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Which CDN should I choose for users in China?

Selecting the best Content Delivery Network (CDN) for users from China means sorting through a long list of options. It can feel impossible to sort through all the new CDN providers in a rapidly expanding Chinese market.

Not to worry. There is sure to be a CDN out there to match your goals in the Chinese marketplace.


Content Delivery Latency Issues in China


If you’ve ventured into the Chinese market only to discover issues with latency, the problem may lie with your CDN or lack of a CDN. While your chosen website host will have the most significant impact on website speed, CDN is a close secondary concern.

Large content requires more bandwidth and more storage in order to serve files in a timely manner. Images, videos, and downloadable content upload significantly slower when they have to move across the globe. A CDN is an ideal solution.

CDNs store content on their own high-speed devices and service it from a site that is closer to your visitors. In the case of a US company serving content to a Chinese audience, the difference in distance is significant.

Content Delivery Latency Issues in China


The world has become more connected than ever, but distance still matters. The number of miles between a web server and an end-user affects everything from web browsing to email functions. When it comes to delivering content, the issue becomes even more significant.

China-based CDNs can significantly bridge the distance.

A local web host can help with speeds, but pairing it with a local CDN is a safer bet. For companies based in the US, the best option for efficiently delivering content to Chinese customers could be using both a China-based web host and a China-based CDN.

When selecting a CDN, the main factor to consider is how many Points of Presence (PoPs) the CDN offers, and where they are dispersed. PoPs are strategically-placed, secondary CDN hubs. You’ll want to make sure the CDN provider has a PoP in, or near, the area in China you hope to target.


The 5 Best China-Based CDNs


There are several standout CDNs to be found among the cluttered Chinese marketplace. These CDNs have become successful by offering reliable local content delivery from US companies to Chinese end-users. Each of these choices should be carefully evaluated.


1. Alibaba Cloud

Alibaba Cloud

Also known as Aliyun, is a cloud computing leader based in China. Alibaba offers a full range of cloud services: data storage, big data processing, relational databases, and of course, CDNs.

If you’re familiar with Amazon Web Services (AWS), you will already have an idea of how Alibaba works. Some people refer to Alibaba Cloud as the Chinese AWS.

Pros

  • Reasonable prices and pay-as-you-go plans
  • Data centers placed throughout China
  • Thorough documentation
  • Enterprise services

Cons

  • Cluttered interface that has a high learning curve
  • Restricted to FTP, which is considered a less secure way to manage file transfers
  • Many online reviewers mention sporadic but significant website issues, including unexpected downtime


2. Baidu Cloud

Baidu Cloud

Baidu is known as the “Chinese Google,” an important designation considering the Chinese government has effectively banned Google in China. The company has grown steadily and is well-known among Chinese internet users. Baidu offers a variety of web services, including local hosting and CDN.

Pros

  • Primarily a self-service provider
  • Widely known, so there are many online resources
  • An enormously successful tech company that keeps growing

Cons

  • Challenging to locate English documentation
  • Relies on unencrypted, less secure data transmission methods
  • Difficult to quickly address content delivery issues, resulting in delays that can cost you money



3. BaishanCloud

BaishanCloud

Fast-growing BaishanCloud has a global presence in the world of cloud computing. The company places a great deal of focus on enhancing its CDN offerings. Gartner Research has named BaishanCloud as the only Chinese service provider with “global network capabilities.”

Pros

  • Full control of CDN caching
  • Offers 24/7, live support
  • Has a broad geographical reach

Cons

  • Not self-service – you will need the assistance of a Baishan Cloud employee to get started
  • Does not use HTTPS
  • No DNS service


4. ChinaCache

ChinaCache


ChinaCache was the first provider to offer CDN service in China. The company provides a full range of cloud computing services throughout China and well beyond. CloudCache was founded in 1998, making it one of the earliest internet providers in Asia.

Pros

  • Well-regarded CDN service
  • Network extends beyond mainland China to outer regions
  • Offers live support in English

Cons

  • Generally more expensive
  • No instant set-up; options must involve ChinaCache representative
  • Recent negative press regarding executive leadership


5. Tencent Cloud

Tencent Cloud

Tencent is the world’s largest gaming company and one of the largest companies in China. The company has its hand in dozens of major industries, from social networks to payment systems and smartphones. Tencent offers a long list of cloud computing services.

Pros

  • Tencent’s size and reach means it is eager to stay relevant throughout China, so there are Tencent data facilities nationwide
  • Competent, responsive support staff
  • Advanced features like one-click access and self-service access controls

Cons

  • More expensive than some offerings
  • The enormous size can make it difficult to locate specific support resources


ICP Licensing and Near China CDNs


Before you can set up a CDN based in China, you’ll need to become a licensed Internet Content Provider (ICP). The ICP license is issued by the Chinese government and allows websites to be hosted from servers based in China.

This process can become time-consuming and expensive, so some companies expanding their reach into the Asian markets are utilizing CDNs located near China, but not actually within its geographic boundaries. “Near-China” CDNs are often found in Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and other nearby countries.

Near-China CDNs retain many of the benefits of Chinese CDNs since they are still physically closer than global CDN options.

Consider these Near-China CDN providers:

  • BaishanCloud
  • CDNetwork
  • Chunghwa Telecom


Key Takeaways


When selecting a CDN to expand your reach into China, it is essential to consider the geography of the CDN’s PoPs. The distance between PoPs and your customers makes all the difference.

Consider Near-China CDNs if you have not received your ICP license or do not wish to spend time pursuing it.

When you partner with mlytics, you’ll enjoy the convenience of a one-stop solution. We offer an easier way to subscribe and use multiple Near-China CDNs that allow you to leverage the power of multiple, top-tier CDN providers in a single service. 

Learn more about how mlytics AI technology is changing the way platforms interact with website requests autonomously. 

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