Blog / How much does it cost to get an ICP?

How much does it cost to get an ICP?

In theory, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) does not charge a fee for the application itself. However, in practice, overseas companies might find themselves tied to a long list of running costs in setting up a business license and onshore entity (separate to the ICP). As a result, applying for an ICP and related could cost US$40,303 or more.

We've looked through prices listed on Alibaba Cloud, local agencies, and other web providers to breakdown your estimated ICP costs according to the three ICP scenarios as a foreign business.

Scenario 1: US$20,147+ for ICP Filing (Individual)

Scenario 1: You’re looking to start a blog site purely for information sharing in China, but do not have any local support in China, are not a Chinese national nor proficient in Chinese.

Costs breakdown

1. Build a new site in China: US$19,456

New domain name with .cn extension (SXL) $331/year

China server for hosting (SXL) $412/year

Designer for custom design e.g. banners and subpages (Huawei) $1,028+

Chinese named contact who’ll manage your site (Liepin) $17,685+/year

2. ICP application $691

Translation service (~10,000 words) ~$412

ICP agency (9Mayi) $279+

Scenario 2: US$40,303+ for ICP Filing (Business)

Your business is registered overseas and none of your staff is proficient in Chinese nor a Chinese national. Your new China-facing site is an informational site with no on-site transaction.

Costs breakdown

1. Build a new site in China $19,456

New domain name with .cn extension (SXL) $331/year

China server for hosting (SXL) $412/year

Designer for custom design e.g. banners and subpages (Huawei) $1,028

Chinese named contact who’ll manage your site (Liepin) $17,685/year

2. Apply for a business license in China (e.g. Joint Venture) $19,950

China entity $17,650

China business bank account 

Accountant $2,300

3. ICP application $897

Translation service (~15,000 words) $618

ICP agency (9Mayi) $279

Scenario 3: USD$104,024 + for ICP Commercial License

You do not have a business license in China nor an ICP Filing yet. China expansion is something new to you and you foresee needing agency-level support along the way.

Costs breakdown

1. Build a new site in China: $19,456

New domain name with .cn extension (SXL) $331/year

China server for hosting (SXL) $412/year

Designer for custom design e.g. banners and subpages (Huawei) $1,028

Chinese named contact who’ll manage your site (Liepin) $17,685/year

2. Apply for a business license in China (e.g. Joint Venture): $19,950

China entity $17,650

China business bank account

Accountant $2,300

3. ICP application: $64,618

Translation service (~15,000 words) $618

ICP consultant (Alibaba Cloud) $64,000

The above costs are separate to the time costs from documentation and application processing by MIIT, which at the very least could take 24 days to 6 months. 

Costs can vary greatly from client to client, but what can be certain is that if you do not have local support in China and need to host onshore (and thus need the business license), you’ll likely need agency-level support starting at roughly $64,000.

This is certainly not preferable for SMEs, businesses in the early stages of mapping out onshore expansion, or companies that would prefer to remain offshore. 

If this sounds like you, we’d recommend offshore performance enhancements, for example, with Chinafy. 

How does Chinafy work? Read more about how Chinafy accelerates sites for onshore delivery.

Uncertain on whether you need an ICP or not? Shoot us a note at info@chinafy.com for a chat!

All prices in USD. Updated in 2020.

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