Building the Right Content Delivery Network (CDN) for Consistent Edge Performance in China

The Chinese market for content consumption is massive.  More than 802 million citizens are now actively using the internet.

For the first time, adults in China now spend significantly more time with digital media than with traditional media.  The average citizen spends 3 hours and 54 minutes with digital, representing more than 58 percent of their time with digital media.

Taking advantage of this large and growing appetite for content in China can be tricky if you don’t choose the right Content Delivery Network (CDN) provider.

Content Delivery Networks (CDN) In China

Distributing content to users in China is not the same as it is in many other places worldwide.

Implemented in 2006, the Golden Shield Project established a complex filtering system for online content.  Websites are required to be licensed and content must adhere to Chinese regulations.

Working with a provider that is licensed in China is crucial to overcoming some of the challenges Chinese regulations create.  You want to work with a CDN provider that has experience working with Chinese regulatory agencies and a strong understanding of what is acceptable.  Make sure they are a licensed Network operator and can help you with following the right steps for Internet Content Provider (ICP) registration administered by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

Without this license, storing, caching, or delivering content within China is not allowed.  CDNs must be licensed even if they deliver content from outside of China.  If they are located outside of the country, however, they can face significant hurdles to delivery.

Global CDNs will deliver content anywhere in the world.  They will have servers throughout the world to provide low latency and fast online delivery.  However, not all CDNs are registered for content delivery to Chinese internet users.  If you choose to work with a global CDN, you need to make sure they partner with Chinese CDN providers licensed to do business in the country.

Be careful of CDNs located in Hong Kong.  While content may be delivered using servers outside the mainland, Hong Kong’s networks are separate from mainland China.  Performance can be greatly reduced, and some content may be blocked.

China Edge Delivery

Companies that are not able to secure an ICP license to deliver content from inside China may still be able to provide content by using an Edge Delivery infrastructure.  Content can be cached from servers in the region and then connected to exchanges the provide IP-peering to networks within China.

This bypasses the requirement for an ICP license as long as you work with Edge network providers like China Telecom that are licensed.

Important Factors To Consider

Here are some of the other important factors you should consider if you want to deliver content to Chinese consumers.

Fast Online Speeds

You need a CDN that is highly responsive and fast.

Online performance can dictate whether someone engages with your content or moves on to something else.  40 percent of internet users will abandon websites that take more than three seconds to load.  Even a delay of as little as one second in response can reduce conversions by 7%.

You will also want to make sure your CDN provider allows for dynamic acceleration.  This will allow dynamic data and content delivered from servers to bypass standard Chinese internet nodes and deliver through a more direct path.  This increased efficiency speeds up delivery and reduces latency.

CDNs that have a presence in China often achieve speeds 50 percent greater than those using servers outside of China.

Optimized For Mobile

Government improvement in developing rural infrastructure has increased mobile usage by older adults.  Mobile usage itself has increased and now represents 98 percent of internet users.  Your CDN should optimize delivery performance for mobile.

Distributed Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A CDN that can efficiently deliver content throughout China will have PoPs (Points of Presence) dispersed throughout mainland China.  While they may have prominent positions in large metro areas, they should also have PoPs closer to rural areas.

Congestion can occur at chokepoints between China’s largest ISPs due to the sheer volume of traffic, so be sure to know what network your end-users subscribe to in order to make sure you deliver a fully on-net user-experience that avoids chokepoint congestion between peering partners.   ChinaNet (AS 4134) is the largest internet network in China in terms of eye-balls so using China Mobile or China Unicom to deliver website content on ChinaNet could negatively impact performance and availability for your ChinaNet users.

Efficient Delivery Of Video Programming

84% of Chinese residents report they watch video programming at least occasionally, according to a study by Nielsen. 75% say they watch on-demand video content at least once a week.  That’s more video consumption than any other country in the world.

Meeting this significant and growing appetite for online streaming and video content means selecting a CDN that can manage large volumes of traffic efficiently.

The Fastest Growing Online Market In The World

China is the fastest growing and potentially largest online market in the world.  Failing to work with the right CDN provider can limit access to your content or potentially lead to it being blocked completely.

If you need a reliable CDN provider in China with owned Tier-1 network infrastructure for more consistent edge performance and premium user-experience in China,  read more about China Telecom’s CDN solutions.

Breakthrough for “the Belt and Road Initiative” project, China Telecom completes the first direct access optical fiber cable between China and Pakistan

On July 13, 2018, the opening ceremony of the key project “The Belt and Road Initiative” (B&R) – ” Pak-China Optical Fiber Cable” was held in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. Nearly 700 people who come from various industries in China and Pakistan attended the opening ceremony. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Pakistani – Moorek, the head of special communications organization General – Bajwa, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan – Yao Jing, and General Manager of China Telecom International Co., Ltd. – Deng Xiaofeng attended the opening ceremony as well.

Yao Jing, Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, said that the “Pak-China Optical Fiber Cable”” is the first cross-border cable which connects China and Pakistan directly. It was the early successes of “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” project, which President Xi inaugurated in Islamabad in April 2015.

“Pak-China Optical Fiber Cable” starts from Urumqi, China, and across the Khunjerab port nearby China-Pakistan border to the city of Rawalpindi, Pakistan, with a total length of 2,950 kilometers. This project is also a strategic project for China Telecom to achieve the interconnection with neighboring countries. Recently, China Telecom and Pakistani partners successfully conducted the cross-border system testing and acceptance checking. The transmission indicators of the whole process are eligible and has fully equipped to the requirements for executing large-capacity services.

Launching of the “Pak-China Optical Fiber Cable” project

The launching of the “Pak-China Optical Fiber Cable” project is a breakthrough in interconnection of infrastructure between the two countries and creating the history of landing cable connection between the two countries. This is an important milestone of the China and Pakistan cooperation in the field of communication and information technology. It is also the latest achievement for building the B&R between two counties. After the launching of the “China-Pakistan Cable” project, the communication delay between China and Pakistan has been greatly shorten, and build a new strategic channel for China, Middle East and Africa. As a basic subproject of the “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” project, the “Pak-China Optical Fiber Cable project has greatly improved the infrastructure capacity of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and provide key capabilities for the “China-Pakistan Information Corridor” project.

Deng Xiaofeng, the general manager of China Telecom International Co., Ltd., mentioned that the “Pak-China Optical Fiber Cable has been in operation for a full decade since the project was launched. The cable across the Karakoram Mountains, Hindu Kush Mountains, Pamirs Plateau, and the Himalayas. It passes through the highest Khunjerab port in the world at an altitude of 4733 meters. The geological terrain is complex, and the altitude is high of the whole Journey. It also needs to pass through nearly 100 kilometers of no man’s land. China Telecom and their partners have worked together to overcome the difficulties about short construction period and construction difficulty. Finally, they completed the construction of cables, server rooms and support facilities and this dream of many years has finally come true. As the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Yao Jing said that this is the real “Digital Karakoram Highway”.

The opening of “Pak-China Optical Fiber Cable” will lay the foundation for promoting the core projects of “China-Pakistan Information Corridor” project and will play an important role in promoting the infrastructure interconnection and regional economic development between China and Pakistan.

Read more about China Telecom’s Tier-1 global network.