Is ICP permit bound to be applied for website launch? How to apply for ICP? How to change ICP?

The Internet Plus model was once so hot and welcome, and a lot of enterprises joined the Internet and developed websites. At the present, the Internet Plus model is still welcome and there are still enterprises and bosses in all professionals advance wave upon wave.

Without doubt, the newly established enterprises would have a built-in advantage, for which they could be established on the basis of the Internet without any adjustment or adaption.

The most direct and most intuitive step one for an enterprise to join the Internet would be definitely to develop a website of its own. However, to launch a website is not merely launch upon developed, relevant qualifications shall be transacted in the governmental department, of which the most common one is ICP business certificate.

It is believed that you would have heard about it even if you had not transacted it.

Who indeed need to apply for ICP certificate? How to apply and what materials are needed? How long it would take? How to make alteration after completion of application if needed? Here, I would like to provide the fresh and hot information relevant to the transaction of ICP certificate qualification.

The business scope where ICP business certificate is applicable includes: information publication platform and delivery service, information search and query service, information community platform service, information real-time interaction service, information protection and processing services, etc.

If the business scope of your company includes any one of these, and if you intend to do online business and establish charged website, you would need to transact ICP certificate.

Certainly, it might be the case that you do not remember the business scope of your company, same as a lot of people. Thus, it could be interpreted that, information service website for the purposes of profit earning or advertisement would need to transact ICP certificate.

ICP refers to ‘Internet Content Provider’, and could be simply understood as Internet website. While not all websites need to transact ICP, but only those operational ones, after which they could launch operation and provide service.

What is operational website?

Types of operational website:
– Provide paid services
– Advertising agency
– Agent website producing
– Rent memory space of server
– Server co-location
– E-business, etc.

Characteristics of operational website:

– Website with member recharge system
– Website that charges to publish information
– Website that charges to browse information
– Website with charged download function
– Game recharge websites, etc.

Popularly speaking, operational website is a website with profit earning or advertisement as its purposes, such as JD.COM, Baidu Library,, etc.

Note: personal website that meets the conditions shall also apply for ICP certificate. Besides, one company that has several affiliated websites could transact one ICP certificate.

Differences between ICP filing and ICP certificate

As mentioned above, only operational websites need to apply for IPC certificate. However, in practice, there are even more non-operational websites. Is there anything that non-operational websites shall do?

The answer is positive, that is, ICP filing: log in the website of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, fill in the basic information of both the company and the website, submit it, and obtain the filing No. in a period of about 1 week to 1 month, only after which launch could be done.

Non-operational websites, i.e. most of the personal websites, do not need to transact the ICP certificate, but only need to implement filing for the website information in the website of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. While operational websites shall first implement filing, obtain ICP certificate, and then do business.

Differences between ICP and EDI

In the years 2015 and 2016, all kinds of online lending platforms sprang up like mushrooms. Thus, the departments concerned published relevant stipulations, regulating that lending websites shall operate with certificate. For a moment, all leaped and jumped for the transaction of ICP. Later, they acknowledged that they had made a big mess. What lending websites need to transact is EDI other than ICP. What exactly are the differences between the two? Why is it so easy to be mistaken?

In fact, both ICP certificate and EDI certificate belong to a subclass under value-added telecom business license. Their patterns of manifestation are indicated in the business type at the bottom of the value-added telecom business license. Value-added telecom business license with indication of ‘information service business’ is accepted through common practice as ICP certificate.

Value-added telecom business license with indication of ‘online data processing and transaction processing business’ is accepted through common practice as EDI certificate. Of course, one certificate could contain both indications. EDI, i.e. electronic data exchange, involves online transaction, and shall mainly be transacted by shopping platform and lending websites, such as Taobao, JD.COM, Jiedaibao, etc.

While ICP focuses on information services, mainly for information such as words, photos, products, games, etc. of the websites; for example, shopping proprietary website (JD.COM), match-making website (, house-leasing and job-hunting website (, etc.
Note: if involving both information service and online transaction, a website shall transact two certificates, i.e. with indications of both business types, at the same time, such as JD.COM.

Application for ICP certificate

Not all websites are qualified to apply for ICP certificate, they shall first meet some basic conditions, such as registered capital, foreign investment proportion.
Basic conditions for application:
– With funds and professionals suitable for implementing operation activities.
– With credit and capability to provide long-term services for users.
– Minimum amount of RMB 1,000,000 for registered capital.
– With necessary sites, facilities and technical proposals.
– The company, its major contributors and main business managers have no illegal records in the past 3 years for violating telecommunications supervision and management system.
– In case of joint venture, the foreign investment proportion shall not be more than 50%.

Before launch, operational websites shall first implement filing on the website of the communication bureau, obtain the filing No., generally between 1 week and 1 month, and apply for ICP certificate in the local communication administrative department.

Materials necessary for application:

1. Application for Internet information service business certificate signed by the legal person
2. Duplicate business license
3. Pre-registration certificate if enterprise has not transacted business license
4. Identity certificates for both legal person and shareholder
5. Articles of Association of the company
6. Copies of identity cards of the major managers and technicians of the company
7. Social insurance certificates for 5-8 persons
8. Server access agreement and qualification of hosting provider
9. Domain name registration certificate

Note: The term for application of ICP generally lasts for 3-4 months, and it could be shortened for 2 months at most if urged by the agent company. The service life of ICP certificate is 5 years, and renewal shall be transacted 5 years later.

Alteration of ICP certificate

Except for ICP application, what most people care about would be alteration of ICP certificate. Some information of the enterprise, such as company name, legal person, etc. (like the figure below), would be indicated on the ICP certificate. In case of changes to such information of the company (which is quite normal), after completing alteration in the industrial and commercial bureau, the company shall also implement alteration of ICP certificate. Compared with materials required for ICP application, what materials would be needed for ICP alteration?

Materials needed for alteration:

– Original Internet information service business certificate.
– Application for alteration of Internet information service business certificate.
– Explanations for alteration reasons.
– Certificate for alteration items (e.g. in case of change of legal person, resolution of the board of shareholders on change of legal person would be needed).
– Copy of the duplicate business license after alteration.
– Copy of identity card of legal person.

Annual inspection for ICP would lasts from Jan. 4 to Mar. 31 each year. If you fail to carry out annual inspection on time, involve in violation or have false information, the communication administrative bureau would revoke the ICP certificate of your company, and punish you by no transaction of ICP certificate available within 3 years.

We all know that each certificate of the company could be deemed as ‘permit’ for certain business scope. Once the certificate revoked, it means that such business scope could not be operated in the next 3 years, which would generate ‘fatal’ influences to the company.

Thus, one shall transact alteration of ICP certificate in an appropriate time, and better stagger with the time for annual inspection.

Note: it usually takes about 20 days for annual inspection of ICP certificate and 50 working days for alteration of ICP certificate.

It is an irreversible trend that Internet becomes infrastructure, and no matter how ‘sunset’ your industry is, such infrastructure would eventually be the basis. Although there might be no such certificate restrictions by that time, it would be necessary to, save something for a rainy day, know more about ICP certificate and other certificates for telecommunication businesses.

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