How to Build A Right Chinese Website That Works In China

by Cheng Chao

44-page ebook, last updated: Jun.10th, 2017

10 Steps to Build A Successful One

Step 1. Register Your Domain Name
Step 2. Set Up Your Email Server
Step 3. Where to Put Your Website: Web Hosting
Step 4. Easy to Build: CMS and Shopping Cart
Step 5. Get A Great Web Design
Step 6. Make Your Web Content Attractive
Step 7. Define Your Functions and Develop Them
Step 8. Test Your Website
Step 9. Chinese Localization Check
Step 10. Track, Analyze, and Optimize

About the Author


Cheng Chao has extensive expertise in China market entry strategy, global translation & localization, cross-border business development, and global digital marketing.

Chao founded ChineseTrans, where he led a team of senior linguists to establish ChineseTrans as the market leader in professional Chinese translation services.

Since 2011, Chao has served as the managing director of SinoStep, a consulting agency helping foreign investment enter into the China market. Backed up with a strong team of China business consultants experienced in different sectors, Chao has successfully introduced dozens of overseas brands into the China market, established their operations in China on early stage and adapted their businesses to the China market.

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Free Chapters to Read


Building a website for the China market is a tough job for most overseas companies aiming to sell to China.

You may find many free online information about building a Chinese website, however, there is no practical guide like this one.
Enjoy your reading and let me know if you have any questions.

Your Web Challenges in China

In the internet age, a good website is your best sales representative working 24 hours a day. It is true for either domestic or international market.

But it is full of challenges to build an effective website for the China market, even if you know how it works in the western world.

Common Problems

  • Poor Content
  • Slow Loading
  • No Traffic
  • No Sales, and No Inquiries

My Website Story

I’ve started building websites since 1999.

I learned HTML and CSS all by myself. It was amazing to find out that you can control all the formats and turn your ideas in the screen.

My first website was built for a girl. It looked pretty neat then with some animated pictures although they were quite simple.

After I quit my full-time sales job from a large IT company, I built a number of forums, blogs, web stores for my own business. People came to me to build different kinds of websites for them.

Some are very simple gallery style sites, and some are very sophisticated complete eCommerce web stores.

Today you are very lucky to reach numerous resources and mature technology out there. You can easily build a simple website with powerful functions.

But for China market,You need to handle the Chinese localization well and understand real Chinese customers.

My Business: Chinese Website Expert Review & China Market Entry Strategy

My Chinese translation services,, started from 2002 and now it became a translation web store to accept document translation orders automatically from more than 8o countries.

I took care of dozens of Chinese website localization projects. Unlike standard document translation, these website localization jobs are more about diagnostics and consulting. There are many common mistakes for all these websites.

In 2010, I started, my China market entry consulting service, helping foreign investment companies establish their operations in China on early stage and adapt their businesses to the China market.

My role changed to be more strategic and most of my clients love to include Chinese website localization and Chinese digital marketing into their China market entry strategy.

I’d say this is really a smart investment.

Now, I’d like to share some important tips for you to avoid common pitfalls that many business owners encountered.


Ten Steps to Build Your Successful Website for the China Market

  • Step 1. Register Your Domain Name
  • Step 2. Set Up Your Email Server
  • Step 3. Where to Put Your Website: Web Hosting
  • Step 4. Easy to Build: CMS and Shopping Cart
  • Step 5. Get A Great Web Design
  • Step 6. Make Your Web Content Attractive
  • Step 7. Define Your Functions and Develop Them
  • Step 8. Test Your Website
  • Step 9. Chinese Localization Check
  • Step 10. Track, Analyze, and Optimize


Step 1. Register Your Domain Name

A domain name is critical in your new business.

And this is the first thing I suggest you to do when you got the business idea for the China market.

It takes you just a few minutes to register a domain name.
Be sure to do this at a reputable registrar.
There are many sad stories about domain names with a worse agent or a poor registrar.

Pick a Good Name

A meaningful good domain name could be easy to remember for your target customers. It will also save you a considerable future online marketing budget.

A Good Name for Your Target Chinese Customers

A big challenge for the China market is to pick a name suitable for Chinese consumers.

  • The common combination of meaningful English words often does not work in China.
  • Typical foreign name looks strange and Chinese customers will never remember.
  • Some names sound awful to Chinese customers.

Small Tips to Get A Good Name

Here are some simple rules for A good name for Chinese Customers


  • Meaning: The name shall be meaningful
  • No dash: “-“, “A-B” style domain is not a good choice.
  • Be short: Always a truth for a domain name.
  • Use PinYin: You can consider Chinese PinYin as an alternative choice, it is easy for Chinese customer to pronounce and remember.

Last week I registered a new domain for my personal private 1 on 1 English program, Chao is my first name, and English is the service I am offering.It is quite easy for Chinese customers to remember though it is not a short one for them.

Buy from Others

What if your desirable domain name is taken?

You can try to buy it in the domain resell market, or contact the domain owner directly to negotiate a price.

Basically you can find the owner’s contact from its whois information, or check his/her websites.

My personal preference is to pay up to USD3000 for a really good name, otherwise I would rather find a new name. But it really depends on how good it is.

A Chinese .cn domain ?

You may be told to register a .cn domain.

The .cn domain name is the international top level domain under the administration of China. Authorized by the Ministry of Information Industry, the CNNIC (Chinese Internet Network Information Center) registers all the .cn domain names.

Is it a must? No, it isn’t. You can use .com domain or any other domains, and it’s almost the same.

For me, nothing is different.

Why register .cn domain?

I mainly use .com names, and register some .cn names just because they are good.




Consider buying a .cn domain the following situations:

  • Register a .cn domain as a protection for your existing brand.
  • You can find some good .cn names while the relevant .com is sold.

Many companies will register all the .cn or domain names similar to their original .com domain name.

There are many registrars that you can buy a .cn domain.

Chao’s Naming Service

As I explained above, Many business owners made a mistake to provide an awkward domain name in the China market. And your target Chinese customer will never remember the domain name.

Many people are difficult to find proper names for not only domain names, but also names for individuals, babies, companies, brands, companies, apps, and even pets. I started to offer Chinese Personal Naming to individual customers, Chinese Name Evaluation and Chinese Name Development Services to Business clients from 10 years ago and it helped hundreds of clients. In the mean time, more and more Chinese clients are coming to me for a good English name too.

Every month I will get several requests to provide Chinese domain name ideas.

Register by Yourself

Domain names are very important assets when your business grows. You need to control the ownership all the time.

In 2000, I asked a guy to register a domain for me, however he registered the name under his own name and attempted to sell it back to me at a very high price.

Actually, with only a little learning, you will know how to do it.

Or you should find someone you really can trust.

Still confused? You are always welcome to find a professional solution from us.


Step 2. Set Up Your Email Server

Setting up your Email address with your own domain is the first thing to do after buying the domain name.

Stop using unprofessional way with other domain suffixes like,, etc.

For Email server, You will have many choices. Most hosting provider can offer their email solutions too.

Normally I will recommend Google Enterprise Solutions.

You can follow their setting instructions to do some configuration on your domains and it won’t be too complicated.

This part will not be very different from else where. So I won’t spend too much time on it.

As to email marketing to Chinese consumers, we will cover this part in the next few steps.


Step 3. Where to Put Your Website: Web Hosting

Hosting In China or Somewhere Close to China?

If your target clients are in mainland China, put your website in China or in places as close as possible.

You should think twice since you will face challenges in both options.

Hosting in Mainland China means faster speed, but you need to face more control and paperwork. It might be difficult for many companies or organizations to get an ICP license in China before you can host your website in China, some China hosting providers could not provide the quality service as their global counterparts can do.

My suggestion for new starters without China legal entities to start on a foreign server.

When you are more confident and serious about this market, you can migrate your website and host in China then.

Shared Server, VPS, and Dedicated Server

You don’t need to set up a dedicated server unless you built a big website with potential huge traffic.

It will cost too much for most businesses and it is also quite difficult to maintain the website.

High Performance Shared Server and VPS are more affordable and suitable for most websites.

Shared servers are less stable than dedicated Virtual Private Servers (VPS).

Find a Decent Hosting Provider

There are millions of web hosting choices but many of them are not good for you to do business in China.

Read hosting reviews and ask people you trust about a good recommendation.

I’ve tested many services, and my best experience is with Digital Ocean. It is a VPS starting from USD5/month.

I put my translation web store on Digital Ocean and it has been working really well for many years.

Recommended Hosting providers:

⊃ Digital Ocean

Digital Ocean is a fast growing VPS provider. It offers fast, agile and secure cloud solutions.

Newly added node in Singapore this year make it a good choice for websites targeting on China market.

You can get $10 in credit by clicking this link Digital Ocean

I prefer Digital Ocean more since it has more location choices, either the service or the support is quite good, I host most of my sites on Digital Ocean.

including my Chinese Translation store