How To Get an ICP License In China?
How To Get an ICP License In China?

To acquire a commercial ICP license for your website in China, your business need to meet many requirements and it will take around 60 business days.

If you are unsure what ICP is? Read our previous article Untold facts about ICP for China and why you should get it. first, it will give you an overall idea of what it is and why you need it.

In this article, we will show you step-by-step guidance on what is ICP License in China and how to apply for an ICP commercial license.

What is a Commercial ICP License?

A Commercial ICP License, commonly known as an ICP License, authorizes a company to operate a website, platform, or software in China intended for revenue generation or facilitating revenue generation for others. This license is often categorized as a B25 information service permit or a B25 ICP License, falling under category B25 of the Value-Added Telecommunication Services (VATS) licensing system.

It is important to distinguish the Commercial ICP License from ICP filing, which is often confused with it. ICP filing is a mandatory requirement for every website hosted in mainland China, whereas the ICP license is specifically needed for websites facilitating transactions.

Commercial Internet information services encompass the provision of paid information to Internet users or the creation of web pages via the Internet, such as e-commerce websites and membership sites.

Who needs a Commercial ICP License?

An ICP License is required for any website that generates revenue directly from it, such as:

  • any commercial website (a website that is not purely informational)
  • paid games or games that have in-app payments and/or in-app advertising
  • apps that have in-app payments and/or in-app advertising
  • SaaS platforms
  • app stores or game stores
  • online marketplace for goods, services, or information
  • live streaming platforms (although an additional, separate license is also required for this) etc.

Thus, if you generate revenue from advertising or online sales and perform business that requires payments using your platform, you will need this ICP license. If your business collects membership and click fees, it is strongly recommended to have an ICP license to avoid unnecessary risks.

Also, an ICP License is issued on a per-company basis. You will still need to submit an ICP Filing for each top-level domain you use.

What are the requirements to get a commercial ICP license?

Individuals are not qualified to apply for a Commercial ICP license. To apply for a Commercial ICP license, there are some challenging requirements:

  • The registered capital of the enterprise must be more than 1 million yuan.
  • Proof that the company has paid three consecutive months of social security for the three employees
  • A Chinese-owned business entity or sino-foreign joint venture where the proportion of foreign investment cannot exceed 49%. (If there is foreign capital, it needs to be applied according to the foreign capital process. Foreign companies will also need to apply for a “Foreign (Regional) Enterprises Resident Representative Registration Certificate” before filing.)
  • The content and form of the enterprise website meet the requirements for applying for an ICP business license.
  • The domain name applied for by the enterprise has been filed through the domain name filing system.
  • The server of the enterprise website must be located in the province area.

How long does it take?

You need to submit all required documents to the telecommunications management agency of the province your company is registered, online and offline. Your application shall be reviewed within 60 business days from the date of receipt. If it is approved, an ICP license shall be issued; if it is not approved, the applicant shall be notified in writing, and the reasons required to be explained.

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ICP license is subject to annual review every year. If you fail to participate in the annual inspection on time every year, you will be punished accordingly.

The license is valid for 5 years. Before the date it is about to expire, you must apply for renewal in advance. If you do not renew it on time, you will be punished accordingly, or it will be canceled.

In addition, if other items of the business license are changed, your ICP license must also be changed accordingly; otherwise, you will be punished.

What is B21 (EDI) License and how is it different?

The B21 license, also recognized as the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) services license, provides specific authorization within the Value-Added Telecommunications Services (VATS) licensing system. This permit enables businesses to legally operate particular platforms in China, including e-commerce platforms, business-to-business (B2B) data exchange platforms, and networking hardware platforms.

Platforms requiring the B21 license encompass e-commerce, B2B data exchange, and networking hardware platforms, among others.

In summary, the B21 license ensures that businesses involved in electronic data interchange services adhere to regulatory mandates, allowing them to operate within designated domains effectively.

To draw a comparison, the B21 license is tailored for Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) services and associated platforms like e-commerce, B2B data exchange, and networking hardware. Conversely, the B25 license, also known as B25 ICP License, is designed for revenue-generating websites, platforms, or software in China. The B25 license encompasses a broader scope, encompassing general internet-based information services, while the B21 license is more specific to EDI services and related platforms.

If you are not sure whether you need B25 ICP license or B21 EDI license, Contact us today, and our experts will explain all the secrets of making your website operates legitimately in China!

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