The good news is that companies foreign to China can still open a Baidu ads account and reach the largest consumer demographic in the world. The question becomes whether to open an international or a domestic Baidu ads account.
Let’s find out which is better for your business!
Baidu Ad Account Requirements: International vs Domestic
First off, let’s look at the differences between international and domestic Baidu ad accounts:
|Business registration||Overseas business license required||Domestic business license required|
|Company search of local government site||Company details must be searchable on the government site||Company details must be searchable on government gsxt website|
|Proof of domain (a screenshot showing your URL suffices)||Required||Required|
|Bank account||Proof of bank account||Permit to open a bank account|
|Foreign document translation||All non-Chinese documents must be translated into Chinese||Not required|
|ICP license*||Not required||Required|
*An ICP license is a permit issued by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to permit China-based websites to operate in China.
We can see that document translation is a must for an international Baidu account. And an ICP license is a must for a domestic Baidu account.
These are each distinct requirements, and businesses must determine which is easier to obtain given their unique circumstances: Document translation could take a long time to sift through the legalities and ensure accuracies, while an ICP license requires comprehensive information and a tech-savvy domain owner.
Now that you know the main differences between the accounts, let’s talk about Baidu’s cross-regional policy, which will affect how you open an account.
Baidu Cross-Regional Policy
In short, Baidu does not allow you to create cross-regional ad accounts, meaning that you must choose only one location for your business registration—domestic or international—to open the appropriate ad account type.
Creating an International Baidu Ad Account
There are 5 regions from which businesses must use an international license to open a Baidu ads account: Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia. Businesses from other regions can choose whether to open an international or a domestic Baidu ads account.
Creating a Domestic Baidu Ad Account
You must dictate the location of your domestic HQ to create a domestic Baidu ads account.
Domestic Account Requirements for Overseas Companies
In our experience here at The Egg, we have found that there are 3 requirements that your website must meet before opening a domestic Baidu ads account:
- Your About page must include the full name of your business as appearing on your domestic business registration.
- Your Contact page must clearly mark your Chinese HQ address.
- Redirection to global site
- Some sites use a global structure with both .cn and .com domains. They tend to include local content under .cn and non-localized content will redirect to .com. This may cause issues for Baidu during the censorship stage. So do not include redirects to the .com (or any other) domain.
Note that Baidu makes the final censorship decisions.
It should also be noted that Baidu’s customer service response is faster if you have a domestic Baidu ads account.
So, if you’re an overseas client, what does all this mean?
If you’ve got both a domestic and international business license, you can create a Baidu ads account using either your domestic or international license, but if you choose to use your domestic license to create a domestic account, you must assign an HQ in China.
If you’ve got an international license for an internationally operating business, you can create an international Baidu ads account only.
If you’ve got an international license, but only a domestically operating business, you can’t yet open a Baidu ads account. You must first get your domestic business registration.
You can use USD, HKD, SGD, and CNY for an international Baidu ads account, though do note that the exchange rate is poor.