ICP License

Last updated: 2019-08-21 10:18:55


What is Internet Culture Business Permit?

Internet Culture Business Permit (ICBP) is for IT service providers proven by cultural administrative department and telecommunications department to engage in internet cultural services and activities. Internet cultural activities can be divided into two categories: operational and non-operational. Only operational or for-profit websites requires ICBP.

What kinds of website need ICBP?

Websites engaging in the following services and activities need ICBP.

  1. Music and entertainment products;
  2. Game products: game product operations, issuance of virtual currency in online game, trading of virtual currency in online game;
  3. Artworks;
  4. Shows and performances;
  5. Animation products;
  6. Sale of internet culture products in internet cafes;
  7. Exhibitions and competitions.

What are ICBP application requirements?

The application requirements vary from place to place, subject to the latest stipulations of the provincial Communications Administration Bureaus. Below lists the basic requirements for reference.

  1. Chinese-funded organization (i.e., all shareholders are from mainland China)
  2. At least 1 million RMB of registered capital (10 million RMB registered capital for gaming operations)
  3. Qualification certificates of relevant personnel
  4. Detailed business development plan

How can I apply for ICBP?

Application process for ICBP:

  1. The application for ICBP is first submitted to the provincial culture and tourism administration;
  2. After approved by the provincial culture and tourism administration, the application is submitted to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT);
  3. MCT issues review comments or approves the application;
  4. The approval is returned to the provincial culture and tourism administration which then issues the ICBP.

What is the impact of not applying for ICBP?

China implements a licensing system for operational internet cultural activities. ICBP is required for any entities engaging in operational internet cultural activities in the territory of the People's Republic of China. Otherwise, it would be illegal.
The most direct impact is that if an organization engages in relevant operational internet cultural activities such as online game without ICBP, it may be punished or even shut down at any time by the competent authorities due to illegal operations. In addition, application for or change to ICP filing may be rejected due to noncompliance with relevant requirements.

How long does it take to get ICBP?

MCT shall make a decision on approval or disapproval within 20 business days from the date of receipt of the preliminary opinion. If it is an approval, ICBP shall be issued; if it is a disapproval, reasons shall be given. It is recommended to prepare as much as possible in advance and allow sufficient time.

How long is the validity of ICBP?

It is valid for three years. After the validity period expires, if you need to continue the operations, you shall complete the renewal formalities within 60 business days before the expiration of the permit. It is recommended that you renew it before it expires.

Is it always necessary to apply for ICBP as long as the website contents involve "games"?

No. This permit is only required for "operational" cultural activities (i.e., charging users through online games), including making a profit through advertising, sponsorship or ecommerce in free games. For example, if an online game company's official website or game BBS displays product descriptions or promotional information (non-operational internet cultural activities) but do not provide paid services, they don't need to apply for ICBP.

What do I need to do after obtaining ICBP to meet national requirements?

(1) When applying for or changing ICP filing, add the "culture" category for prerequisite approvals and upload the colored scan of ICBP as instructed;
(2) Display the ICBP number in a prominent place on the homepage of the website.

Is replacement required after ICBP expires?

Yes. It will no longer be valid after it expires, so renewal shall be performed.

Can I apply for ICBP using my identity card?

Application by individuals is not allowed. Pursuant to national regulations, an individual needs to register an organization and obtain applicable approvals by the industrial and commercial administration before engaging in such business activities.