In this article, we will walk you through how to accelerate your Shopify store in China. No coding experience is needed.
Before we dive in, let’s do some speed tests on some high-traffic Shopify stores to see how good Shopify site loads in China. If you don’t know how fast your site loads in China yet, submit your site here and get a free test result.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is a Canadian e-commerce store creation platform. Individuals without a technical background can easily create e-commerce websites through the visual interface provided by Shopify. In addition, Shopify also provides a rich rental library for store owners to use to make their Shopify store better. For example, make it support multi-language, multi-currency support.
How Fast is Shopify in China?
Below are the speed tests results:
Case 1: Fashion Accessories Company: Steve Madden
- Website: www.stevemadden.com
- Global ranking Worldwide: 20,446
- Estimated traffic per month: 2.9 Million
If you visit Steve Madden’s website outside of China, you may not notice slow access or even opening issues, because Shopify’s access speed outside China is generally great. However, in China, it is impossible to open the site.
We can look at the following screen record our team put together. When recorded this screen record, it’s under the normal 4G network speed and is in the center of Shanghai, China, here is what we see on Steve Madden:
As a result, we waited over 60 seconds on this blank screen, and Steve Madden’s website wasn’t loading at all in Shanghai. If it’s not for this experiment, I would just exit the site in a few seconds without seeing things on the screen.
Is it just people in Shanghai that can’t open Steve Madden’s website?
We did another test to check the access speed of all the provinces to Steve Madden’s website. Here is the result:
The color represents the speed at which users open the website. The green areas represent the faster the user can open the website. Yellow to dark red show areas that take a long time for users to open.
The test results show that people from China (not just Shanghai) cannot visit Steve Madden’s store. Even first and second-tier major cities in China cannot open Steve Madden’s website.
How about other stores powered by Shopify?
I know you want more Shopify examples to confirm what you just saw in Steve Madden’s case in China.
So do we.
How about a Soccer Club? Let’s do it.
Case 2: Popular Soccer Club: Manchester United
- Website: https://www.manutd.com
- Global ranking worldwide: 4512
- Estimated traffic per month: 13 Million
This figure shows how fast people can visit the Manchester United website across Mainland China. You can tell the major cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou (in green) can open the site Okay. Cities in the midwest (in orange) have difficulty visiting this site.
As before, we screen record this from Shanghai, and he is what people from Shanghai see Manchester United website.
So it took at least 10 seconds for my first load (no cache on my browser). Even though the Manchester United website is openable in China, but it took me 10 seconds to load. I believe if I revisit or leverage cache on my browser, I might be able to accelerate a few seconds faster, but still, can people wait 6-8 seconds on a blank screen without seeing a thing? I would not.
Let’s do two more, then I guess you will have a better understanding of how Shopify works in China.
Case 3: Korea Beauty Brand: Soko Glam
- Website: https://sokoglam.com
- Global ranking worldwide: 50,817
- Estimated traffic per month: 942.16K
The same test as before for all the provinces in China.
Soko Glam site did not do well on the speed test because most cities including the major ones can’t access it. This ties back to the problem I will talk about later – Shopify doesn’t have CDNs or servers in China so this significantly affects the first load so that’s why people in China can’t access the Soko Glam website.
Luckily, I was able to use 10 seconds to open the Soko Glam website in Shanghai (see screen record above), but I guess it will be not stable. Meaning people may be able to access it now, but not in the next hour or two. Maybe it works today or stops working tomorrow. If China is on their plan, the stability is definitely hurting the overall brand image in China.
One more case, then we warp it up. How about we test a Gaming site?
Yeah, why not?
It’s another big sector that people spend money on, and I’m trying to cover a diverse list of Shopify sites so you can trust us “Shopify doesn’t work” in China, not just by our words.
Let’s do it.
Case 4: Gaming Platform: Skybound
- Website: https://www.skybound.com
- Global ranking worldwide: 322,095
- Estimated traffic per month: 148.18K
Same as before, a speed test result figure to see how fast people can access the Skybound website.
Same as Steve Madden, Soko Glam, and Manchester United, most people can’t open the site. I guess by now, you are likely to trust me on this. By the way, you can’t easily replicate these results if you are not in the China network conditions. That’s the reason why I did the screen record to give you a sense (visually) to see what happens if people open a Shopify site in China.
I had no luck in opening the Skybound website in Shanghai (see screen record above). I waited for 60 seconds, and it’s not loading at all.
To wrap up, as you can see the speed tests above, if people in China can’t open these high-traffic Shopify sites, we can probably conclude that other websites powered by Shopify are likely not openable in China unless you configure custom CDNs for China or use an acceleration service like what I’ll be covering in a second below.
Want to test if people in China can open your Shopify site? Click here to get yours for free.
Don’t just take our words or just the tests, let’s look at what the Shopify team says about this problem.
Does the Shopify team have a solution to the slow access problem in China?
The official response from Shopify Guru Team:
The Shopify Guru Team said that increasing access speed in China, for the time being, will be difficult and not fully in their control. So the Shopify sites you created will have no good services in China, and it’s likely to ban in China if your site doesn’t comply with the laws well. That’s the reason why we wrote this article to help you get thru the mud.
Okay, it’s confirmed that Shopify doesn’t work in China by the Shopify Team. Can we fix it? the answer is certainly yes, let’s look at why websites powered by Shopify don’t work. Once you understand why then our answer or our solution is pretty straightforward to understand.
Why my Shopify store doesn’t work in China?
Our engineering team has analyzed extensively why Shopify doesn’t work in China.
The major reason why your store’s first load is super slow or even inaccessible is that Shopify doesn’t have any CDNs or servers in China (even they said they had a China team in their press back in 2019).
The result of not having CDNs or servers in China is that your Shopify store can’t be opened (just like Steve Madden, Soko Glam, Manchester United, and Skybound from the screen record videos above).
Many other reasons could break your Shopify store in China. For example, if your store uses Google Fonts, embedded content from YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, etc, your site will be broken in China because these services don’t work or are broken in China.
Let your Shopify store load extremely fast in China using 21YunBox
Okay, now it’s the meat of this article, and as we promised, we will show you how we make a Shopify site load fast in China.
Let’s show you the speed test result, just like the tests we’ve seen above, but this one is all green, meaning it’s loading blazing fast in China.
Here is the code starter to make this possible, and you can replicate the above result if you deploy this code to 21YunBox.
If you accidentally come across this article and do not understand why we want our Shopify sites to load fast. Below is a quick introduction and why it might affect the revenue of your store.
Why Speed Matters?
Here is what Google and Deloitte people say:
If this sounds difficult to understand, let’s take a look at this example:
If a site makes $100,000 per day, a one-second improvement generates another $7,000 daily, and the opposite is true too. Online shoppers will never learn to be patient with slow pages.
Slow-loading sites also negatively impact your searchability. With paid search, for example, slow landing pages lower your Google AdWords Quality Score—which means a higher cost-per-click.
Search engine optimization (SEO) experts will also tell you that slow pages hurt organic rankings across all devices.
That’s the reason why we want fast-loading sites because we want our sites to make more money. If you are coming from a non-tech background read blow update to get your Shopify site accelerated without coding.
Updated on Oct. 1st, 2021
How to make your Shopify site load fast (no-code solution)?
Let’s keep in mind that Loading fast is what you will get out of this service, you also want your site to comply with the laws in China, otherwise, your site will be up for a day or two and it is shut down by the Chinese Gov. We have seen it happens many times already, and it’s not recoverable once your domain is blocked in China.
Since this post is up in March early this year, our team has been getting a lot of questions in asking a no-code solution for Shopify acceleration in China.
Our initial solution was required developers to integrate Shopify storefront APIs using a JAMStack approach to deploy it on 21YunBox Edge, which we mainly serve as a PaaS. What this means is that 21YunBox is a developer focus platform, we provide Shopify acceleration solutions in China for developers.
To make it a no-code solution for our Shopify users, we created a new product, Yammo, which enables your store to load fast in China, without building your store from scratch. It’s the no-code solution, no coding is needed.
If your business this service now, please visit the Yammo website and submit your site there, then our team will generate a plan for you within a day or two.