Marketing in China can be really tricky as the search engines and regulations there are very different. However, with the right knowledge, you can easily and successfully set up a Baidu business account.
This article was originally posted in 2018 and has been updated in June, 2020.
Promoting your business in China
If you plan to expand your business through digital marketing in China, the search engine to prioritise is Baidu. Baidu holds a market share of more than 71% in China (June 2020), alongside other search engines such as Shenma, Haosou, Sogou and So360.
However, marketing on Baidu is not as easy as on Google. Aside from the language barriers (the majority of Baidu’s representatives are not able to communicate in English), Baidu has its own regulations for account set-up.
Below are the six things you need to prepare if you would like to register your business account on Baidu. Bear in mind the requirements may change from time to time.
1. Business Licence or Registration Certificate
The most important document you need to prepare is your business licence or registration certificate. Make sure your company’s name matches the name that is on your business licence – and I mean exactly matches. For example, if you want to use the name of Croud (China), but the name on the certificate is Croud (UK), this will not be accepted by Baidu.
2. Find your company information on a government website
Baidu will also want to conduct a business record check for each applicant. To do this, provide a screenshot of a government webpage where your business information is publicly listed (you can do this by registering your business with the local government).
3. Screenshot of one of the company representatives’ passport
Make sure you provide a copy of one of the company’s representatives’ passports. This representative has to be the one with his or her name on the government website. If you have more than one representative, you will need to provide a copy of the passport of the first person shown on the list.
4. An authorisation letter signed by the company representative
The authorisation letter is the letter that the previously mentioned representative needs to sign. Normally Baidu will provide the template and will request a signature. Beware, the signature needs to be exactly the same as on the passport which you have provided.
5. Your latest monthly bank account statement
The bank statement of the company is also required to prove that your business is actually running. You need to include your business name in full, and a record of a few recent transactions. Don’t forget to ask the representative to sign the statement too.
6. Photos of the entrance with the company’s name and logo
This might be the most tricky requirement for foreign companies, as a lot of businesses do not have physical locations any more. In theory, Baidu only allows business entities to set up business accounts. However, Croud may be able to assist you, even if you don’t have a physical office or if you share the office space with other companies.
Based on Baidu China’s latest update (June 2020), some of the documents mentioned above have become optional now, however, the documents that you need to provide to set up a Baidu account will be customised based on the country you register your business. The first step is to share your business license or registration certificate with them, and then they will get back to you with the full list of documents that you will need to provide.
If further translations of any of these documents are required, it is advisable to seek professional assistance, since Baidu has a list of only six recognised translation agencies in China.
Nonetheless, there is an alternative way to set up a Baidu account in Hong Kong, especially if your website does not have an ICP license. The required documents are fewer and the process is easier as well.
If you need help registering your own Baidu business account in China or Hong Kong, or if you’d like assistance in getting set up on other Chinese engines such as Sogou and So360, contact Croud’s dedicated China team.