Contentful does not work in China
Contentful does not work in China

TLDR; Contentful doesn’t work in China. Websites built with Contentful load in 40+ seconds and have broken images and videos. Many Contentful sites are not even accessible in China. This article explains why Contentful has poor performance in China and then provides you with the only solution to fix your Contentful site that is fully compliant with the laws in mainland China.


In this article, we will determine if Contentful works in China or not. Our staff conducted the tests in Shanghai (China Mainland) and Hong Kong (outside Mainland China) and we used 3rd party testing tools to ensure our tests weren’t biased.

By the end of this article, you should have a good understanding of Contentful and if it works in Mainland China or not. Also, you can contact us to get a free speed test of your Contentful site for China.


What is Contentful?

Contentful is a headless content management system (CMS). Headless CMS provides a way to create content that does not couple content to a specific output (ie. web page rendering, such as writing articles on WordPress and posting them to a website). It provides a solution that content creators can more effectively write articles and still allows developers to get content through APIs, which the content can then be delivered across channels.


Does Contentful work in China?

The short answer is no.

Below is the long answer if you want to understand why:

Response from the Contentful team
Response from the Contentful team

This can be interpreted as: The Contentful team has no “solution” in China for now. For more information, please refer to the original post.

In addition, Contentful does not have a CDN node in mainland China and isn’t formalized under China’s content control laws. This means that it is impossible to use Contentful formally and smoothly in China, until now.

If you don’t have plans to switch CMS anytime soon, read this article instead: How to make Contentful work in China without switching CMS.



The Testing Process

There are two tests we need to perform to conclude if a website works in China.

  1. How fast is the site in Mainland China?
  2. Does the website operated by the business comply with the laws in China?

The second part of the test is a must for most businesses or organizations, not optional. If you are unsure why it’s a must, read Untold facts about ICP for China, and why you should get it.


Speed Test Procedures for China

Lets take a look at how 10 popular websites selected from Contentful’s global enterprise customers’ and see how they actually perform in China.

We follow the test questions mentioned earlier for each website and create a report with the following format:

1. A figure to see how fast the site performs across Mainland China.

Example of a fast website in China
Example of a fast website in China

This figure basically shows how fast the website loads across Mainland China (green = fast 👍, red/orange/yellow/grey = slow 👎)


2. A video to see the site’s performance in China visually.

We made a screen record of the website loading in Shanghai, China. This provides you with an intuitive way to see how fast the site visually loads and understand what people in China actually experience when they visit the website.


3. A yes-no check to see if the site complied with the laws in China.

If the site passes the legal check, it’s a green check. If it doesn’t pass, we will tell you why it doesn’t pass.

Now, let’s dive into the reports for each of the selected businesses using Contentful to power their sites.


Case Study Results

 

Contentful, www.contentful.com

Lets start by taking a look at how Contentful’s own website performs in China.

From our speed test, people in China have difficulty viewing the images on Contentful’s website. (that’s what the below figure means, red means unable to display images).

Contentful's Media Assets won't load across China
Contentful's Media Assets won't load across China

Here is a more intuitive way to see it, we screen-recorded the process when a user browses Contentful’s website in Shanghai, click the video below to see it in action:

If you visit Contentful's site under China network conditions, you will see the above

Does Contentful’s website comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the business does not have an ICP license displayed at the footer of their website.

If you don’t know what an ICP license is, click here to learn more.

Finding if a website has an ICP license is pretty straightforward, just scroll to the bottom of the page, if you see a number like this (see below Nike’s websites for China), then the business behind the website has an ICP for China. If not, they don’t have it. You can check if your website has it or not.

Below is an example of Nike’s website in China, and its ICP number.

Nike's ICP Number for China
Nike's ICP Number for China





Similarly, we ran the same tests for the rest of the selected Contentful Enterprise user’s websites.

 

Peloton, www.onepeloton.com

Peloton Interactive, Inc. (PTON) is an American exercise equipment and media company based in New York City. Peloton’s main products are internet-connected stationary bicycles and treadmills that enable monthly subscribers to remotely participate in classes via streaming media.

From our speed test, people in China will have difficulty viewing the images and opening them on Peloton’s website (that’s what the below figure means, red means unable to display images).

Images on Peloton's website are not accessible in China
Images on Peloton's website are not accessible in China

Here is a more intuitive way to see it, we screen-recorded the process when a user browses Peloton’s website in Shanghai, click the video below to see it in action:

If you visit www.onepeloton.com under China network conditions, you will see the above

Does Peloton’s website comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the business does not even have an ICP license at the footer of their website.

If you don’t know what an ICP license is, click here to learn more.




 

Bang & Olufsen, www.bang-olufsen.com

Bang & Olufsen (BHOUF) is a Danish high-end consumer electronics company that designs and manufactures audio products, television sets, and telephones.

From our speed test, people in China will have difficulty opening Bang & Olufsen’s website (that’s what the below figure means, red means unable to display images).

Images on Bang & Olufsen's website are not accessible in China
Images on Bang & Olufsen's website are not accessible in China

Here is a more intuitive way to see it, we screen-recorded the process when a user browses Bang & Olufsen’s website in Shanghai, click the video below to see it in action:

If you visit www.bang-olufsen.com under China network conditions, you will see the above

Does the Bang & Olufsen’s websites comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the international website does not have an ICP license at the footer of their website.

If you don’t know what an ICP license is, click here to learn more.




 

Shiseido Professional, www.shiseido-professional.com

Shiseido Company, Limited is a Japanese multinational cosmetic company. It is one of the oldest cosmetic companies in the world.

From our speed test, people in China have difficulty viewing the images on Shiseido’s website. (that’s what the below figure means, red means unable to display images).

Shiseido's Access Speed is Slow if Accessible in China
Shiseido's Access Speed is Slow if Accessible in China

Here is a more intuitive way to see it, we screen-recorded the process when a user browses Shiseido’s website in Shanghai, click the video below to see it in action:

If you visit www.shiseido-professional.com under China network conditions, you will see the above

Does Shiseido Professional’s websites comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the website does not even have an ICP license at the footer of their website.

If you don’t know what an ICP license is, click here to learn more.




 

Swarovski, www.swarovskioptik.com

Swarovski is an Austrian producer of glass headquartered in Wattens, Austria, and has existed as a family-owned business since its founding in 1895 by Daniel Swarovski.

From our speed test, people in China have difficulty viewing the images on Swarovski Optik’s website. (that’s what the below figure means, red means unable to display images).

Swarovski's Access Speed is Slow if Accessible in China
Swarovski's Access Speed is Slow if Accessible in China

Here is a more intuitive way to see it, we screen-recorded the process when a user browses Swarovski’s website in Shanghai, click the video below to see it in action:

If you visit www.swarovskioptik.com under China network conditions, you will see the above

Does Swarovski Optik’s websites comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the website does not even have an ICP license at the footer of their website.

If you don’t know what an ICP license is, click here to learn more.




Equinox, www.equinox.com

Equinox Group is an American luxury fitness company which operates several lifestyle brands: Equinox, Equinox Hotels, Precision Run, Project by Equinox, Equinox Explore, Equinox Media, Furthermore, PURE Yoga, Blink Fitness, and SoulCycle.

From our speed test, people in China have difficulty viewing the images on Equinox’s website. (that’s what the below figure means, red means unable to display images).

Equinox's Access Speed is Slow if Accessible in China
Equinox's Access Speed is Slow if Accessible in China

Here is a more intuitive way to see it, we screen-recorded the process when a user browses Equinox’s website in Shanghai, click the video below to see it in action:

If you visit www.equinox.com under China network conditions, you will see the above

Does Equinox’s websites comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the website does not even have an ICP license at the footer of their website.

If you don’t know what an ICP license is, click here to learn more.




 

Alpro, www.alpro.com

Alpro is a European company based in Wevelgem, Belgium, that markets organic and non-organic, non-genetically modified, plant-based products, such as foods and drinks made from soy, almonds, hazelnuts, cashew, rice, oats or coconut.

From our speed test, many people in China have difficulty viewing the images on Alpro’s website. (that’s what the below figure means, red/yellow means unable to display images).

Alpro's Access Speed is Slow if Accessible in parts of China
Alpro's Access Speed is Slow if Accessible in parts of China

Here is a more intuitive way to see it, we screen-recorded the process when a user browses Alpro’s website in Shanghai, click the video below to see it in action:

If you visit www.alpro.com under China network conditions, you will see the above

Does Alpro’s websites comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the website does not even have an ICP license at the footer of their website.

If you don’t know what an ICP license is, click here to learn more.




 

Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, www.sydneyairport.com.au

Sydney Airport is one of the world’s longest continuously operated commercial airports and is the busiest airport in Australia. It is one of the top 50 busiest airports in the world.

From our speed test, people in China have difficulty viewing the images on Sydney Airport’s website. (that’s what the below figure means, red means unable to display images).

Sydney Airport's Access Speed is Slow if Accessible in China
Sydney Airport's Access Speed is Slow if Accessible in China

Here is a more intuitive way to see it, we screen-recorded the process when a user browses Sydney Airport’s website in Shanghai, click the video below to see it in action:

If you visit www.sydneyairport.com.au under China network conditions, you will see the above

Does Sydney Airport’s websites comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the website does not even have an ICP license at the footer of their website.

If you don’t know what an ICP license is, click here to learn more.




 

Vicks, www.vicks.com

Vicks is an American brand of over-the-counter medications owned by the American companies Procter & Gamble and Helen of Troy Limited. Vicks manufactures NyQuil and its sister medication, DayQuil.

From our speed test, people in China will have difficulty viewing the images and opening them on Vicks’s website (that’s what the below figure means, red means unable to display images).

Images on Vicks's website are not accessible in China
Images on Vicks's website are not accessible in China

To see the site load in action, here is what a normal user would see in China:

The website cannot be reached by the user
The website cannot be reached by the user

Since the website cannot be reached by the user in China, we don’t provide a screen recorded video, even if we did, you will only see a blank screen like the above image.

Does the Vicks’s website comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the business does not even have an ICP license at the footer of their website.

If you don’t know what an ICP license is, click here to learn more.




 

Costa Coffee, www.costacoffee.co.uk

Costa Coffee is a British coffeehouse chain with headquarters in Dunstable, England. Costa Coffee was founded in London in 1971 by Sergio Costa as a wholesale operation supplying roasted coffee to caterers and specialist Italian coffee shops.

From our speed test, people in China will have difficulty viewing the images and opening them on Costa Coffee’s website (that’s what the below figure means, red means unable to display images).

Images on Costa Coffee's website are not accessible in China
Images on Costa Coffee's website are not accessible in China

To see the site load in action, here is what a normal user would see in China:

The website cannot be reached by the user
The website cannot be reached by the user

Since the website cannot be reached by the user in China, we don’t provide a screen recorded video, even if we did, you will only see a blank screen like the above image.

Does the Costa Coffee’s website comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the business does not even have an ICP license at the footer of their website.

If you don’t know what an ICP license is, click here to learn more.




Need Contentful to work in China?

In short, if your business is going to China, make sure your website passes the two tests we mentioned above to have a fast speed of first load and good viewing and browsing quality for your users in China.

Reducing page load time by 0.1 seconds will increase the conversion rate by 8%.

Google, Deloitte

If you need help going to China, please contact us, we are happy to help.


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