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Starting a social network-like site in China?

Need advice on business setup process, ad networks, expected revenue

1:44 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hi, I'm in the US and would like to start a social network-like site in China. Can anyone help with providing links to information on the following?

1. The business setup process - What steps do I need to take to get a business and ICP license? How much would this cost in terms of fees? How long would it take? How much would it cost to contract a lawyer to help with this?

2. How difficult is it to build traffic compared to starting a website in the US? Is it about the same, or are the search engines in China a lot worse about corruption and keeping the big/favored sites at the top of results, etc?

3. What kind of advertisement networks exist in China and what kind of advertising models do they offer?

4. What's a rough approximation of ad revenue dependent on traffic? For example, in the US it's the case that a site with ~40,000 visitors a day could make about 1k a month. I don't need to know specific numbers, but is it on the same order of magnitude for China? Or do you need many more visitors for much less money, or do you get much more money for far fewer visitors?

If someone could point me in the right direction on where to search for information, I would be very grateful! Thank you!
2:09 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Welcome to WebmasterWorld Aera.

That's a lot of questions. ;)
Are you looking to setup a Chinese corporation, or are you looking to do business remotely? It's possible to run a site remotely on a server based in China. Usually the ISP or host will offer the ICP license as part of the package. It's not a very large fee; The hosting company I use charged a few hundred dollars for setup. I'd have to look at old invoices to get an exact amount.

You can use fairly similar tactics in China for site building, but as Google has withdrawn from the market there is even more focus on Baidu. Your top results in the SERPs are generally paid. You can use the site search here to dig up threads on that topic.

Perhaps some of our members from China can help out with some of your other questions.
3:40 pm on June 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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As bill said, the server costs cheaper in China, mainly some policy issues. In China, the site was divided into commercial sites and non-commercial sites, different types of sites require different license, as you said the community classes website, China is a special kind of website, need more complex approval process , whether to allow U.S. companies to conduct business directly is uncertain factors, facebook and myspace are conducted through operating subsidiaries in China. Recommended before entering the Chinese market by consulting a lawyer.
Provide some of the Chinese original of the policy, would like to help you.