Akamai is the pioneer of, and has built one of the largest Content Delivery Network with thousands of POPs globally. While they have POPs almost everywhere (in your building? down the street? - really!), they don't have them in China.
- Akamai doesn't have their own POPs in China
- Akamai China is powered by a 3rd party, China Net Center
- You need an ICP Licence to host content Onshore
- If you are Regulated industry (e.g. Banks, Insurance, etc..) and required to host onshore, then it is a viable option
- If Speed is your primary concern, there are better options
China Net Center, also known as Wangsu Technology Company Limited, powers Akamai's China operations, and if you're looking to cache/deliver content in China with Akamai, you're basically using a 3rd party service that is logically separated from Akamai's global operations (for many reasons). This is similar to Cloudflare's China CDN, and their partnership with Baidu.
Wangsu is one of the largest cloud providers and competes head-to-head with the more well-known full-service providers like Alibaba Cloud, and Tencent Cloud. Wangsu has over 500 POPs in China, in all the major cities, and they provide largely the typical CDN services one would expect, although features of Akamai's such as image optimisation and DNS are not available.
Globally, Wangsu in Feb 2017 bought the Korean CDN, CDNetworks, with strong penetration into Asia, and generally operates as Quantil in overseas markets including both the US and Europe. While as of early 2021, these networks haven't been fully integrated, we imagine they will all come under the same umbrella at some point in the future.
In questioning the onshore route and related Chinese CDN, the primary consideration is, "is my company a Chinese regulated entity?" Some industries such as Banking, Insurance, and Medical service providers may be required to host onshore - they may be dealing with personally identifiable information, or working with minors, and for these, and other reasons, are required to set up onshore business operations, and associate their onshore ICP licences with such business operations.
While those industries are regulated entities, it doesn't necessitate the need to host their global websites onshore. As global websites target a predominantly global market, through which, some customers may inevitably come from China, those sites can continue to be hosted 'offshore' and typically do not require an ICP licence. Take www.jpmorgan.com for example, a US-based headquartered company, which for all intents and purposes is a global company. In these cases, it's the common interpretation that this does does not need an ICP licence, and in that case, in respect of China, website speed is the primary consideration.
Taking the above into consideration, if you are
i) a regulated entity,
ii) have an onshore business entity, and
iii) are required to build an entirely separate website specifically for China
..then Akamai China (and subsequently China Net Center) may be an appropriate service provider. As it's a separate site, you could equally just work directly with China Net Center, or any other Chinese CDN.
If you are:
i) not a regulated entity, and
ii) you're not building a separate site,
..then it's likely that simply accelerating your site into China is your primary consideration.
If that's the case, then Chinafy is your answer.
Combining a multi-CDN infrastructure, and a series of code optimisations, Chinafy enables websites to load quickly in China, with fully optimised sites potentially loading within 2-3 seconds (note that performance depends on a number of factors). To learn more and see the data, check out these two articles: