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09 Jan 2024

Enhancing CDN Performance in China with Teridion: A Guide to Seamless Content Delivery

Author picture
Sharon Duchin
CDN Performance in China with Teridion
Table of Contents

The Great Firewall. Network congestion. Geographic distance. All these challenges and more make it difficult for businesses to get fast and reliable online content delivery in China today. This matters now more than ever. With over 1.4 billion people, China has the world’s second-largest population and a rapidly growing digital economy with an increasing reliance on online platforms for activities such as e-commerce, entertainment, and communication. In a highly competitive market, businesses that can deliver content seamlessly in China gain a significant advantage, improve brand reputation, and increase conversion and revenue generation. 

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) can greatly improve content delivery performance in China through caching, optimizing network routes, balancing traffic loads, establishing local peering connections, mitigating DDoS attacks, and ensuring compliance with local regulations. These factors combined contribute to faster, more reliable, and seamless content delivery, enhancing the user experience and driving business success in the Chinese market.

Why Teridion?
Teridion solves network latency for global enterprises by using powerful 
AI-driven route detection.

Understanding the CDN Landscape in China

The Chinese internet landscape is unique and presents several content delivery challenges. Let’s explore how these factors impact content delivery and web performance:

The Great Firewall and Limited Connectivity: The Great Firewall of China (GFW) is a sophisticated system of internet censorship and filtering implemented by the Chinese government. It blocks access to certain foreign websites and restricts the flow of information within China. This can result in slower content delivery as requests to external servers may be intercepted and filtered, leading to increased latency and potential disruptions. 

Expensive Licensing: Operating an internet business in China requires obtaining various licenses and approvals from government authorities. These licenses can be costly and time-consuming to acquire. The expenses associated with licensing can deter some businesses from establishing a strong online presence in China, limiting their ability to deliver content effectively.

Regulatory Hurdles: China has strict regulations governing online content, including censorship and compliance requirements. Websites and online platforms must adhere to these regulations, which can involve content filtering, monitoring, and compliance checks. Ensuring compliance with these regulations can be challenging and time-consuming, potentially impacting content delivery and website performance.

Hosting and Infrastructure Requirements: To ensure optimal content delivery within China, businesses often need to host their websites and content on servers located within the country. This requirement can add complexity and cost to content delivery strategies, especially for businesses operating outside of China. Meeting the hosting and infrastructure requirements can impact website performance if not properly managed.

These factors collectively contribute to slower content delivery and website performance in China. To mitigate these challenges, businesses often partner with local hosting providers and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) that have optimized infrastructure within China. These providers have the necessary licenses, compliance expertise, and infrastructure to navigate the regulatory landscape and deliver content efficiently to Chinese users.

Additionally, businesses can employ techniques such as website optimization, content caching, and utilizing China-specific CDNs to improve performance. By understanding and addressing the unique characteristics of the Chinese internet landscape, businesses can enhance content delivery and website performance, providing a better user experience for their Chinese audience.

Online Trends that Demand Content Delivery Optimization in China

In China, several online trends are on the rise, creating a need for improved content delivery to cater to these evolving consumer behaviors. One such trend is the popularity of short videos and live streaming. Chinese consumers are increasingly engaging with short-form video platforms like Douyin (known as TikTok internationally) and live streaming platforms like Kuaishou and Taobao Live. These platforms require seamless content delivery to ensure smooth playback and real-time interaction, as any delays or buffering can lead to a poor user experience. To capitalize on the growing demand for short videos and live streaming, businesses need to optimize their content delivery infrastructure to handle the increased traffic and deliver high-quality video content in real-time.

Cross-border e-commerce and the expansion of e-commerce to lower-tier cities are also gaining momentum in China. Chinese consumers are increasingly purchasing products from international brands and exploring online shopping options beyond major cities. To cater to these trends, businesses need to ensure that their content delivery infrastructure can handle cross-border traffic and deliver a seamless shopping experience to consumers in lower-tier cities. This may involve partnering with local hosting providers, leveraging CDNs with global reach, and optimizing website performance to accommodate the unique requirements of cross-border and lower-tier city e-commerce.

Overall, as these online trends continue to grow in China, businesses must prioritize improving content delivery to meet the expectations of consumers.

Best Practices for Content Delivery into China

When it comes to content delivery into China, there are two main scenarios to consider: acquiring an ICP (Internet Content Provider) license for China CDNs or using Near-China CDNs. Here are the benefits and considerations for each approach:

Acquiring an ICP License for China CDN:

Benefits: Acquiring an ICP license allows businesses to host their content within China, ensuring faster and more reliable content delivery to Chinese users. It demonstrates compliance with Chinese regulations and can help build trust with the local audience. With an ICP license, businesses can directly connect to Chinese ISPs, reducing latency issues and improving website performance.

Considerations: Acquiring an ICP license can be a complex and time-consuming process. It requires businesses to meet specific requirements and adhere to Chinese regulations. The application process involves providing detailed information about the business, content, and hosting infrastructure. Additionally, businesses need to establish a legal entity in China or partner with a local hosting provider. Acquiring an ICP license may involve additional costs and ongoing compliance obligations.

Using a Near-China CDN:

Benefits: Using a Near-China CDN involves hosting content on servers located in neighboring countries, such as Hong Kong or Singapore. This approach allows businesses to deliver content to Chinese users with improved performance compared to hosting outside of China. It can provide faster response times and reduced latency, enhancing the user experience. Near-China CDNs often have optimized network routes and peering connections with Chinese ISPs, enabling efficient content delivery.

Considerations: While using a Near-China CDN can improve content delivery performance, it may not achieve the same level of performance as hosting within China with an ICP license. The content still needs to traverse the Great Firewall and cross international borders, which can introduce some latency and potential disruptions. Additionally, businesses need to ensure compliance with Chinese regulations regarding content and user data, even when using a Near-China CDN.

Regardless of the approach chosen, it is crucial to optimize content delivery for the Chinese audience. This includes techniques such as website optimization, mobile optimization, image and video compression, and utilizing CDNs with strong presence and peering connections in China. By optimizing content delivery, businesses can provide a faster and more reliable user experience, even without an ICP license.

Why Teridion?

“Teridion’s solution will always out-perform CDNs when it comes to uploaded traffic or real-time traffic such as video and voice. Essentially, Teridion’s solution guarantees better network connectivity with reduced latency for any traffic that is dynamically generated and can’t be cached in nearby locations.”

Popular Content Delivery Networks to and from China

It is important to work with experienced CDN monitoring and management providers who understand the unique challenges of content delivery in China and can help navigate the regulatory landscape while ensuring optimal performance for the Chinese audience.

Best Externally-Based CDNs for China

Akamai China CDN: Akamai is a global CDN provider that has a local presence in China and has partnered with Chinese providers to offer CDN services within the country. Akamai’s network infrastructure and optimization capabilities have made them a popular choice for businesses looking to deliver content in China.

Azure China CDN: Microsoft Azure has a dedicated China region that offers CDN services within China. Azure China CDN leverages Microsoft’s global network infrastructure and provides localized content delivery to Chinese users. It is designed to meet the regulatory requirements and performance needs of businesses operating in China.

Amazon China CDN: Amazon Web Services (AWS) has a China region that includes CDN services. Amazon China CDN enables businesses to deliver content within China using AWS’s global network infrastructure. It offers features such as dynamic content acceleration and edge caching to optimize content delivery.

Cloudflare China CDN: Cloudflare is a global CDN provider that has expanded its services to China. Cloudflare China CDN offers content delivery and security services within China, helping businesses improve website performance and protect against cyber threats. They have partnered with local Chinese providers to optimize content delivery.

Best Internally-Based CDNs for China

Alibaba Cloud: Alibaba Cloud, also known as Aliyun, is one of the leading cloud service providers in China. They offer a comprehensive suite of services, including CDN, to help businesses deliver content within China. Alibaba Cloud CDN leverages their extensive network infrastructure and data centers across China to provide fast and reliable content delivery.

Baidu AI Cloud: Baidu AI Cloud is the cloud computing arm of Baidu, one of China’s largest search engine and AI companies. They offer CDN services that are optimized for delivering content in China. Baidu AI Cloud CDN utilizes advanced AI technologies to optimize content delivery and improve user experience.

BaishanCloud: BaishanCloud is a Chinese CDN provider that specializes in delivering content in China and other Asian markets. They offer a range of CDN services, including dynamic acceleration, video streaming, and security features. BaishanCloud has a strong presence in China and partnerships with major Chinese ISPs.

ChinaCache: ChinaCache is one of China’s leading CDN providers, offering a wide range of content delivery services. They have a robust network infrastructure and data centers across China, enabling them to deliver content with low latency and high reliability. ChinaCache serves a diverse range of industries, including e-commerce, media, and gaming.

Tencent Cloud: Tencent Cloud is the cloud computing division of Tencent, one of China’s largest technology companies. They provide CDN services that are optimized for delivering content in China. Tencent Cloud CDN leverages their extensive network resources and partnerships with Chinese ISPs to ensure fast and stable content delivery.

Teridion's Solution for CDN Performance Enhancement

Teridion’s AI-WAN leverages the infrastructure of public cloud providers in and outside of China, utilizing their data centers and points of presence (POPs) to offer MPLS-like reliability. Through the deployment of software-based sensors across the global Internet Backbone, Teridion continuously monitors network traffic and then uses AI-driven algorithms to identify the most efficient route between source and destination points.

Unlike most CDN vendors who primarily rely on caching (storing) to improve network performance for content delivery, Teridion dynamically finds the most optimized path for traffic in real-time. This difference is significant, because it means that Teridion’s solution will always out-perform CDNs when it comes to uploaded traffic or real-time traffic such as video and voice. Essentially, Teridion’s solution guarantees better network connectivity with reduced latency for any traffic that is dynamically generated and can’t be cached in nearby locations. Global enterprises of all sizes get reliable network connectivity to and from China in order to effectively run their business.

Ensuring Compliance with Chinese Regulations

Teridion recognized that China internet regulations pose significant challenges that many existing connectivity solutions struggle to address. To overcome this, we developed a solution specifically tailored to the regulatory environment, ensuring compliance while still guaranteeing SLAs for performance.

When operating in China, it’s crucial to leverage existing business infrastructure. Teridion collaborates closely with Chinese telecommunications providers to validate their licensed infrastructure. Building upon this foundation, we created a comprehensive end-to-end solution that enables enterprises to establish seamless communication across various points, including site-to-cloud and site-to-site connections. Our AI-powered routing technology intelligently utilizes this compliant infrastructure when connecting to clouds within and outside of China.

Teridion Success Stories in China

Teridion customers manage their connectivity solutions in China with the same ease and flexibility as any of their other global sites, deploying reliable global network coverage to and from China in a matter of hours. Explore these success stories to learn more.

Picture of Sharon Duchin
Sharon Duchin

Head of Marketing

Sharon Duchin is the Head of Marketing at Terdion. Prior to joining Teridion she was the CMO of several startups, as well as a Business Unit Manager at Keter Plastic and a Marketing Manager at General Mills USA. Sharon Holds an MBA from Chicago Booth and a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Economics from the Hebrew University.
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