Will China’s Transition of Power Threaten Foreign Internet Content Providers?


China is tightening enforcement of a wide range of rules and regulations affecting foreign business in advance of this month’s transfer of power. This is not unusual but it can catch foreign companies off guard. It’s a good time to be sure your papers are in order.

Thousands of companies do business in China either entirely or partly through their websites. If the website is hosted on a server located in China – whether the domain name is .com, .cn or something else – it almost certainly requires the operator to hold an internet content provider (ICP) license. And only Chinese nationals can hold ICP licenses.

This is not new, but it poses several challenges. If the uncertainty that always comes with a transfer of power means Beijing is tightening the screws, those challenges could be serious. Foreign companies should review their operations and operating licenses to be sure everything is as tight as possible.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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