Please see our ICP licenses 101 article on the different types of licenses for your reference.
While the ICP Bei'an is mandatory for each online platform, a commercial ICP is only required in certain situations, mostly related to taking payments online.
The process for a commercial ICP is much more complex and time-consuming compared to the ICP Bei’an application and there are more requirements to be met. Each application is different depending on the business and the local implementation of the regulations. The final application is reviewed locally, and each supervising office has tremendous discretion.
It is almost impossible for a WFOE or a foreign business to acquire a commercial ICP. Many international businesses that are planning to open in China set up a secondary domestic business entity with the help of a Chinese partner for that reason.
This standalone domestic business is then regulated by strict contractual agreements between the WFOE and the domestic entity. This is often set up as a shareholding entrustment or as a VIE structure.
With the help of our trusted legal partner, our REDSTAR team can assist with the setup of such legal structures and the complete process required for a commercial ICP license.
Get in touch with us and we can reduce the challenges of acquiring a commercial ICP.