broad impact on businesses. For instance, a sweeping statement from the Chinese General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) office back in late 2009 essentially put an end to any plans of western MMO Games producers with intentions of entering the Chinese market. The GAPP banned foreign investors from operating online games “in any form” within China. This decision came as a surprise even to the Chinese Ministry of Culture (MoC) who expressed shock upon hearing the news.
In summary, it is important for localization professionals not only to be focused on the technical aspects of their trade, but also to familiarize themselves with regional legislation relating to delivery of software and services, both at a high level and pertaining to particular markets of interest, so that they can advise and provide direction on such matters within their organizations.
Posted in Globalization, Laws | Tagged: Globalisation, Globalization, Internationalisation, Internationalization, Laws, Localisation, Localization, Transcreation | 4 Comments »